2017–18 CWHL season

The 2017–18 CWHL season is the 11th season of the Canadian Women's Hockey League. This is also the first season in which the teams pay their players a salary.[1] It would also prove to be the final full season in which Brenda Andress served as commissioner of the league, tendering her resignation on July 18, 2019.[2]

2017–18 CWHL season
LeagueCanadian Women's Hockey League
SportIce hockey
Regular season
Season championsLes Canadiennes
Season MVPKelli Stack and Jamie Lee Rattray (co-MVPs)
Top scorerKelli Stack
MVPErica Howe
Clarkson Cup
ChampionsMarkham Thunder
  Runners-upKunlun Red Star WIH


On June 5, 2017, the league revealed at the Hockey Hall of Fame that it would expand into China with the Kunlun Red Star WIH, a women's team associated with the Kontinental Hockey League's Kunlun Red Star men's team.[3] The recent expansions into China is aimed for developing their ice hockey teams for when Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics.[1] Prior to the official announcement of the team joining the CWHL, Noora Räty and American forward Kelli Stack were at the announcement at the Hockey Hall of Fame wearing Red Star jerseys.[4] The league soon added a second Chinese team in the Vanke Rays.

On July 11, 2017, it was announced that the Brampton Thunder, a founding franchise of the CWHL and the league's first champions, would be moving east to the Markham community of Thornhill, Ontatio. The move was announced with a press conference at their new arena with commissioner Brenda Andress, Mayor Frank Scarpitti, CWHL Director and esteemed Thunder alumni Vicky Sunohara, interim General Manager Chelsea Purcell (later named GM in August), and many Thunder players present.

On September 1, the league announced that it would begin having salaries for their players for the first time.[1] Each player is set to make a minimum of $2,000 per season and a maximum of $10,000 with a team salary cap of $100,000.[1] At the time of the announcement, it made the league the second fully professional women's hockey league in North America after the launch of the rival National Women's Hockey League in the United States in 2015.

Head coaching and front office personnel changes

Head coaches

Team 2016–17 head coach 2017–18 replacement Notes
Calgary Inferno Scott Reid Tomas Pacina
Markham Thunder Tyler Fines Jim Jackson

Front office

Team 2016–17 GM 2017–18 replacement Notes
Boston Blades Krista Patronick Jessica Martino
Markham Thunder Lori Dupuis Chelsea Purcell The club relocated to Markham, Ontario, from Brampton following the 2016–17 season
Toronto Furies Rebecca Davies Nicole Latreille

CWHL Draft

The 2017 CWHL Draft marked the first time that the Draft involved the Kunlun Red Star WIH and Vanke Rays.[5] Courtney Turner was selected with the first overall pick in the draft, claimed by the Boston Blades,[6] becoming the first American-born player to be selected with the top pick.

News and notes

  • December 13, 2017: Erin Ambrose was traded from the Toronto Furies to les Canadiennes de Montreal. Ambrose did not play any games with the Furies this season as she had been centralized with the Canadian National Women's Team. In return, Toronto received Montreal's 2018 first and third round picks, a 2019 first round pick, and a 2020 third round pick.
  • January 10, 2018: Megan Bozek signed as a free agent with the Markham Thunder.
  • January 15, 2018: Alexandra Carpenter joined the Kunlun Red Star. KRS drafted her, but she had not played up until this date because she was centralized with the USNWT.[7]
  • March 8, 2018: Hilary Knight signed as a free agent with Les Canadiennes de Montreal, joining the team for the 2018 Clarkson Cup playoffs.[8]
  • March 20, 2018: Prior to the 2018 Clarkson Cup finals, Cassie Campbell-Pascall resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor.[9]

Regular season


1 Les Canadiennes de Montreal 28 22 5 1 18 117 59 +58 45
2 Kunlun Red Star 28 21 6 1 20 96 52 +44 43
3 Calgary Inferno 28 17 7 4 16 96 70 +26 38
4 Markham Thunder 28 14 7 7 12 81 68 +13 35
5 Vanke Rays 28 14 13 1 10 78 97 19 29
6 Toronto Furies 28 9 17 2 8 56 99 43 20
7 Boston Blades 28 1 24 3 1 41 120 79 5

Clarkson Cup playoffs

Laura Stacey would score against Noora Raty of the Kunlun Red Star with 2:11 left in the 4-on-4 overtime, as Markham prevailed by a 2–1 score for its first Clarkson Cup win.[10]

Clarkson Cup semifinals
Clarkson Cup Championship
1 Les Canadiennes 0
4 Markham Thunder 2
4 Markham Thunder 2 (OT)
2 Kunlun Red Star WIH 1
2 Kunlun Red Star WIH 2
3 Calgary Inferno 1

Awards and honors

Regular season

  • Chairman's Trophy: Les Canadiennes de Montreal

Postseason awards

CWHL Awards

Angela James BowlKelli Stack (KRS)
Coach of the YearTomaš Pacina (CGY)Dany Brunet (MTL) and Jeff Flanagan (TOR)[11]
Defensive Player of the YearCathy Chartrand (MTL)Katelyn Gosling (CGY) and Jessica Wong (KRS)
Goalie of the YearNoora Raty (KRS)Erica Howe (MAR) and Emerance Maschmeyer (MTL)
Humanitarian AwardBrad Morris
Jayna Hefford Trophy (league MVP voted by the players)Jamie Lee Rattray (MAR)
Most Valuable PlayerKelli Stack (KRS)Ann-Sophie Bettez (MTL) and Jamie Lee Rattray (MAR)
Rookie of the YearSophie Shirley (CGY)Cayley Mercer (VAR) and Brittany Zuback (TOR)



  1. "Canadian Women's Hockey League will begin paying its players". The Globe and Mail. September 1, 2017.
  2. Canadian Press (July 18, 2018). "CWHL Commissioner Brenda Andress to Step Down". CWHL. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. Price, Satchel (June 5, 2017). "Canadian Women's Hockey League expanding to China next season". SBNation.com.
  4. "Chinese team set to enter Canadian Women's Hockey League". Sportsnet. June 5, 2017.
  5. "Previewing the Prospects: Top CWHL Draftees at Each Position". www.thecwhl.com. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  6. "CWHL Welcomes 113 New Players in 2017 Draft". www.thecwhl.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  7. Press Release (15 January 2018). "Kunlun Adds 2017 Draft Pick, Alex Carpenter". Canadian Women's Hockey League. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  8. Les Canadiennes Press Release (8 March 2018). "Hilary Knight to join Les Canadiennes". National Hockey League. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  9. Ken Campbell (20 March 2018). "Cassie Campbell-Pascall resigns as CWHL governor ahead of league's marquee weekend". The Hockey News. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  10. Kevin McGran (25 March 2018). "Laura Stacey's overtime winner gives Markham its first Clarkson Cup". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  11. "2018 CWHL Awards Show Nominees". CWHL. March 15, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  12. "Stack and Rattray headline Awards Night". CWHL. March 24, 2018. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
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