The Canadian Women's Hockey League announced Monday that it will expand to China starting next season, becoming one of the first North American professional sports leagues to build teams in Asia.
周一，加拿大女子冰球联盟（Canadian Women’s Hockey League，以下简称CWHL）宣布，它将从下一季开始扩展到中国，成为第一批在亚洲组建球队的北美职业体育联盟之一。
Beijing’s Kunlun Red Star hockey club, which began its first season in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League last year, will have a women’s team in the C.W.H.L.
去年，北京的昆仑鸿星冰球俱乐部开始了在俄罗斯大陆冰球联赛(Kontinental Hockey League)的第一个赛季，该俱乐部将拥有一支CWHL女子球队。
The women’s league, founded in 2007, has teams in Boston; Brampton, Ontario; Toronto; Montreal; and Calgary, Alberta. The C.W.H.L. has not yet offered salaries to its players — unlike the National Women’s Hockey League, which consists of four teams, all in the United States — but it is expected to begin paying players next season. An investment from China would help make that happen.
该女子联盟成立于2007年，在波士顿、安大略省布兰普顿、多伦多、蒙特利尔以及艾伯塔省卡尔加里拥有球队。与美国国家女子冰球联盟(National Women’s Hockey League)不同，CWHL尚未给球员发薪水——前者拥有四支球队，全部都在美国境内——但有望从下一季开始给球员付酬。来自中国的一笔投资将有助于促成此事。
“This expansion will have a significant impact on women’s hockey around the world and indeed on women’s sports,” Brenda Andress, the league’s commissioner, said in a telephone interview.
The five-year deal opens professional women’s hockey to an untapped market in Asia full of sponsorship opportunities, but it also signifies China’s push to establish a competitive team for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
Andress said a new team would have to follow the same league policies of adding new players through the draft and free agency, but Kunlun Red Star’s roster is expected to consist of players from China and players from North America of Chinese heritage, as well as non-Chinese. Kunlun will also be forming youth girls’ teams this year.
Billy Ngok, the Kunlun Red Star founder, said in a statement that his team was “the national club of China” and that through cooperation with the sport’s national governing body, “we will prepare for our teams to compete in Beijing 2022” and “promote the game in China.”
Kunlun Red Star will be coached by Digit Murphy, who formerly led the C.W.H.L.’s Boston Blades and Brown University. Last year, she helped start the United Women’s Lacrosse League.
昆仑鸿星将由迪吉特·墨菲(Digit Murphy)担任教练，她担任过CWHL的波士顿刀锋队(Boston Blades)和布朗大学队(Brown University)的教练。去年，她帮助创立了美国联合女子长曲棍球联盟(United Women’s Lacrosse League)。
“She’s passionate; she knows hockey,” Andress said. “She’s built programs and she’s an asset as a coach for the Chinese team.”<-->纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com<-->
Recently, the former N.H.L. coach Mike Keenan was named the head of Kunlun’s men’s team, and the club has hired several notable former hockey stars, including Bobby Carpenter and Phil Esposito, to help build its program. According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, China has 1,101 hockey players among a total population exceeding 1.3 billion.
前不久，前美国国家冰球联盟(NHL)教练迈克·基南(Mike Keenan)被任命为昆仑男子队的教练，该俱乐部还请了几位前冰球明星帮助设计训练计划，包括鲍比·卡彭特(Bobby Carpenter)和菲尔·埃斯波西托(Phil Esposito)。根据国际冰球联合会(International Ice Hockey Federation)的数据，中国逾13亿的人口中，有1101名冰球队员。
“There’s no doubt about it; it’s going to increase the fan base and appreciation of our game,” Andress said, citing a Toronto Star article that said 22 million Chinese viewers watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.
“毫无疑问，它会扩大球迷群体，增强人们对这项运动的喜爱，”安德烈斯说。她提到《多伦多星报》(The Toronto Star)的一篇文章称，有2200万中国观众观看了在匹兹堡企鹅队和纳什维尔掠夺者队之间进行的斯坦利杯总决赛的第一场。
Even if N.H.L. ratings in China are rising, the sport has yet to embed itself in the fabric of the nation.
Last year, the Kunlun men’s team had to relocate to Shanghai, almost 800 miles away, where crowds sometimes amounted to only 700 or so fans, many of whom received free tickets. The Globe and Mail reported from a game last year that concessions “were sold from a small table that included three Snickers bars and three plastic cups of caramel popcorn.” Foreign bank rules also made payments to players difficult at times.
去年，昆仑男子队不得不搬到近800英里外的上海，那里的观众有时只有700人左右，其中很多还是收到了免费门票。去年，《环球邮报》(Globe and Mail)从一场比赛现场报道称，周边商品放在“一张小桌子上售卖，包括三条士力架和三个塑料杯的焦糖爆米花”。外国银行的规定有时也导致给球员支薪的困难。
Ngok founded the private equity company Golden Brick Capital Management and China Environmental Energy Holdings. His investment portfolio includes companies that produce mobile phone content; television networks; internet providers; and web browsers.
The Chinese have recently shown a propensity to invest and expand their imprint on sports companies from the West.
Dalian Wanda, a Chinese real estate conglomerate that owns part of Atlético Madrid, recently purchased the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series. Next season, the N.H.L. will hold preseason games in Shanghai and Beijing. Since Yao Ming’s rookie year with the Houston Rockets in 2002, China has been a prime focus of international marketing for the N.B.A.
While international teams often offer athletes opportunities for additional income, substantial growth for a sport is not always guaranteed. For years, W.N.B.A. players have competed internationally in the winter for greater salaries than what they make in the United States. Many of those teams are owned by wealthy businessmen more interested in the novelty of owing a sports team than in expanding the reach of women’s basketball.
Andress said that her league had methodically assessed the risks of expanding to China and that authenticity from Kunlun Red Star in building women’s hockey was “extremely important for us.”
The schedule for the C.W.H.L. season, which begins in October, has not been completed, but Kunlun Red Star will travel for blocks of games in North America, and each North American team will fly to China at least once.
The C.W.H.L. just celebrated its 10th season and has featured some of women’s hockey’s greatest players. Andress has championed slow and steady growth; while players have gone unpaid, she has formed partnerships with N.H.L. teams and the N.H.L. Players’ Association, as well as companies like Molson Coors.
The National Women’s Hockey League, which recently completed its second season, had to deal with financial setbacks last season. Both women’s leagues will be without national team players for Canada and the United States next season as they prepare for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
When those players become available again, for the 2018-19 season, the C.W.H.L. could provide an enticing option. Andress said she hoped the deal with China would ultimately change the course of women’s hockey for the better.
“I think sport has a place and a voice, and I think we haven’t used that voice very often,” Andress said. “But you think of what the C.W.H.L. stands for: the opportunity to create jobs on and off the ice for women; the opportunity for our players to speak up; and our mission to provide the youth with role models — provide the youth with knowledge of who they are born to be is O.K., not to accept bullying, to be O.K. with your body image, to be O.K. with who you are in this life.”
She added, “I think the sports world needs to use their voice more to promote what they believe in and to promote women and to promote opportunities for women’s voices to be heard.”