A Guide To The Canadian Women’s Hockey League

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) was a professional women’s ice hockey league that operated in Canada from 2007 to 2019. The league was founded with the goal of providing a platform for elite female hockey players to compete at the highest level, and it quickly became one of the premier women’s hockey leagues in the world.

Despite its success, the CWHL ceased operations in 2019 due to financial difficulties. However, the legacy of the league lives on, and its impact on women’s hockey in Canada and around the world cannot be overstated. For fans of women’s hockey, the CWHL was a source of excitement, inspiration, and pride, and its absence has left a void that many are eager to fill.

Overview of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League

History of the league

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) was established in 2007 as a Canadian women’s senior league in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, and Ottawa. Over time, the league expanded into Alberta, as well as teams in China and the United States throughout its tenure. The league was formed to provide opportunities for women’s hockey players to play at a high level and to promote the growth of women’s ice hockey in Canada and around the world.

Current teams in the league

The CWHL had six teams during its final season in 2018-2019. These teams were the Calgary Inferno, Markham Thunder, Les Canadiennes de Montreal, Toronto Furies, Worcester Blades, and Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays. Each team was made up of talented players from around the world, including Canada, the United States, and Europe.

League structure and format

The CWHL had a regular season that ran from October to March, with each team playing a total of 28 games. The top four teams advanced to the playoffs, which were held in March and April. The playoffs consisted of two rounds of best-of-three series, followed by a championship game. The winner of the championship game was awarded the Clarkson Cup, which was named in honour of former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson. Throughout its history, the CWHL faced challenges related to funding and sustainability. In 2019, the league announced that it would be ceasing operations due to financial difficulties. However, the legacy of the CWHL lives on through the players who competed in the league and the impact it had on women’s hockey around the world.

Key Players and Teams

Top Players in the League

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) has been home to some of the most talented female hockey players in the world. Over the years, many players have made a name for themselves in the league.

Some of the top players in the league include Marie-Philip Poulin, Hilary Knight, and Natalie Spooner. Marie-Philip Poulin is a Canadian forward who has played for the Montreal Stars and Les Canadiennes de Montreal. She is known for her clutch performances, having scored the game-winning goals in both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medal games.

Hilary Knight is an American forward who has played for the Boston Blades and Les Canadiennes de Montreal. She is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and has been named to the CWHL All-Star team multiple times. Natalie Spooner is a Canadian forward who has played for the Toronto Furies and Les Canadiennes de Montreal. She has won multiple gold medals with the Canadian national team and was named the CWHL’s Most Valuable Player in the 2014-15 season.

Championship-Winning Teams

Over the years, several teams have won the CWHL championship. The Montreal Stars, now known as Les Canadiennes de Montreal, have been the most successful team in the league’s history. They have won the championship four times, in the 2008-09, 2011-12, 2014-15, and 2015-16 seasons. The Calgary Inferno have also had success in the league, winning the championship in the 2015-16 and 2018-19 seasons. The Boston Blades won the championship in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons, while the Markham Thunder won in the 2017-18 season. Each championship-winning team has had a roster of talented players who have contributed to their success. These teams have showcased the best of the CWHL and have left a lasting impact on the league’s history.

League Statistics and Records

All-time Leading Scorers

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) has seen some incredible talent over the years, and the league’s all-time leading scorer is no exception. Jayna Hefford, who played for the Brampton Thunder and the Toronto Furies, holds the record for the most points in league history with 267. She is followed closely by CWHL legend, Caroline Ouellette, who amassed 253 points during her time with the Montreal Stars and Les Canadiennes de Montreal.

Most Successful Teams in League History

Over the course of its history, the CWHL has seen some dominant teams. The Montreal Stars (now Les Canadiennes de Montreal) have won the Clarkson Cup, the league’s championship trophy, four times. The Calgary Inferno have also won the cup four times, while the Brampton Thunder have won it twice. Other teams to have won the cup include the Toronto Furies and the Boston Blades.

Individual Records and Achievements

In addition to team success, the CWHL has seen some impressive individual performances. The league’s single-season record for most points is held by Meghan Agosta, who tallied 80 points during the 2011-2012 season. The record for most goals in a season is held by Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored 23 goals during the 2014-2015 season. The league has also seen some incredible goaltending performances. Charline Labonte holds the record for most career wins by a goaltender with 65, while Erica Howe holds the record for the most shutouts in a single season with six. Overall, the CWHL has been home to some of the best women’s hockey players in the world. The league’s statistics and records reflect the incredible talent and skill that has graced its ice over the years.

Future of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League

Challenges facing the league

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) faced significant financial challenges, which led to its closure in 2019. The league struggled to secure sponsorships and generate revenue, which made it impossible to sustain its operations. The lack of financial support made it difficult for the league to attract top talent and provide adequate resources for its teams.

Prospects for growth and expansion

Despite the challenges facing the CWHL, there are prospects for growth and expansion in women’s hockey. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) was formed in 2019 with the goal of creating a sustainable and professional women’s hockey league.

The PWHPA has already made significant strides in advancing the sport by organizing showcase events and securing partnerships with major companies such as Adidas and Secret. The PWHPA has also received support from high-profile players such as Canadian hockey legend Marie-Philip Poulin and American star Hilary Knight. The association has a player-led approach to league development, which ensures that the league’s structure and operations meet the needs of the players.

In addition to the PWHPA, there are other organizations and initiatives that are working to promote women’s hockey. For example, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has launched a Women’s Hockey Development Program, which aims to increase participation and improve the quality of women’s hockey around the world.

Overall, the future of women’s hockey in Canada and around the world looks promising. While there are challenges to overcome, there is a growing interest in the sport and a commitment to creating a sustainable and professional league for women.

Real-Time Data

Lack of financial supportPWHPA’s player-led approach to league development
Difficulty attracting top talentIIHF’s Women’s Hockey Development Program
Inadequate resources for teamsSupport from high-profile players and major companies

*Note: Table is for visual representation only and not based on statistical data.


The Canadian Women’s Hockey League was a significant milestone in women’s hockey history, providing a platform for female athletes to showcase their skills and compete at a high level. Despite its eventual folding in 2019, the league’s impact on women’s hockey cannot be understated.

Through the CWHL, women’s hockey gained more exposure and recognition, and it paved the way for new opportunities and advancements in the sport. The league’s efforts in promoting gender equality and diversity in hockey have inspired many young girls to pursue their dreams of playing hockey professionally.

While the CWHL may no longer exist, the legacy it left behind will continue to shape the future of women’s hockey. As the sport continues to grow and evolve, it is essential to remember the importance of providing equal opportunities for women in hockey and supporting their development and progress.

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