During the Winter Olympics in 2018, I stayed up way past my bed time to watch the US Women’s National Hockey Team beat Canada in a shootout for their first gold medal since 1998. That game garnered 3.0 million views on NBC Sports Network and 3.7 million across all platforms. The NBCSN-only audience exceeds all but five of the network’s total NHL telecasts according to Sports Media Watch.
There is always an appetite for more hockey, and particularly women’s hockey. This year’s Clarkson Cup had 175,000 viewers, and the NWHL’s All-Star Game and Skills Competition had a combined 945,000 viewers. But early on Sunday morning, the CWHL announced they were folding after 12 seasons.
The news came as a shock to players and reporters alike, leaving the NWHL as the only paying professional women’s league in America, and forcing the hockey community to ask itself what the future of women’s hockey looks like.