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CWHL will pay its players a salary, financial details revealed

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Players to be paid within the $2,000-$10,000 range with a $100,000 salary cap.

Michelle Jay

Earlier today, Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail reported player salary details for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). This is the first year that the league will pay its players a salary, though in the past it has offered incentives for team championships and individual award-winners.

The CWHL salary structure will begin at a minimum of $2,000 and max out at $10,000 per player. Each team will have a salary cap of $100,000 and will determine player allotments. The board of governors passed the motion Thursday night, and the players association was set to inform players after the decision was finalized.

In the article, CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress credits the recent expansion to China, in part, to the salary announcement. Increased broadcasting and licensing rights, along with new corporate sponsors, were made possible by the two Chinese teams.

The league has been rather silent this offseason about salary specifics. Andress did not answer questions on the topic at various public events, including the announcement of the Red Stars joining the league, and was not available at all at the recent CWHL Draft.

The news today is the first since earlier in the summer regarding player salaries. Back in June, the league stated the first Chinese team, the Kunlun Red Stars, would have a similar pay structure as the rest of the league.

“We still have a long way to go, and as a women’s hockey league we still have a long up-road battle to make sure that sponsors and media pay attention to us so we don’t go away,” Andress said.

Though all teams will be treated equally with regards to salary, player ambassadors who signed with either Kunlun or Vanke will still be making more money than their fellow players; their roles mean they're also working essentially as team employees, running clinics and coaching players in addition to playing for their CWHL teams.

Regardless, it is great news for the players in the North American markets.

"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," Andress said in the Globe and Mail. She added that the board moved carefully through this decision so they could be sustainable in the long run. This comes the season after the National Women’s Hockey League cut their players’ salaries mid-season.

Though Andress made no comment about the NWHL specifically, the newer league has yet to announce its salary structure this year. The NWHL has said that it will announce financial details shortly before the season starts, though players have still been signing contracts and the league has indicated they know what they're signing for.