Players hope US-Canada rivalry game helps spawn pro league
The rivalry series is the first major international competition since more than 200 members of what has since become the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association announced in May they would not play professionally in North America during the 2019-2020 season. The Canadian Women's Hockey League shut down in the spring after 12 years of operation, leaving only the five-team National Women's Hockey League, where most players make less than $10,000 a season. Without a viable pro league, players who are out of college have been training on their own at random rinks across North America in between gatherings of the national teams or training sessions and exhibitions sponsored by the players association. That can stunt the players’ development, especially when it comes to be being prepared for world and Olympic competitions, Kessel said. Other games part of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series are slated for Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Feb. 8 in Anaheim, California.