Is The WCHA Women’s Hockey Conference Struggling Financially?
After the loss of women's college hockey at the University of North Dakota, the WCHA is turning to crowdfunding to help offset the costs.
The WCHA Women's League announced that they are partnering with RallyMe, which is a "state-of-the-art crowdfunding platform". This comes 4 months after the University of North Dakota announced that they would be cutting the women's hockey team due to budget cuts. That leaves the WCHA with only 7 teams - University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
If you would like to help raise money, you can check out the RallyMe Page by clicking the button below.
Katie Million, the WCHA Women's League Commissioner, was quoted in the Star Tribune saying that, “We’re not in a dire financial situation. We’re just trying to be proactive. As schools get less funding, their budgets are tightening. We just want to do everything we can in our power to lessen the burden of what they need to pay us financially.”
According to the WCHA press release, here is what the crowdfunded money will go towards:
- Operations Fund: A general donation to help offset any league operating expenses currently not recouped through sponsorship dollars and/or postseason ticket sales; costs that are currently passed on to the seven WCHA Women's League member institutions.
- 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff: Assist with the general operating costs associated with hosting the nation's top conference championship tournament and associated events (such as the WCHA Alumni Game and WCHA Youth Clinic), with all funds going toward providing a memorable, three-day experience for WCHA student-athletes, alumnae and fans.
- 2018 Postgraduate Scholarship: The women of the WCHA represent the very best of college athletics; this is an opportunity to help finance the annual WCHA Postgraduate Scholarship, given to an exemplary student-athlete to assist in their further education. Past winners include such inspirational figures as Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who, after rewriting the North Dakota record books, has greater aspirations: With a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, she hopes to develop new drugs that help those suffering from disease to enjoy longer and fuller lives.
- Student-Athlete Awards Banquet: Our WCHA Players of the Year and All-League performers annually read as a who's-who of the women's hockey world. Our WCHA Scholar-Athletes and All-Academic Team members are young women destined to make an impact in whatever field they choose. Support a potential year-end, awards banquet and celebration for our wonderful student-athletes.
- Regular Season Championship Trophy: Your donation will be on display for all to see each and every year, as the team that survives the annual gauntlet of a WCHA regular season will proudly raise a fantastic new trophy.
- Postseason Championship Trophy: Your donation will be crystallized each season with a new legacy trophy – the symbol of what it means to be a WCHA Final Faceoff champion.
- Television Production: In 2016-17, the WCHA enjoyed an historic partnership with FOX Sports North, bringing unprecedented, long overdue and much deserved exposure. But, funds are needed to continue showcasing WCHA student-athletes and schools on television.
So with North Dakota out of the picture, the other 7 schools have to take a bigger piece of the league dues, which for the 2015-2016 season was $87,000 according to the Star Tribune.
It's hard not to think that the WCHA Women's Hockey Conference might be in some financial trouble. Attendance isn't great around women's college hockey, with most teams not even getting to half capacity for games. Couple that with travel and operation costs, and it's easy to see why the WCHA is looking for alternative methods to cover costs.
Hopefully this crowdfunding effort succeeds and we continue to see Women's hockey thrive.