At a special press conference on June 5, hot off the celebration of the league’s tenth season, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) announced they will be welcoming a sixth team to their league, the exciting part, that team is based in China. The league is bringing international hockey to fans right at home while extending the opportunity for growth of women in the sport.
The Chinese team, the Kunlun Red Star (KRS) will join the league with five other teams including the local Calgary Inferno, Toronto Furies, Brampton Thunder, Les Canadiennes de Montreal, and the Boston Blades in the 2017-18 season. The format extends the 24 game season to 30 and will allow each North American team to travel to China once each season to play a three game series. The Chinese team will go on road trips to play its North American rivals. KRS will be based in Shenzhen, China and the team will play out of Shenzen Universiade Center arena.
The CWHL Commissioner, Brenda Andress and Alex Zhao, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Kunlun Red Star made the announcement in Toronto on Monday, June 5 in front of a packed crowd of fans, sponsors, and current and retired CWHL players at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Calgary is looking forward to the expansion.
“It’s a very exciting day for the growth of women’s hockey,” remarked Calgary Inferno General Manager Jeff Stevenson. “To be able to do something like this heading into the eleventh season is true testament to all the hard work that has been put in by the players, coaches, staff, volunteers and fans that contribute to make the CWHL so special.”
More details to come.