2018–19 CWHL season

The 2018–19 CWHL season was the 12th and final season of the Canadian Women's Hockey League.

2018–19 CWHL season
LeagueCanadian Women's Hockey League
SportIce hockey
Regular season
Season championsCalgary Inferno
Season MVPMarie-Philip Poulin (Les Canadiennes)
Top scorerMarie-Philip Poulin (Les Canadiennes)
MVPBrianna Decker (Calgary)
Clarkson Cup
ChampionsCalgary Inferno
  Runners-upLes Canadiennes


  • July 16: The CWHL contracted the Vanke Rays' membership after one season to focus solely on the Kunlun Red Star team in China.[1]
  • July 19: Jayna Hefford was appointed to the position of interim commissioner of the CWHL, replacing inaugural commissioner Brenda Andress, who tendered her resignation.[2]
  • August 3: The Kunlun Red Star franchise was rebranded as the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays as part of integrating the CWHL's two teams in China. Rob Morgan, who served as the head coach of the Vanke Rays during the previous season, was also named as the general manager for the consolidated Chinese team.[3]
  • August 20, 2018: The Boston Blades relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts and rebranded as the Worcester Blades. Home games are scheduled for the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center.[4]

One league movement

Starting in March 2018, and throughout the offseason, current and former players took to social media to promote the concept of one unified professional women's hockey league. Players had utilized the hashtag #OneLeague to indicated their support.[5]

CWHL draft

Heading into the draft, the league reported that general managers were authorized to "pre-sign" their first and second round selections prior to the draft. The window for pre-signing expired on August 17.[6]

Head coaching and front office personnel changes

Head coaches

Team 2017–18 head coach 2018–19 replacement Notes
Calgary Inferno Tomas Pacina Shannon Miller Miller was signed by the Inferno as their head coach on June 23, 2018.[7]
Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays Digit Murphy Bob Deraney Murphy left the team in May 2018 after leading Kunlun Red Star to the 2018 Clarkson Cup championship game. Deraney was signed by KRS as head coach on June 12, 2018, after several year as head coach of the Providence Friars women's ice hockey team.[8]
Toronto Furies Jeff Flanagan Courtney Birchard The Furies signed Birchard as their new head coach on July 31, 2018. In addition, Ken Dufton was named as an advisor to the team.[9]
Worcester Blades Kacy Ambroz Paul Kennedy Kennedy replaced Ambroz, who had gone 1–12 after being promoted from assistant during the previous season when head coach Casey Brugman was fired in January 2018.[10]
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach Notes
Calgary Inferno Shannon Miller Ryan Hilderman
Mandi Duhamel
Miller left after only 12 games and 10–1–1 record while in first place. She was replaced by assistant coaches Hilderman and Duhamel.[11]
Les Canadiennes Dany Brunet Caroline Ouellette Brunet resigned on 24 November 2018 after leading the team to three Clarkson Cup appearances. Recently retired player Caroline Ouellette was hired as the interim head coach.[12]

Front office

Team 2017–18 GM 2018–19 replacement Notes
Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays Rob Morgan Morgan coached the previous season with the Vanke Rays and was named general manager of the consolidated and rebranded China-based team.[3]
Toronto Furies Nicole Latreille Sami Jo Small On June 11, 2018, Small was named general manager of the Toronto Furies.[13]
Worcester Blades Jessica Martino Derek Alfama Alfama was named the new general manager of the Boston Blades on August 2, 2018.[14]


Final standings[15]

Calgary Inferno28234014711154
Les Canadiennes28216014311845
Markham Thunder28131131308580
Toronto Furies28141400286477
Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays28131320287968
Worcester Blades2802800022155
     Advanced to playoffs

Clarkson Cup playoffs

Clarkson Cup semifinals
Clarkson Cup Championship
1 Calgary Inferno 2
4 Toronto Furies 1
1 Calgary Inferno 5
2 Les Canadiennes 2
2 Les Canadiennes 2
3 Markham Thunder 1

Awards and honors

Regular season

Chairman's Trophy (regular season champions)Calgary Inferno[16]
Most Valuable PlayerMarie-Philip Poulin (MTL)[16]Rebecca Johnston (CGY) and Natalie Spooner (TOR)[17]
Angela James Bowl (top scorer)Marie-Philip Poulin (MTL)[16]
Coach of the YearJim Jackson (MAR)[16]Ryan Hilderman (CGY) and Courtney Kessel (TOR)[17]
Defensive Player of the YearErin Ambrose (MTL)[16]Kacey Bellamy (CGY) and Laura Fortino (MAR)[17]
Goalie of the YearAlex Rigsby (CGY)[16]Emerance Maschmeyer (MTL) and Noora Raty (KRS)[17]
Humanitarian AwardMike Bartlett[16]
Jayna Hefford Trophy (league MVP voted by the players)Marie-Philip Poulin (MTL)[16]Brianne Jenner (CGY) and Emerance Maschmeyer (MTL)[17]
Rookie of the YearVictoria Bach (MAR)[16]Rebecca Leslie (CGY) and Sarah Nurse (TOR)[17]

Postseason awards


  1. "CWHL TO FEATURE SIX TEAMS IN 2018-19". CWHL. July 16, 2018.
  2. Canadian Press (July 18, 2018). "CWHL Commissioner Brenda Andress to Step Down". CWHL. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. Maura Sun (3 August 2018). "Kunlun Red Stars Announce Team Name Change". Canadian Women's Hockey League. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. Jessica Rochwerg (20 August 2018). "CWHL ANNOUNCES BLADES RELOCATION TO WORCESTER". CWHL. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  5. Stephen Whyno and John Wawrow, The Associated Press (15 March 2018). "One women's pro hockey league is the goal, but there's no clear path to get there". The National Post. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  6. Mike Murphy (15 June 2018). "Kunlun signs Newell, Carpenter and four others re-sign with China's CWHL clubs". SB Nation: Ice Garden. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  7. Tammy Schwass (23 June 2018). "The Calgary Inferno Professional Women's Hockey Team Welcome World-Renowned Coach, Shannon Miller to the Bench". Calgary Inferno. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  8. "Bob Deraney named head coach of Kunlun Red Stars". TheIceGarden.com. 12 June 2018.
  9. "Kessel New Head Coach, Dufton New Advisor". Toronto Furies. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  10. "Boston Blades introduce Paul Kennedy as new head coach". TheIceGarden.com. July 27, 2018.
  11. "Shannon Miller steps down as Calgary Inferno coach". Duluth News Tribune. December 6, 2018.
  12. "Les Canadiennes head coach Dany Brunet resigns; Caroline Ouellette to take over on interim basis". SB Nation. 24 November 2018.
  13. Donna Spencer (11 June 2018). "Sami Jo Small named GM of CWHL's Toronto Furies". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. "Derek Alfama Named General Manger of Boston Blades". CWHL. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  15. "2018–19 CWHL Standings". theCWHL.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  16. "POULIN WINS BIG AT 2019 CWHL AWARD SHOW". CWHL. March 22, 2019. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  17. "2019 CWHL Award Nominees". CWHL. March 15, 2019. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
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