Women's Sports Leagues of North America

Female ice hockey players in Canada.
Female ice hockey players in Canada.

For a long time, sports was associated with men because of the high energy involved in the games and the myths and gender discrimination associated with female participation in sports. However, female participation and popularity of women’s sports have grown drastically, especially in the 20th century. The growth of women’s sports reflects a change in the modern society which has put emphasis on gender parity. Women’s sports have been accepted throughout the world. However, the level of participation and the performance vary from country to country. The US and Canada are famous for top level competitions of women’s team sports. The women’s sports leagues in North America are popular regarding television and media coverage as well as participation and attendance.

4. Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) - 2004

The WFTDA, established in April 2004, is an association of women’s flat track roller derby league. It was established as United Leagues Coalition, but the name was changed in November 2005 and registered in North Carolina as a business league organization. WFTDA promotes and assists in the growth of women’s flat track roller derby. The ULC was initially a formal organization of 20 leagues. However, by 2006 the organization had grown to 30 leagues. As at November 2015, 397 leagues had been registered by WFTDA. The organization ranks teams according to their results and group the teams in competitive divisions with the top ranking teams placed in Division 1. Each year playoffs are held with 36 teams participating in three Division 1 playoff tournaments. The top four finishers from each of the tournaments are then selected to participate in the Championship Tournament.

3. National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - 2004

NPF is a professional women’s softball league in the US. Initially called the Women’s Pro Softball League, NPF is made of five teams which compete in playoffs in a battle for the Cowles Cup. WPSL was established in 1997 but was folded four years later. In 2004, it was revived and rebranded with the name changing to NPF. The league was relaunched in 2004 with six teams with 2004 season distinguished by 178 league-wide games. The NPF continues to grow with expansion teams included in each season. The last team joins the league was Scrap Yard Dawgs as an expansion team in the Woodlands.

2. National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - 2013

The National Women’s Soccer League is run by the US soccer federation and represents the sport’s highest level in the country. The NWSL was founded in 2012 as a replacement for the Women’s Professional Soccer which also replaced the Women’s United Soccer Association. NWSL began to play in 2013 with only eight teams taking part. The league now has ten teams spread across the US with three teams crowned champions since the inaugural season in 2013. The teams use ten stadiums with the highest recorded attendance being 23,400 on April 23, 2016, during a match between Orlando Pride and Houston Dash. The games can be viewed from individual team’s website or via YouTube

1. Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) - 2007

The CWHL is the highest hockey league in Canada. The league was founded 2007 and has a total of seven teams drawn from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Boston taking part in it. The league was spearheaded by players who played in the disbanded National Women’s Hockey League. The CWHL is responsible for players’ travel and the cost of the ice rental and other equipment but does not pay the players. The teams compete for the CWHL championship trophy every season with Most Valuable Player, Top Goaltender, and Outstanding Rookie recognized at the end of the season.


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