FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2016, file photo, National Women's Hockey League All-Star players take time for a "selfie" before the start of an all-star game at Harborcenter in Buffalo, N.Y. NWHL founder and commissioner Dani Rylan tells The Associated Press she considers the likelihood of North America having one women's professional hockey league as being "inevitable." Rylan’s comments, made in an email to The AP, are considered her strongest regarding a potential merger with the rival Canadian Women’s Hockey League since the NWHL was formed three years ago. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)

APNewsBreak: Commish: 1 women's hockey league 'inevitable'

October 17, 2018 - 8:09 am

National Women's Hockey League Commissioner Dani Rylan tells The Associated Press she believes the likelihood of a single North American women's professional hockey league is "inevitable."

It is believed to be the first time Rylan has publicly suggested the inevitability of forming one league with the rival Canadian Women's Hockey League since the NWHL was formed three years ago.

Acknowledging an agreement won't be easy, Rylan says: "We will get this done."

Numerous players and hockey executives, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, have spent the past few years urging the two leagues to settle their differences. Most observers agree that a single league is better for growing the game. Interim CWHL Commissioner Jayna Hefford has called the formation of one league "a priority" and projected it could happen within two years.

Rylan's comments come after both leagues discussed merger options this summer, a person with direct knowledge of discussions told the AP.

Also on the table is an NWHL proposal for both league champions to compete in an end-of-season playoff, the person said on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

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