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A Tale of two leagues, PWHPA or NWHL?
Kristen Richards is torn between two leagues.
When you block all the shots and @ratt26 gets all the glory @ThunderCWHL pic.twitter.com/P1h1dGAGSl— Kristen Richards (@k_rich19) September 21, 2017
The 27 year old, is a Canadian ice hockey player and teacher who formerly played with the Markham Thunder of the now defunct CWHL.
Earlier this month, she was offered a spot with the newest NWHL team, The Toronto Six.
Prior to this, Richards was pondering going into the Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association (PWHPA). Which is home to notable female hockey players such as Kendall Coyne, Hillary Knight and Marie-Philip Poulin to name but a few.
Her seamingly tough situation has left many people with the same question: Which league will she choose?
The earlier established NWHL, that comes with a guaranteed chance to play in the league as well as a few thousand dollars? Or the PWHPA, the younger but more competitive league that is home to national-team players?
In a heartfelt letter to her followers on Twitter, Richards explains her reasoning behind choosing the PWHPA over the NWHL.
Why a Non-National Team Member chose to stay with the PWHPAhttps://t.co/kQfmGXxiMH pic.twitter.com/Re7RcAHNBn— Kristen Richards (@k_rich19) June 11, 2020
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Richards had this to say:
“I wrote this when I was introduced to the idea of potentially going to the NWHL, I didn’t know what my best career choice would be. I’m older, I’m in a full time career. […] I’d love the opportunity to keep playing. The NWHL would give me the opportunity to play and to be a big part of a team, versus my role in the PWHPA.”
“The PWHPA is so strong that there’s no guarantee that you’re going to make the team next year. […] What I came to terms with was the idea that there’s more for our game. I feel what the PWHPA is fighting for is more my view on what professionalism is.”
Richards, however, still believes there is room for both leagues. She does not believe that we should have to be confined to playing in one league.
Still speaking to the Canadian press Kristen said;
“What we forget about along the way is any opportunity in women's sport right now is a good one," she explains. "Why are we women forced to say that we only deserve one league after all of this?"
The PWHPA is only just over a year old and it’s aimed at creating a league where it’s players will be paid enough to play the sport as a full time job. Something that is non-existent in the female hockey landscape.