Major women's sport leagues in North America

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Major women's sport leagues in North America (or simply in the United States and in Canada) represent the top level competitions of women's team sports. The two most prominent women's leagues in North America (in terms of television and overall media coverage) are the Women's National Basketball Association and the National Women's Soccer League. Other women's leagues include the Canadian Women's Hockey League, National Pro Fastpitch, Women's Flat Track Derby Association, National Ringette League and different women's championships in American college athletics and in Canadian university athletics. As of 2015, the only sports that men but not women play professionally in the United States are football, baseball, and Ultimate Frisbee.

Some individual sports are also popular women's sports in North America, especially in tennis and golf. The LPGA Tour and WTA Tour were respectively founded in the United States but host events around the world.

Common characteristics


Abby Wambach of the U.S. Women's National Soccer at a friendly against Canada in 2011

Each of the leagues represents the highest competition in their respective sports. These major women's sports leagues are considered as the main platoon, not only in the quality of the talents, but also at the play level. The best players of these leagues are icons in their respective sports. Soccer stars include Marta, Abby Wambach and Christine Sinclair. Women’s ice hockey features Caroline Ouellette. Kim St-Pierre, and Angela Ruggiero, while basketball includes Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, Candace Parker, and Seimone Augustus.


Each of these major leagues have restricted income,[1] while certain major women's leagues can count on the financial support of their male counterparts (as in the WNBA’s relationship with the NBA).[2]

All present a financial fragility in most of their franchises.[3] Several teams have collapsed during last decades (including several franchises in the WNBA including the Cleveland Rockers, Portland Fire, and Miami Sol to name a few.[4] Contrary to several other major women's leagues outside of North America, which use a system of promotion and relegation, these leagues are closed.

Payment for the players

Only two women’s leagues pay their players (the WNBA and the NWSL). In the WNBA, the maximum salary for a player with three years of experience is $51,000 (based on 2009 figures), while that for a player with six years of experience is fixed at $99,500. The minimum salary for a rookie is $35,190[5] · .[6] In 2009, the annual average of a salary in the WPS was $32,000.[7] These figures tend to be are averages as many players salaries can vary (i.e. Marta would have received a salary of $400,000 [8] during the last three seasons 2009-2010-2011).

Development of young players

Generally, all major sports leagues possess an amateur system for the development of young players development. Certain women's leagues develop links privileged with minor league amateurs of lower and junior levels. With the growth of women's sports at the NCAA and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) levels in the last decades, athletes are more likely to choose a university education (along with competing at the university level), and then proceed to compete in a top-level major league.

The NCAA and CIS produce most of the young people grown again in her major feminine leagues. But since a few years, the Major leagues also recruit some foreign mature players at the international level .

Tickets sales and audience

Montreal Stars supporters.

The sales of tickets to the supporters are left by opportunities limited with regard to the Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada,.[2][9] The attendances are smaller in the women's sports Leagues. Record attendances are dominated by the WNBA and the WPS:

Television broadcasting

Only the WNBA[15] and the NWSL[16] have television contract to broadcast regularly their matches of season regular.[17] Although the overall amount of coverage is small compared to that received by comparable men’s sports, some women’s sports have received mainstream coverage with various degrees of success.[18] Since 2003, ESPN has aired all 63 games of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s basketball tournament; in addition, the 2004 championship game was the second-most viewed basketball game—men or women, college or professional—in the network’s history. Perhaps the most famous example of successful women’s sports programming and attendance is the 1999 women’s World Cup, an example often used to point to the potential success of mediated women’s sports.[18] Continued apathy by sports media toward women’s sports a bigger problem than first meets the eye. For other women's leagues, only the contests of the Championship games are broadcast on channels Fox Soccer, ESPN, TSN, TV Rogers and RDS. Some leagues (especially in university as NCAA and CIS[19]) broadcast their matches via Web (because of the offer much more limited by the TV networks[20]).

Women's basketball leagues

NCAA game in Tampa.

One of the major important events in the development of women's basketball in the United States was Title IX. Title IX has proven to have had a huge impact on female collegiate sports. “Sports participation among college women has risen from 372 percent over that time, from 32,000 to more than 150,000 women[21]

Professional women's basketball has been played in the United States. There have been several leagues, the most recent of which is the WNBA. The first attempt was the Women's Pro Basketball League. The league played three seasons from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1981. The league is generally considered to be the first American professional women's basketball league to be founded.[22]

The second women's professional league to be created in the United States was the Women's Basketball Association. The league played three seasons (from 1993 to 1995) with plans to play as a 12-team league in 1997 but disbanded before 1997 season. In 1996, two professional women's leagues were started in the United States: American Basketball League and WNBA. The American Basketball League was founded in 1996 during an increase in the interest in the sport following the 1996 Summer Olympics. The league played two full season (1996–97 and 1997–98) and started a third (1998–99) before it folded on December 1998.

Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)

WNBA game in Seattle.

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is the top competition in women's basketball and, following the 2012 suspension of Women's Professional Soccer, is the only fully professional women's league operating in North America. The WNBA was formed in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association, and league play began in 1997. The WNBA regular season runs June to September (Northern Hemisphere spring and summer), which is directly opposite to the traditional basketball season throughout the world. Most WNBA teams play at the same venue as their NBA counterparts. Most team names are also very similar to those of NBA teams in the same market, such as the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx.

The league's attendance has fluctuated over the last several seasons. It had an average per-game attendance of 8,039 in 2009 and 7,834 in 2010.[23] Total attendance was 1,598,160 in 2010.[23] In 2007, the league signed a television deal with ESPN that would run from 2009-2016. This deal is the first to ever pay rights fees to women's teams. In 2009 it had a total television viewership of 413,000 in combined cable and broadcast television.[24]

In 2009, 23 million American professional basketball fans, 92.3% of those fans were the audience of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the remaining 7.7% attended WNBA games.[25] Mark J. Perry found from the Center for Feminist Research[26] of University of Southern California’s “Gender in Televised Sports” found that in 2009 the media coverage for the NBA was 77.8% and WNBA was 22.2%.[27] Although the coverage of NBA is more than three times greater than that of the WNBA, the NBA was still “under-reported,” the proportionality between WNBA attendance and coverage is greater than that of the NBA attendance and their coverage. While the WNBA is receiving a fair amount of media coverage, its fan base is much smaller than that of the NBA.

U.S. collegiate women's basketball

The first basketball competition involving only collegiate women was the tournament sponsored by the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (CIAW), which was held from 1969 to 1971. The CIAW tournament was followed by the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament, which was held from 1972 to 1982. The AIAW tournament was discontinued after the NCAA began sponsoring a women's collegiate basketball tournament in 1982. (In 1982, both the AIAW and NCAA sponsored competing tournaments.)

Even before 1969, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) began conducting United States championship tournaments for women's amateur teams in 1926. On 28 occasions, small college teams won the AAU women's basketball championship.

Canadian Interuniversity Sport Women's Basketball Championship (CIS)

Women's ice hockey leagues

Young fans of Montreal Girls Hockey

Ice hockey is one of the fastest growing women's sports in the world, with the number of participants increasing 350 percent in the last 10 years.[28] In 2012, Canada has 85,827 women players[29] and United States has 65,609 [30]

Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL)

The Canadian Women's Hockey League (CHWL) is an elite women's hockey league in Canada where top female hockey players come to train and compete.[31] The CWHL helped women’s professional hockey rebound from the demise of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL)[32] in 2007.[33] Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) is currently a six-team league with a team in Montreal, a team in Boston, three teams in the Greater Toronto area and a recent expansion including a team from Alberta.

The CWHL exists to allow elite level players the opportunity to play after college and continue to work toward Olympic and national team success.[34] Though the leagues are considered professional, the players aren’t financially compensated, and many of them are working full-time while playing a sport they love. Apart from ice rink time, hotels, transportation (mostly by bus[34]), and some items covered by the league, players must pay for all other expenses related to playing at this level (equipment, training, insurance, health services, etc.), and all staff (coaches, general managers, communications workers) serve as volunteers.[35] As a result, most players and personnel have jobs outside of hockey.[36]

Game between the Toronto Furies and Montreal Stars.

In 2010, Toronto Star reported that the cost of running the league is about $1.7 million.[35][37] For the 2010-2011 season, income was $800,000.[38] The league profits are redistributed among the teams.[39] If the players are not paid, it is because even with financiers as large as Molson Coors Beer, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Gatorade or the Scotia Bank,[40] there is not enough money to pay to them a salary once the acquitted operations expenses.[39]

League attendance is very low in the regular season[41] but increases during the playoffs.[42] In March 27, 2011, the Championship Final game drew 2,300 fans at Barrie Molson Centre in Barrie, Ontario.[43][44] Several CWHL matches are broadcast online[45] and TSN broadcasts the Clarkson Cup championship match.

National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship (NCAA)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently boasts two women’s ice Hockey divisions from across the United States. Each Division has its own National Championship.[46]

NCAA Division I women's ice hockey

The NCAA first sanctioned a women's hockey championship in the 2000–01 academic year. As of the next season of 2012–13, 35 teams will compete for the Division I championship. While most of the competing schools are members of Division I, the highest of the NCAA's three tiers, the competition also features some schools that are members of Divisions II and III. The divisions differ in the number of scholarships their members are allowed to offer. Division I schools are typically the largest NCAA schools, and can award the maximum number of scholarships allowed for each sport. Division II schools are typically smaller institutions that have lower scholarship limits. However, because the NCAA does not sponsor a Division II championship in women's hockey, Division II members are allowed to grant the same number of hockey scholarships as Division I members. Division III schools, usually the smallest NCAA member schools, are generally not allowed to award athletic scholarships, although three schools benefit from a special NCAA rule that allows their women's hockey programs to award athletic scholarships.

Currently, NCAA Division I women's hockey is organized in four conferences. College Hockey America (CHA), a conference that now sponsors only women's hockey, is the smallest. It will have six teams in the 2012–13 season. CHA is currently the only one of the four Division I conferences whose champion is not automatically invited to the postseason tournament. ECAC Hockey is the largest conference, with 12 members. It is the only NCAA Division I hockey conference whose members all field men's and women's varsity teams. Hockey East features eight women's teams, along with 10 men's teams. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has eight women's teams plus 12 men's teams. As of the most recently completed season of 2011–12, every NCAA women's hockey championship has been won by a WCHA team. In addition, one school competes as an independent, outside of a conference. While men's ice hockey will undergo a major conference realignment for the 2013–14 season, women's ice hockey will essentially be unaffected.

With a 30+ game schedule, competing for conference and national championships, NCAA women’s hockey is a demanding and extremely challenging season.

NCAA Division III women's ice hockey

As of the 2011-2012 season, there were 49 teams competing in NCAA Division III women's ice hockey. The women'ice hockey championship possesses 5 conferences for the Division III: Eastern College Athletic Conference East, Eastern College Athletic Conference West, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, New England Small College Athletic Conference and Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. Many NCAA Division III schools are smaller than NCAA Division 1 colleges, though size is not the determining factor. There is a mix of private colleges and public colleges (and universities) among the NCAA Division III schools.

Some women student-athletes play two sports in NCAA Division III, though it remains a challenge to mix hockey and another sport because as a winter sport, hockey will still overlap with a fall or spring sport. NCAA Division III women's ice hockey may begin formal practice on October 15 and are limited to 25 games in the regular season.

Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's ice hockey championship (CIS)

McGill Martlets 18 janvier 2011 180.jpg

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is the premiere league for women’s ice hockey in Canada at the University level. The Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's ice hockey championship is composed of 30 teams from four Conferences – Atlantic University Sport(AUS), Canada West, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). All the Teams play between 20-30 games per year when you include conference competition and playoffs conference . Each Conference has its own schedule and determines its respective Champion. Once Conference Champions are declared, they advance to the CIS National Championship Tournament. The majority of games are played on weekends. This accommodates the academic responsibilities of student athletes.

Women's soccer leagues

Women's soccer is especially developed in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Canada. The United States women's national soccer team was established in 1985, the Canada women's national soccer team in 1986, the first continental women league in 1995, then a professional league in 2001.[47] Of 900 000 in 1980, the number of women' players passes in 1,5 millions in 1985 then 2 millions in 1990, to peak in 3 millions in 1995 to fall again in 2,7 millions in 2000.[47] The success of the women's American national team has not translated into success for women's professional soccer in the United States. The WUSA ceased operation at the end of 2003.

Penalty kick for the Seattle Reign.

National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States. It began play in spring 2013 with eight teams; four of them are former members of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), which had been the top women's league in the United States soccer pyramid before its demise in 2012.

Fox Sports had a deal to broadcast nine games in 2013, six in the regular season and the three from the playoffs.[48] ESPN2 and ESPN3 had a similar deal for the 2014 season.[49]

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS)

WPS All-Star team in 2009.

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), currently suspended, was the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States.[50] It began play on March 29, 2009. The league was composed of seven teams for its first two seasons and fielded 6 teams for the 2011 season, with continued plans for future expansion. The league hoped to have ten teams for the 2012 season,[51] most of the new groups potentially coming from the western half of the country, but ultimately no ownership groups were ready to join in time and instead are aiming for the 2013 season. The beginning of the league's was marked by two things: low attendance (2009: 4,684, 2010: 3,588 [52] and 2011: 3,518 [53] ), problems with (ex-Freedom) magicJack owner Dan Borislow,.[54][55]

Former WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci said that unlike WUSA, which had higher expectations and employed a top-down model, WPS would take "a local, grass roots approach", and "a slow and steady growth type of approach", citing WUSA's losses of close to $100 million.[56] She said the new league would have a closer relationship with Major League Soccer, the top men's professional league in the United States, to cut costs on staff and facilities, and for marketing. The team budgets for the inaugural season was $2.5 million.[56]

Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español with Samuel Jacobo and Jorge Caamaño will air weekly Sunday night matches & the WPS All-Star Game with Fox Sports Net to air the semifinal and league championship contests. The national television contract will be in effect through the 2011 season with an option for 2012.[57]

On January 30, 2012, the WPS announced suspension of operations for the 2012 season, citing several internal organization struggles as the primary cause.[58] Some of these issues included an ongoing legal battle with magicJack owner Dan Borislow and the lack of resources invested into the league.

WPSL Elite League

The WPSL Elite League was established in 2012 by the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL), responding both to an increased interest in professionalism by existing WPSL teams and the desire of WPS teams for a continuing competitive outlet. The league defines itself as semi-professional, but five of its eight charter teams will be fully professional. Three of these—the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, and Western New York Flash—previously played in WPS, and the Flash were the 2011 WPS champions.

W-League (USL W-League)

The W-League is a North American women’s soccer developmental organization.[59] It is an open league, giving college players the opportunity to play alongside established international players while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is administered by the United Soccer Leagues system (the USL), which also oversees the men's USL Pro and USL Premier Development League

Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)

The Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is a national women's soccer league in the United States and Puerto Rico, and is on the 2nd level of women's soccer in the United States soccer pyramid, alongside the W-League.

There are both "professional"/senior teams and amateur teams in the WPSL. An organization has to choose to be one or the other due to NCAA regulations, since collegiate players cannot play on "pro" teams.

The WPSL started as the Western Division of the W-League, before breaking away to form its own league in 1997. The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

U.S. collegiate women's soccer

Canadian Interuniversity Sport Women's Soccer Championship (CIS)

As of the 2012 season, 47 teams from Canadian universities are divided into four conferences, drawing from the four regional associations of the CIS: Canada West Universities Athletic Association, Ontario University Athletics, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, and Atlantic University Sport.[60] After interconference playoffs have been played, eight teams compete for the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy, awarded to the CIS Women's Soccer Championship team.

The regular season is eight to nine weeks long, depending on the conference, and, as of 2011, opens on the Labour Day weekend. Teams play between 13 and 16 regular season games, depending on conference or division, with teams typically playing a home and home series with every other team in their conference or division. All regular season games are in-conference. After the regular season, single elimination playoff games are held between the top teams in each conference to determine conference champions.

Women's softball leagues

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)

“LPGA tour member Janie Balylock, softball legend Joan Joyce, and tennis icon Billie Jean King were the founders of the International Women’s Professional Softball Associations (IWPSA) in 1976.”[citation needed] There were ten teams in the league from Meriden, Connecticut, to San Jose, California; the first season the teams would play 120 games in a schedule season. This league ran for four years, and was closed due to lack of funds, and high travel and facility costs. The NCAA began the Women’s College World Series in 1982, which led to an increasing participation in the women’s sports.

In 1986 and 1987 the USA Softball Women’s National Team won gold medals in Pan American Games. College teams also benefited because of rule changed in 1987 to increase the offensive game, making the sport more popular.

Cowlens formulated a plan for the women’s professional softball league and in February 1989 she showed her parents, John and Sage Cowles, owners of Cowles Media Company the ideas who agreed to help with the financial make up of the league. Eight years later, 1997, the Cowles family and AT&T Wireless Services launched the Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and after one full year, two seasons of play the name was changed to WPSL. Which are four teams located in Eastern United States in 2000, the Akron Racers, Florida Wahoos, Ohio Pride and Tampa Bay FireStrix.

The Women's Professional Softball League (WPSL) was founded in 1997 and ran until 2001, lasting four seasons before lack of funds, high travel costs and inadequate facilities led to its closure.

In 2001, the “Tour of Fastpitch Champions” enabled the WPSL to expand. From this the league traveled around to eleven different cities to find different candidate for the WPSL teams to play. They played against All-Star teams and Canada teams; they televised many of them on ESPN2 or ESPN. After all these games they decided to suspend the 2002 season so they could get organized and have more time to find other teams to be able to play. Even though the league was suspended the WPSL All-Star team competed against the Tennessee All-Star team, as well as put together two clinics. Once again in 2002 the WPSL changed their name to the National Pro Fastpitch and the Major League Baseball partnered with them to continue the MBL’s efforts to connect with female athletes.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) revived the league in 2004. NPF is an official development partner of Major League Baseball in the women’s fastpitch softball. In 2004 a new season began within six markets: Stockton, California; Tucson, Arizona; Houston, Texas; Akron, Ohio; Lowell, Massachusetts; Montclair, New Jersey. Having more teams allowed the league to participate in more games with 178 league-wide games, 96 of the best female softball players in the country. In 2006, the Philadelphia Force, the Connecticut Brakettes, the Chicago Bandits, and the New England Riptide joined the league, expanding the season, and competition.

In 2009, after winning a silver medal, several Olympians returned to the NPF: Monica Abbott for Washington, Jennie Finch for Chicago, and Cat Osterman for Rockford. The Chicago Bandits won the regular season championship for the second season in a row. There are now[when?] four teams that participate in 50 regular season games: Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Florida Pride and Tennessee Diamonds.

The 2011 highlights of the NPF, the USSSA Florida Pride took the Ringer Cup Title with a league record of 30-9, and Colwes Cup was won by the Chicago Bandits. Over 500,000 household viewers watched this game on ESPN2. For the second year in a row the NPF All-Stars performed a tour playing 19 college teams across the United States. The NPF played against the 2009 NCAA Champions the Washington Huskies to a crowd of 3,000 at the home of the Seattle Mariners, in a game which ended in a 1-0 score.[clarification needed] This was the first fastpitch game to be held at a Major League Baseball stadium. The game was followed by a clinic for players hosted by the Huskies. 2011 also marked the Akron Racers' tenth university.[clarification needed][61]

U.S. collegiate women's softball

The first fast-pitch women's collegiate softball tournament was held in 1969, sponsored by the Amateur Softball Association, and known as the Women's College World Series. From 1973 to 1982, the tournament was administered by the AIAW.

In 1982, the NCAA began to sanction its own NCAA Division I Softball Championship, the final round of which is now known as the Women's College World Series. (In 1982 the AIAW and NCAA sponsored competing tournaments). There has been a growing number of teams within the NCAA Division I Softball Championship brackets, expanded from 16 teams in 1982 all the way to 64 teams in 2003. There are 64 teams that are selected to participate in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship; 30 teams received automatic qualification to the tournament by winning their conference titles. The other 34 teams are selected at-large basis. The only way to be seeded or ranked in the brackets is to be in the top 16. The highest attended game was in the 2012 Woman's college world series in Oklahoma City with 6,804 fans watched against Alabama and Oklahoma, where Alabama defeated Oklahoma 5-4 in the third game. As well, a record of 75,960 fans walked through the doors of the entire 2012 Women's College World Series.[62]

UCLA shut out Fresno in the 1982 NCAA championship, 2-0, in the eight innings to take the fist NCAA tournament. The UCLA Bruins have the most NCAA Division I championships in softball history with 11 titles (1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2010). During the NCAA era, only Michigan versus UCLA in 2005 contested a championship game that went extra innings, a 4-1 win by Michigan in the 10th inning in 2005.[62] UCLA and Arizona softball programs have met many times in the Women’s College World Series and six times in the national championships of the series. Of those six meetings, Arizona took four of them, in 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2001.[63]

Arizona lost their opening-round game to number 15 Tennessee 8-0, but the Wildcats fought all the way back from the losers' bracket to make their way to the championship game. Beating the defending national champions and then a rematch against Tennessee where they won 8-0 and 5-2 to get them back to the championship game against UCLA Who had only played three games the whole series as well as breaking the home run record, eight in the series, beating Georgia’s record the previous year. This historical match is going to be quite interesting because when these two team come together the Arizona Wildcats have come out on top the majority of the time but with the passing of John Wooden, the UCLA women are looking to take the National Championship Title back to UCLA, and they were successful with doing so in 2010.[63]

Even though the Huskies have only won one national championship they are still one of the best softball programs in the Pac-12. They have had ten Women’s College World Series appearances from 1996- 2010 and they finally had their chance and came out on top in the 2009 World Series against number 3 Florida. Danielle Lawrie, national player of the year and the tournament’s MVP lead the Huskies to this win by striking out 48 in six complete innings when the huskies rallied back to sweep Florida in the best-of-three NCAA Division I Women’s College World Series. As well as being a great Division I pitcher she is also apart of the Canadian Olympic team.[64] The Huskies were so close to upsetting the UCLA Bruins in the 1999 Women’s College World Series but fell short after the end of their rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to a 3-2 lose. During the 1999 women's college world series the Huskies scored 8 of its 10 runs with a two out rally.[65]

Other women's sports leagues

Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)

The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is an association of women's flat track roller derby leagues in the United States. The organization was founded in April 2004 as the United Leagues Coalition (ULC)[66] but was renamed in November 2005.,.[66][67]

The WFTDA Championships are the leading competition for roller derby leagues. The Championships are organised by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). They originated in 2006 as the National WFTDA Championship. Full WFTDA members are eligible for ranking in one of the association's four regions. Each region holds a tournament contested by its top ten leagues: the Eastern, North Central, South Central and Western Regional Tournaments. The top three leagues from each of these four tournaments qualify for the Championships. Together, the qualifying tournaments and Championships are termed the "Big 5".[68] Since 2008, the winner of the National Championships has been awarded the Hydra Trophy.[69]

In January 2009, Montreal Roller Derby became the first Canadian league admitted as a member. The league was WFTDA's 66th member, and was placed in the East region.[70] In June 2010, the WFTDA announced the first round of Apprentice league graduates, and formed two new regions ( Canada and Europe) outside of the United States (Leagues in those regions will compete in the closest US region until they develop more fully).[71]

National Ringette League (NRL)

young girls playing Ringette

Ringette is a Canadian sport that was first introduced in 1963 at North Bay, Ontario.[72] Developed originally for girls, ringette is a fast-paced team sport on ice in which players use a straight stick to pass, carry, and shoot a rubber ring to score goals. For ten years, play centered in Ontario and Quebec, however the sport quickly spread across Canada and is now played by 50,000 girls[73] across Canada.

The creation of the National Ringette League (NRL) is following the success of the 2002 Ringuette world championships at Edmonton where Canada took gained the golden medal. The first NRL season is thrown in November 2004 with 17 teams. In 2011-12 season, the NRL enters its eighth season with 19 teams playing in two conferences across Canada – a Western Conference with 6 teams and an Eastern Conference with 13 teams.

In 2008, the budget of each NRL team of the oscillates between $15 000 and $20 000.[74] The teams and the league contribute to cover all the transport spending, accommodation and rent of arenas. The players however have to find their own financiers to pay their equipment and their personal spending and aen't paid for play.[74] The audience in the matches for several NRL teams is limited to some supporters' hundreds. It's possible to believe that a bigger mediatization of this sport engendered a better budget to pay a salary to the athletes. The LNR benefits from a cover broadcast thanks to a partnership with Webchannel SSN-Canada[75] and the championship final game is broadcast on Rogers TV.

National Ringette Leaque match

In 2010-11 season, new fact, a NRL Championship Tournament replaces the Championship qualifying rounds, this tournament takes place in just one city. This allows to create a media event and to hold attention. From March 27 till April 2, 2011, the NRL Championship Tournament takes place to Cambridge, Ontario. In Final game, the Edmonton WAM! triumph over the Cambridge Turbos[76]

The NRL maintains a collaboration with the lower Ringette leagues as regards the development of the young girls players: So several teams of the NRL have affiliated development's teams Under 19 year and Under 16 year. The Canadians Championship U16 and U19 (usually in April) take place in the same place as the NRL playoff tournament eliminating[77] · .[78] What allows the tracers of the teams NRL to identify the young talented players.

Women's championships in U.S. college athletics

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women's championships in canadian university athletics

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is the national governing body for university sports, while the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association governs college sports. A factor which affects athletic participation levels in CIS member institutions is the CIS restriction that scholarships cover tuition only, drawing many of Canada's best student athletes to the United States where organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allow "full ride" scholarships which include tuition, books, housing, and travel.

See also

Further reading

  • M. Ann Hall, Immodest and Sensational: 150 Years of Canadian Women in Sport, James Lorimer & Company Ltd. Toronto 2008. 96 pages. ISBN 978-1-55277-021-4
  • Eileen McDonagh, Laura Pappano, Playing with the boys: why separate is not equal in sports, Oxford University Press, 2008. 349 pages. ISBN 978-0-19-538677-6.
  • Rachel Elyachar, Lauren Moag, The Growth of Women’s Sports, December 2002.


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  16. Fox Sports broadcast the league's inaugural season, while ESPN did it in 2014. Both were one-year contracts.
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  31. About CHWL
  32. Sharing the hockey dream
  33. Players form new Canadian Women's Hockey League
  34. 34.0 34.1 Women’s hockey league searches for recognition
  35. 35.0 35.1 Women's pro league could help grow hockey: Power play
  36. (French) Hockey féminin loin des millionnaires de la LNH
  37. Inside the CWHL
  38. La CWHL une ligue pas comme les autres
  39. 39.0 39.1 (French) La CWHL une ligue pas comme les autres
  40. Bleacher Report Possible NHL and CWHL Partnership in the Works
  41. League Attendance CWHL 2010-11
  42. League Attendance CWHL Playoffs 2011
  43. Montreal takes Clarkson Cup in style
  44. St-Pierre backstops Montreal to Clarkson Cup title
  45. Teamline
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  53. Taking attendance, the final chapter
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  69. The Hydra
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  72. History of Ringette
  73. About Ringette
  74. 74.0 74.1 (French) Le Fusion de Gatineau lance sa saison inaugurale
  75. SSN-Canada
  76. Edmonton WAM! capture Canadian ringette title
  77. 2011 Tim Hortons Canadian ringette championships underway in Cambridge
  78. Alberta U16, Quebec U19 and Edmonton WAM! golden at Canadian ringette championships

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