The Boston Blades defeated the Montreal Stars 3-2 in overtime last month in the 2015 Clarkson Cup final, the Canadian Woman’s Professional Hockey League’s (C.W.H.L) version of the Stanley Cup. The game featured fast-paced play, great saves and an impressive display of skill —the amount of intensity that is to be expected from a Boston versus Montreal championship hockey game.

Janine Weber of the Boston Blades scored the winning goal shortly into overtime. “It’s the biggest goal I’ve ever scored. It happened so fast I didn’t even realize what was happening,” Weber told CWHL.ca, “I saw an opening in the top right glove side and I took it.”

Two days after the Weber’s winning goal, Laura Veharanta, Weber’s former Providence College teammate tweeted, “[Weber] was given the [opportunity] to donate her stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame, leaving her with one stick for the World Championship tourney w/team Austria in April. Can any hockey equipment company help out this CWHL rookie who has to pay for her own equipment?”

What Veharanta is saying is Janine Weber will not have a backup stick playing for team Austria in the Nationals this year, because she donated her previous stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

It is hard not to ask oneself; how could somebody who achieves so much in hockey not earn the salary it takes to buy a hockey stick?

The NHL does not recognize the CWHL as a professional hockey league. Frank Brown, the vice president of communications for the N.H.L., shared the official statement of their evaluation of the CWHL as possible affiliate with the New York Times, “While it was determined the overall development of woman’s hockey at the grass-roots level throughout the college level isn’t at a point where a professional league is viable, we believe in the importance of the woman’s game, but it’s going to take some more time.”

The NBA for example is affiliated with the WNBA, both widely recognized professional basketball leagues equipped with prominent sponsors and television network deals. Both of these basketball leagues promote one another, effectively popularizing the sport for both men and woman around the world, why isn’t hockey, a sport desperately trying to become prominent in America, following suit?

Individual NHL teams such as the Montreal Canadiens have made an effort in supporting their CWHL equivalents. Last Friday the Canadiens announced an official partnership between their organization and the Montreal Stars, giving the Stars full access to their training facilities and marketing expertise.

Many C.W.H.L. players believe that the individual actions of teams are not enough. Blades forward Denna Laing voiced her opinion about the Boston Bruins organization’s lack of involvement, “It’s kind of crazy that we’re supposed to be their male version,” she told the New York Times, “I’d really like it if our team was seen as a professional team, like we’re supposed to be seen.”

Bampton Thunder forward Jocelyn Larocque will not be satisfied until the entire league recognizes them as well, “They call it a professional league, but really we’re not paid and that’s a big misconception,” she told the New York Times.

Notes:

Other NHL teams have not made any deals with their CWHL counterparts.

“They call it a professional league, but really we’re not paid and that’s a big misconception,” said Jocelyne Larocque, who plays for the Thunder and the Canadian national team.

“It’s kind o crazy that we’re supposed to be their male version,” Blades forward Denna Laing said.

“When we were there with them, it definitely didn’t feel like that. I hope someday we get there. I’d really like it if our team was seen as a professional team, like we’re supposed to be seen. It kind of felt like they were talking to a youth team.”

“They call it a professional league, but really we’re not paid and that’s a big misconception,” said Jocelyne Larocque, who plays for the Thunder and the Canadian national team, “Was given the [opportunity] to donate her stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame.. Leaving her w/ 1 stick for the World Championship tourney w/ Team Austria in April. Can any hockey equipment company help out this CWHL rookie who has to pay for her own equipment?”

AP Photo/TT, Claudio Bresciani

AP Photo/TT, Claudio Bresciani

It was two days after the Blades won the Clarkson Cup when a tweet from Weber’s former Providence College teammate, Laura Veharanta brings into perspective the reality of being a CWHL player.

“It’s kind of crazy that we’re supposed to be their male version,” Blades forward Denna Laing said. “When we were there with them, it definitely didn’t feel like that. I hope someday we get there. I’d really like it if our team was seen as a professional team, like we’re supposed to be seen. It kind of felt like they were talking to a youth team.”

There is no question that the passion for the sport of CWHL players and coaches is no different than their male-counterpart in the NHL; but why is it that the NHL refuses to acknowledge the CWHL’s existence?

As the an older and more established hockey league isn’t it their responsibility to lend a helping hand to a woman’s hockey league “was given the [opportunity] to donate her stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame.. Leaving her w/ 1 stick for the World Championship tourney w/ Team Austria in April. Can any hockey equipment company help out this CWHL rookie who has to pay for her own equipment?”

A New York Times article written by Seth Berkman earlier this month described the struggles CWHL players face in terms of drawing fans and keeping the league alive.

Players have to pay $150 to enter the leagues draft and each team has to raise $35,000,” Blades General Manager Aronda Kirby told the New York Times, “They have to sell tickets to games to help raise the appropriate amount of money.”

CWHL players do not earn league salaries — so many work full time jobs while playing hockey seven months out of the year.

The NHL does not recognize that any professional woman’s hockey league exists. Is it important that these two organizations support each other?

Marc Apesos can be contacted at mapesos@kscequinox.com