With the Canadian Women's Hockey League NHL has committed to providing more financial support to the National Women's Hockey League moving forward., the
The NHL will "significantly up" its financial contributions to the NWHL this year, making the league one of the NWHL's biggest financial sponsors, according to a report from ESPN's Emily Kaplan.
Over the past few years, the NHL has made modest, equal financial contributions to both the NWHL and the CWHL. But the league and commissioner Gary Bettman have been careful about not picking sides and showing preference towards one of them.
After the CWHL announced over the weekend that it was planning to fold on May 1, the NHL said it remained committed to the women's game and would have interest in starting a professional league of its own if there were no other options for women to play in North America.
But NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan reportedly met with Bettman on Monday to discuss the future of the women's league and the NHL's involvement in its growth.
"Obviously coming off the news of the CWHL ceasing operations for this upcoming season, it was a shock to us, but also an immediate reaction was needed from us to do what we can to provide an opportunity for those players to have a place to play next year," Rylan said.
With the NHL's increased support, the NWHL plans on expanding prior to next season with new teams in Montreal and Toronto. Rylan will meet with potential partners in those cities -- including the former CWHL clubs located there -- before finalizing plans for expansion.
The NWHL, founded in 2015, currently has five teams. They are located in Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut, Newark and Minnesota.
According to Rylan, the players should also expect to see a bump in pay. ESPN reported the NWHL had a salary cap of $100,000 last season, with the minimum player salary being $2,500 for the 16-game regular season.
While the NWHL operates all but one of its current teams -- the Buffalo Beauts are owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the same group that owns the Bills and Sabres -- the league reportedly received interest from other potential private ownership groups.