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China, Canada, US teams fold as women's hockey league ends

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Montreal (AFP)

China, Canada and the United States will lose top-level franchises after the Canadian Women's Hockey League announcing Sunday it will discontinue operations on May 1.

The league completed its 12th campaign earlier this month with the Calgary Inferno beating the Montreal Canadiennes in the final for a second crown in four campaigns.

The league also fielded the Toronto Furies and Markham Thunder in Canada, the Worcester Blades in suburban Boston and China's Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays.

The league board of directors announced it had voted to fold the competition in a statement released on social media.

"Unfortunately, while the on-ice hockey is exceptional, the business model has proven to be economically unsustainable," the statement said.

The league partnered with NHL teams in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary and drew record television viewership for this year's finals.

"We thank our fans for cheering on their favourite player and favourite teams, our sponsors for helping fund the growth of women's hockey," the statement said.

"We would like to acknowledge the management and players of Team KRS for their commitment to the CWHL and growth of women's hockey in China."

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