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Top Moments of 2017: CWHL

There were babies, championships, and lots of breaking news in the CWHL this year.

Chris Tanouye

As 2017 comes to a close, The Ice Garden continues its highlights of the year with the top 5 moments for the CWHL this past year.

CWHL adds two Chinese teams in its expansion

Summer — Throughout the late spring and summer months this year, women’s hockey fans were surprised with the news that the CWHL was expanding to China. At first, there was only word about Kunlun Red Star, but news of a second team in the Vanke Rays followed a few months later. China and the CWHL partnered to expand the scope of the audience as well as add more international talent to the pool. Several North Americans and European players such as Kelli Stack and Noora Räty signed on to be ambassadors in China as well.

CWHL offers salaries to the players

September 1 — After a long-awaited period of planning, the CWHL announced that it was going to pay its players with a minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $10,000 for the season. Thanks to the expansion in China as well as new sponsors and broadcasting rights, the CWHL was able to fulfill its long-term goal of paying its players. The league has come a long way from its inception, and Commissioner Brenda Andress continues to plan for the future: "We know this plan is sustainable, it won't just be paying them for one year. We have a plan in place and each year we will grow those stipends."

Maschmeyer/Ambrose trades

Trades in women’s hockey are few and far between, but this year there were a couple that drastically altered the landscape and could have an impact on this year’s Clarkson Cup Final.

First, Emerance Maschmeyer turned heads when she left the Calgary Inferno and went to Les Canadiennes de Montreal. The Inferno went from having three potential starting netminders in Maschmeyer, Genevieve Lacasse (Team Canada centralization) and Delayne Brian, the only goalie left in Calgary.

Then the hockey world was rocked again when Erin Ambrose announced that she was also going to Les Canadiennes and leaving behind a struggling Furies team.

Ambrose and Maschmeyer are both very young and will likely be in the CWHL for several years; if they stay with Les Canadiennes, they’ll help it remain a powerhouse in the league for years to come.

Les Canadiennes win the Clarkson Cup

Revenge is best served cold.

After getting blown out by the Calgary Inferno in the 2015 Clarkson Cup Final, Les Canadiennes came back with a purpose in 2016 - vengeance.

Marie-Philip Poulin sealed the deal with an empty-net goal and Les Canadiennes prevented the Inferno from repeating as champions.

Also from that game? Arguably the greatest locker room celebration photo of all time, also of Poulin.

Chris Tanouye

Newest addition to the Chuellttes

Are you ready for the most feel-good story of 2017? (Well, this one was also a serious contender)

Fresh off their Clarkson Cup victory, Caroline Ouellette took the beginning of the 2017-18 season off, and later, we found out why. She had a tiny baby named Liv with Julie Chu, and their family is officially the cutest thing on the planet (thanks, Shannon Miller).

Julie Chu and Ouellette’s baby quickly went viral and was one of our favorite stories from this year, especially when you do the math and realize that Ouellette was pregnant when she and Chu won the Clarkson Cup together earlier this year.

Chris Tanouye

Could we see Ouellette back in action this year? It’s possible; she recently skated in the Teresa Humes tournament for Les Etoiles De Montreal.