September 01, 2017

TORONTO (AP) The Canadian Women's Hockey League will start paying players for the first time this season.

The board of directors approved pay ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per player, the league said Friday. The salaries will be determined by years of service. The plan was devised in consultation with league officials, general managers, the board and the CWHL Players Association.

''It's an exciting and historic time for us,'' Commissioner Brenda Andress said in a statement. ''We have always maintained that our goal was to pay our players and we had a strategic plan in place that would allow us to do so beginning this season. The continued success of our teams, players and league have been key in getting us to where we are.''

The CWHL was founded in 2007 and recently announced an expansion team in China for the upcoming season.

General managers will have a discretionary fund as well. But the pay structure was designed to be something the nonprofit league can continue past this season.

''The league and the PA have been working hard together to ensure the longevity of player careers in the CWHL,'' said Liz Knox, CWHL Players Association representative and goaltender for the Markham Thunder. ''We understand that this is just the beginning for the growth of our game and look forward to the future.''

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a forward for the U.S women's national team who also plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps, wrote on Twitter that this is a big day for women's hockey.

''Excited for the future! (hash)GrowingTheGame,'' Lamoureux-Davidson wrote.

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