The Canadian Women's Hockey League appears to be expanding east. The Far East, that is.
Indications are China will ice a team in the CWHL for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
The league has not confirmed the addition of the Chinese team but players and agents are already talking about the potential benefits to both the league and the sport.
"Big news for @TheCWHL and women's hockey. A Chinese team will play in CWHL this year! Exciting!" Sami Jo Small, former goalie for the Toronto Furies and one of the founding players of the CWHL.
"Obviously the Chinese government is going to want a team that is going to be relevant in five years," says Brant Feldman, a sports agent with AGM Sports in Los Angeles.
China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Without confirmation from the CWHL, it's not known if the HC Kunlun Red Stars, which is based in Shenzhen, will move to Canada for the year or not.
Another indication of the expansion is that the CWHL schedule will be six games longer this coming year, moving from 24 games to 30.
Feldman says the move would be a great development, globally, for women's hockey.
"If the European teams all have to start putting more investment into women's hockey because they know China is coming and is [going to] put all this money in, well, guess what – European teams should start to do the same thing."