A Few Things the NHL Can Learn from the KHL

One of those things is supporting women in the sport where, in the NHL, this is still looked down upon.

When Megan Bozek signed with Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays of Russia’s Women’s Hockey League, she met fellow American teammate Alex Carpenter, and they dropped their things off at the hotel’s front desk. The following day, Bozek asked her teammate, ‘Do we have to grab our bags?’. Carpenter said, ‘What do you mean? They’re already at the rink’. And surely enough, they were. ‘When I think of this league, I think of little things like that — what is normal for a professional athlete’, says Carpenter. ‘But nobody had done them for us in the past, so it doesn’t seem normal’.

Back in 2015, Russia’s KHL (the Russian counterpart of the NHL) started supporting women’s professional hockey. The two share the same resources – everything from arenas to trainers. Recently, the KHL organized an All-Star exhibition match for the women’s hockey players and celebrities. It was a success, and there was no equivalent men’s event.

‘As long as I am the president, women’s hockey will be in the budget of the KHL’, said KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko in an interview. He then accepted a job as a deputy prime minister at the Kremlin. Hence, the KHL is still looking for a viable replacement. Before he left, he noted that supporting women’s hockey is part of the approach that the KHL is taking.

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‘Few people are supporting women’s hockey like this’, says Rachel Llanes, a former player in the NWHL and CWHL and current WHL player. ‘That’s what I’ve found being here. The KHL supporting each of their women’s teams is awesome and great to see. I wish that the NHL would step in and do the same, and I’d like to be a part of that someday, but for now, I like the spot I’m at. I’m grateful it exists’.

Moreover, Carpenter and Llanes both said that their wages are better than average and that it can even be considered a living wage in America. Though the WHL does not reveal any amount pertaining to salary, the players have said that it’s more than enough to provide them with their necessities. ‘I think it depends on the team’, said Carpenter. ‘But they are making more than you can in America’.

Despite North America being the powerhouse in women’s hockey, it’s Russia that’s being a model of what to do. ‘We’ve said all along — and you look at the history of women’s startup leagues and where they’ve had success — being associated and working with the male league has shown us that it can be very successful’, said 2018 U.S. Olympic captain Meghan Duggan. She, along with 199 other women hockey players, are going to boycott the NWHL this season in hopes that there will be a more ‘professional setting’. ‘Is that the only way? Of course not. But our relationship with the NHL is certainly important to us’.

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Words: Carlos Corpus

Image: PA

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the authorABHIYAN
Abhiyan Chhetri is a cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Abhiyan is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.