Why I Love Women’s Hockey, But Dislike The CWHL

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TORONTO, ON - MARCH 25 - Nicole Brown of the Thunder (middle) celebrates her goal during the 1st period of CWHL action as the The Markham Thunder play the Kunlun Red Star for the Clarkson Cup at Ricoh Coliseum on March 25, 2018. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

What if I told you the Canadian Women’s Hockey League didn’t come to silence women’s hockey’s critics? What if I told you the CWHL would just become cynic? And what if I told you a couple kind words from the CWHL doesn’t achieve its mission? And just because the league’s brass might call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give them vision?

Why I Love Women’s Hockey, But Dislike The CWHL

I mean, if the league is so great, why does it fail to reward its core? Why does it try to garner so much hype but fails to strike a chord? Tells professional women’s hockey players this is the only way they can gain accord, but, the last time I checked isn’t that what the Olympics and World Championships are for?

You see, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League might preach equality but it’s just another they practice. Tend to ridicule the people who love it. They do it on the regular to the journalists that try to cover it. They can’t seem to fix their problems and so they mask it; not realizing their league is the equivalence of spraying perfume on a casket.

I’m not judging, but for the love of all things good, please quit putting on a fake look. It’s a problem when people only know you exist because of your Facebook. I mean, in every other aspect of life, you know that logic is unworthy. It’s like saying you play for the love of the game just because you’re too afraid to pay the women that made your league so much more than six sets of jerseys.

Perception vs. Reality

Because if #HockeyTwitter is water, then the CWHL should be an ocean. It’s not a showcase for the stars of women’s hockey, it’s a hotel for the good ones left unspoken. See, when I was a doubter of the league and certainly not a fan, I said to myself, “I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be a part of the plan.” Which is why I dislike the CWHL and I so badly want to call the people in the PR department fools. You can do much better than just following some bloody awful rules.

Now let me clarify. I love women’s professional hockey. I love the idea of growing the game, and yes, I believe in equality. But if Cassie Campbell-Pascall showed up to one of their board meetings, would they actually let her in?

Do you hear me now?

Not too long ago, the CWHL was formed. Many rejoiced as they felt this was a move in the right direction for women’s hockey and quite frankly, it was. Time has now passed, the league has gained some notoriety and gets the odd game shown on Sportsnet. For better or worse, the league has some of women’s hockey’s best players. It’s something I have grown to love about it. The games themselves are very entertaining. They prove why these women are the best of the best in their field.

That being said, the CWHL’s biggest flaw is how they treat the media or, should I say “potential media”. Usually, when you’re trying to grow a league or simply get more eyes on the product, you lean on the media to give you some press coverage. When you’re growing, anything is better than nothing – good press, bad press, or a bit of both.

During the Winter Olympics, women’s hockey gets a fair amount of coverage and that is rightfully so. Much like the CWHL, the games are great. 2018 was a prime example.

After most gold medal has been won and the closing ceremonies are in the rearview mirror, this is when most of the media wants to cover the leagues these women play in. Common sense says the smart move would be to try and attract as much media as possible to give the women the spotlight that they deserve and showcase their skill to a healthy alliance of readers, viewers or listeners, right? Think again.

Killing the product

Sure, the CWHL gets its coverage from the usual sources, but it ceases to create a welcoming environment for new and engaging voices that can shine a new light on the league. You don’t have to go too far to hear stories of sports writers/journalists being denied press passes to games that A) aren’t being covered or B) games that are being uncovered. And you most certainly don’t have to go far to hear stories about sports writers/journalists being mistreated when they went out of their way to cover the league’s biggest events such as its latest All-Star game.

Now, I understand this happens in all sorts of leagues, whether its men’s or women’s hockey. That being said, the CWHL constantly whines about not getting the coverage it deserves, but yet the people that who want to cover your league get rejected time and time again. Yeah, you might be underwhelmed that it’s just a student from Ryerson University or Humber College or someone who works for a site other than the mainstream ones that the league so dearly seeks publicity from.

But let me tell you something, Mean Gene, sometimes you have to start from the grassroots and work your way up. That student journalist or no-name writer asking for a press pass now might the person who could land a job at a mainstream news outlet and push for more coverage of your league in the future. Moreover, if you keep sending them away and denying them access, they could just be another brick in the wall and become the reason your league doesn’t see the light of day on Sportscenter.

Why doesn’t women’s hockey get more coverage?

Look no further than the reasons above. It’s not that because people don’t try and it’s not because they don’t care. Don’t let the narrative get twisted. We want women’s hockey to succeed and we want to be a part of the solution to take this notion from a talking point and making it into a reality. The CWHL owes it to its loyal supporters and players to create a new precedent and let these women get the time of day that they so rightfully deserve.

So when it comes to the CWHL – no, I dislike it; in fact, I literally resent it, because when I see the commercials of female athletes saying something along the lines of, “It has only begun,” I believe in the message.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the worst “sports” articles I have read in my entire lifetime.

    A) You give no examples of why you love the game, or even provide a shred of evidence that you actually do.

    B) Your “drive-by” slander is weak and aimless, as it is pretty clear that you have no idea how the teams in the CWHL treat the media. Have you been to a Shenzhen home game? Boston? Montreal?

    C) In your haste to vilify and lay blame, you never once mention the history of exclusion and oppression that women’s hockey players have faced, and you conveniently ignore the fact that male players make an estimated 400x more average salary, and that men’s hockey gets around 1,000x the sponsorship dollars.

    Unless you are willing to look at the causes of a problem and potential ways to fix it, then you are just an entitled whiner who is clearly PART of the problem.

    • Joe, the writer of this article is the same Christian Holmes who is the author of a chapter in Everyday Hockey Heroes… where it describes his love of the game. 2 seconds of research on google would have brought this up for you. I don’t think you can fairly question his love of the game.

  2. Not too sure if you read the article buddy ^^. Also have you ever dealt with the CWHL? Maybe the writer has a point? I think he does. Might want to puff a reefer, start enjoying the finer things in life, show yourself a good time, and stop acting like you know it all.

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