Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Commissioner Speaks

If there is one thing that we, as fans, should take away from the CWHL in its announcement a few days ago, it's that Commissioner Brenda Andress is willing to answer questions about the new Chinese expansion and how her league will tackle a swath of new challenges. Miss Andress has always been fairly approachable and open in her communication with the media, and she seems to enjoy meeting fans and players as often as she can. She's a proud ambassador of the CWHL brand as she has to be as commissioner, but she's not afraid to sit down and answer some tough questions from the media when asked. Seeing her on Sportsnet discussing all the news and information with Tim Micallef and Sid Sexeiro on Tuesday only makes her seem more approachable when it comes to her league.

Take nothing away from Tim and Sid, but they lobbed a few softballs at Miss Andress in the interview. There were a couple of tougher questions where she danced around the answer - the salary question again - but she gave an answer that shows that she's very aware of her league, its markets, its finances, and where the CWHL stands in the big picture. Without saying much more, here is Miss Andress answering questions from Tim and Sid.
Were there questions I would have liked a more definitive answer to? Of course. However, Miss Andress has always been good at protecting her cards when sitting at the table, and she did so again last night with Tim and Sid. She's not playing coy, though, when it comes to the question of salaries and the amounts that are paid to players. She's simply stating that players will be compensated based upon a number of factors that include market, fan support, league support, partner support, and more. If it starts lower than expected, that's still a place to start and players will still be paid. Yes, it's nowhere near what the McDavids and Crosbys and Subbans make playing hockey, but you have to start somewhere. If growth continues as expected, I'd expect to see salaries to grow alongside that league growth as well.

Nothing firm was put in place on last night's broadcast, and Miss Andress will certainly not play those cards until she absolutely has to play them. However, the fact that she's stated that there will be compensation based on the strategic plan for the upcoming season makes it sound like players will be paid whatever the budget allows. It may not be a million-dollar salary, but getting paid year after year without slashing salaries dramatically because one's read on the market and landscape was so woefully poor is a huge attraction for interested players.

Miss Andress has been guiding this ship right over the last few years as sustained growth has been witnessed. While growth may roll with ebbs and flows, the fact that the CWHL is growing not only in their current markets but into expansion markets as well proves that you should put your faith in Miss Andress' plan just as the players in the CWHL have.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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