Nearly 21 days after the news broke that the CWHL Board of Directors was ceasing operations of the 12-year-old league, the Markham Thunder and the Toronto Furies have started auctioning off their jerseys in league-mandated sales.
The Thunder started their auction on Facebook very soon after the announcement. They recently moved it to 32Auction. The Furies auction went live on April 20. Both teams have “goals” of $10,000 on their site.
Thunder General Manager Chelsea Purcell was the one to set the $10,000 goal on her team’s site, and did so without directive from the league: “When we started off our auction on Facebook I was the first one to do it there. And it looked like we could get to 10 [thousand]. Then, when I moved it over to 32Auction, I just stared at 10, hoping that if people see it then they can help,” she said in an interview with The Ice Garden.
However, according to Purcell, the money raised on the auction sites has to go back to the CWHL, as the jerseys are league property.
She also confirmed the Thunder players are being paid the second half of their base salary: she picked up the checks from the office during the week and is in the process of distributing them.
According to The Victory Press, this is typically how the legal proceedings of closing a non-profit go: liquidating assets and recouping costs. There is also a set process for paying those involved.
On April 5, Hailey Salvian of The Athletic reported the NHL gave an extra $100,000 to the league to assist in closing their books out. She also reported that the league’s finances were so dire that the Board were asking partners for more money to pay the players.
Purcell said that the Board seems to know where their financial standing is now, but is unable to share it with them: “The Board can’t tell us everything of how it works. They just keep saying that they’re highly confident in the players being paid. But supposedly they know now where their financial are at, and how much they’re still owing, I guess, but they can’t share that with us.”
It’s just one of many aspects she and the other general managers remain in the dark about. Purcell is unsure about whether the 32Auction site can have a donate button, or if she can set up a GoFundMe, or how much money is still needed: “I think we’re still waiting on information and direction from the league. If we’re allowed to do the donate button or if you want to promote it or what it may be.”
Both teams have 35 jerseys up for auction until April 30. The CWHL will officially cease operations on May 1.
Team Auction Sites