Exciting update on the CWHL equipment front! I’ve been told that Bauer has renewed their sponsorship of the CWHL for another year, and has expanded the gear that will be provided to players! Especially for goaltenders. 🙂
You may recall our post last season about the CWHL equipment situation. At that time, the CWHL’s Bauer sponsorship provided helmets, pants, and gloves for skaters, and all players, skaters or goaltenders, could get a discount on skates and sticks.
This year, the equipment provided includes helmets, pants, gloves, and elbow pads for skaters, but also Bauer will provide goalie masks to each team. Sadly, no word on if teams will cover custom paint-jobs for those masks, so my dream of some terrifying Furies on Kessler’s mask doesn’t look close to fruition. (Possibly never if the Furies change their name…) Additionally, any starting goaltender who does not have an equipment sponsor will be provided with complimentary Bauer goaltender equipment. No more old pads from college for the CWHL! (Speaking of, no more baby blue for Ott with the Pride! I’ll actually be kind of sad to see them go.)
This is great for the CWHL. I’m really glad to see them expanding the equipment that they offer, and especially expanding to provide equipment for goaltenders, for whom equipment is proportionally more expensive and faces a lot more direct wear and tear than most of a skater’s protective gear.
Aside from the ideal that is all gear provided, I still have a couple concerns about this new equipment policy expansion. What, exactly, makes a goaltender the starting goaltender? Do they just mean that a goaltender starts games? Or that the goaltender starts the majority of games? I get the desire to keep costs down by not providing gear for every goaltender who just plays one game for you, but most CWHL teams play their goaltenders pretty evenly. Toronto and Calgary less so, but I suspect scheduling availability plays at least some role in how evenly teams can split playing time. It’s not that there’s one goaltender who starts 90% of games, and one who sits on the bench most of the times– that’s just not practical with the density of games, concentrated on the weekends, that team have to play. So, going to be interesting to see how that plays out, and who shows up in new pads this season.
I’m also still WILDLY curious to hear what the discount amount is for players on sticks and skates. Sticks and skates are, hands down, the gear that gets the most wear, and they’re also the most expensive items, generally.
Overall, this is a good move that I’m really glad to see the CWHL undertake. I suspect that we’re also seeing the hand of market competition at play– with the NWHL providing all players gear, this looks like the CWHL stepping up their game in response. Hopefully, the competition between the leagues will continue to provide motivation for both to improve.