National Women's Hockey League

National Women's Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1999
Country(ies)  Canada
 United States
Ceased 2007

The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) was a women's ice hockey league. This League was in service between 1999 and 2007.



The NWHL superseded the old Central Ontario Women's Hockey League in 1998-99. After the old COWHL dropped down to three teams in 1997-98, the new league expanded to Brampton, Ottawa and the Montreal area (Montreal, Bonaventure and Laval) in 1998-99. The league was officially renamed the National Women's Hockey League on Feb. 16, 1999 with Al Dawson as the league's first president. In the inaugural season, the Beatrice Aeros won the West Division while the Bonaventure Wingstar won the East Division. The league lasted nine years before it disbanded following the 2006-07 season. In 2007-08, players from the old NWHL joined new teams in similar markets in the newly-formed Canadian Women's Hockey League.


The League consisted of two divisions: the older Eastern Division (later the Eastern and Central Divisions) consists of seven teams based in Ontario and Québec, while the Western Division was formed in 2002 with the addition of the Calgary Oval X-Treme, Edmonton Chimos, and the Vancouver Griffins. The Griffins only lasted one season, and the high travel costs for the two Alberta teams caused them to break away in 2004 and form the Western Women's Hockey League.

The two leagues agreed to merge in 2006,[1] however this merger broke down midseason, and the WWHL remained independent.

Due to the expected merger, the NWHL was split into the Eastern and Central divisions, with the WWHL teams expected to make up the Western Division. The Eastern and Central Division teams played a 35-game unbalanced but interlocking schedule, with the four teams from the Central Division and the top two teams from the Eastern Division qualifying for the postseason. In the NWHL playoffs, teams played a best-of-three series to determine the Eastern and Central Division champions, who face off for the championship.

Teams from the Eastern and Central Divisions did not play against the Western Division teams at all in the regular season or postseason, although there were plans to have all three divisions compete in the playoffs before the league folded.

NWHL Franchises

The following is a old list of former franchises in all three divisions of the National Women's Hockey League.

Eastern Division

Central Division

Western Division


Since 2006, the championship of the Eastern and Central Division is awarded the Clarkson Cup, while the (officially unnamed) NWHL Champions Cup was awarded prior to 2006. Though the league and the WWHL were considered merged for the 2006-07 season, the WWHL teams did not compete for the Clarkson Cup, instead playing for the WWHL Champions Cup. The Clarkson Cup is now won in a playoff between Western Women's Hockey League WWHL and CWHL teams.

A list of NWHL winners (winner is in bold):

(Brampton have the distinction of having their home arena serve as the site of all NWHL Championship Cup games ).

Année Champion Finalist Place
2006-07 Brampton Thunder Montreal Axion Brampton
2005-06 Montreal Axion[9] Brampton Thunder Brampton
2004-05 Toronto Aeros Montreal Axion Brampton
2003-04 Calgary Oval X-Treme Brampton Thunder Brampton
2002-03 Calgary Oval X-Treme Beatrice Aeros Brampton
2001-02 Beatrice Aeros Brampton Thunder Brampton
2000-01[10] Beatrice Aeros [11] Sainte-Julie Pantheres [12] Brampton
1999–2000 Beatrice Aeros Sainte-Julie Pantheres Brampton

Scoring champions

  • 2006-07 - Jayna Hefford, Brampton Thunder
  • 2005-06 - Sommer West, Toronto Aeros
  • 2004-05 - Jayna Hefford, Brampton Thunder
  • 2003-04 - Jayna Hefford, Brampton Thunder
  • 2002-03 - Jayna Hefford, Brampton Thunder
  • 2001-02 - Amy Turek, Beatrice Aeros
  • 2000-01 - Jayna Hefford, Brampton Thunder & Amy Turek, Beatrice Aeros
  • 1999-00 - Karen Nystrom, Brampton Thunder
  • 1998-99 - Stephanie Boyd, Brampton Thunder

Goal-scoring champions

See also


  1. ^ Women's hockey leagues bury hatchet, merge - from Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity
  2. ^ Montreal Wingstar 2000 Preview, SLAM! Sports,
  3. ^ Ottawa Raiders 2000 Preview,SLAM! Sports,
  4. ^ Laval Le Mistral 2000 Preview, SLAM! Sports,
  5. ^ Brampton Thunder 2000 Preview,SLAM! Sports,
  6. ^
  7. ^ New name, new look for Mississauga, SLAM! Sports,
  8. ^ Griffins new kid on the block, SLAM! Sports,
  9. ^
  10. ^ Somes photos of the final
  11. ^ Beatrice (North York) Aeros 2000 Preview, Repeating as champions in the cards for Aeros?,
  12. ^ Sainte-Julie Pantheres 2000 Preview, SLAM! Sports,

External links

See Also

other women's top pro-level North American sports leagues

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