Women’s expert hockey in North America is in chaos. Russian President Vladimir Putin scored at least 8 goals in an exhibition ice hockey sport then fell flat on his face at some stage in a lap of honor. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League shut down this week, which means the most effective national girls’ hockey league left status in North America is within the U.S. And the previous day, extra than 200 gamers rocked women’s hockey further by way of banding together and disturbing a solid and sustainable professional league. These players, along with some of the world’s high-quality, say they’ll not play in any North American league this year till that happens.
For more on all of this, we turn now to Katie Strang of The Athletic. Welcome.
KATIE STRANG: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
CHANG: So how dire is the economic scenario for a regular seasoned girls’ hockey player these days? STRANG: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I think the important thing to recall is that you realize this isn’t the primary gig for most of these players. These gamers are setting a top-notch quantity of time and power and coronary heart into education and absolutely competing at a very excessive degree for their groups, however also retaining ordinary day jobs as properly…
- CHANG: Because they can’t come up with the money to play hockey full time.
- STRANG: Absolutely. Absolutely.
- CHANG: What does an average ladies hockey participant – an expert girls’ hockey player – make nowadays?
STRANG: Well, it varies. And this is critical to keep in thought. However, if you take the NWHL as an example, that’s the only expert girls’ league remaining in North America; every crew has a salary cap of $100,000 that has to be break up among that roster and allocated. And there’s usually kind of 20 gamers in keeping with the crew.
- CHANG: Wow.
- STRANG: The lowest-paid participant in NWHL makes around $2,000.
- CHANG: For an entire season.
- STRANG: Correct.
CHANG: Wow. You recognize, like, in basketball, the NBA and WNBA have an absolutely tight dating. Why do we not see this equal sort of dating between the NHL and girls’ hockey? STRANG: You might see that. It in all likelihood will no longer be the subsequent season, but that may be a massive reason why we saw these gamers come collectively in team spirit on Thursday is that their desire, even though it becomes no longer said explicitly, is to have a league – one unified league – with NHL backing because they do believe that that might provide them the great monetary assist, infrastructure, and platform in terms of exposure.
CHANG: Well, why has the NHL, in the first location, been hesitant to forge a better connection with ladies hockey? STRANG: The NHL is extraordinarily cautious of seeming paternalistic, or they don’t need to offer the impact that they’re bigfooting any cutting-edge leagues in life. So what Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, has said repeatedly is that they may no longer get concerned until there is no viable alternative for players to play post-collegiately in a professional experience.
CHANG: Is ladies professional hockey, even though – is it ultimately financially sustainable in North America? I mean, are there sufficient fanatics obtainable to hold it going? STRANG: I assume it really is a definitely precise question and one that humans are asking. We recognize that the satisfaction of the product on the ice could be very thrilling. We’ve seen that during international play and competition. But in terms of attendance, you know, the top groups in the NWHL last 12 months, I suppose, had average attendance costs of among 1,000 and 1 two hundred human beings consistent with the sport.
CHANG: How does that compare to an NHL game?
STRANG: Ten thousand to anywhere upwards of, you know, almost 20,000. So it really is why some human beings sense like there would need to be NHL backing to provide it some form of stability – at the least within the early going – after which also to commit assets and expand it at a grassroots degree and generate interest among, youth hockey gamers to get this thing surely rolling to the factor where it could preserve itself.
CHANG: Katie Strang is a senior author for The Athletic. She joined us thru Skype. Thank you very a lot for becoming a member of us nowadays.