The Canadian Women's Hockey League will begin to pay players ©CWHL

The Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) will become the second women's ice hockey league in North America to pay players.

It follows the example of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) in the United States. 

The CWHL announcement comes after the news in June that Kunlun Red Star's women's team, based in Shenzhen in China, are due join the League for the 2017-2018 season.

They will take their place alongside Boston Blades, Calgary Inferno, Montreal Canadiennes, Markham Thunder and Toronto Furies in the competition.

For the first time since the League was launched in 2007, players will receive compensation for regular season play after a pay structure was passed by the Board.

"It's an exciting and historic time for us," CWHL Commissioner Brenda Andress said. 

"We have always maintained that our goal was to pay our players and we had a strategic plan in place that would allow us to do so beginning this season. 

"The continued success of our teams, players and league have been key in getting us to where we are." 

Pay will range from CAD2,000 (£1,200/$1,600/€1,300) to CAD10,000 (£6,000/$8,000/€6,500) per player for the season, based on how many years they have played in the CWHL.

General managers will have a discretionary fund to contribute to player earnings. 

China will have a presence in the CWHL this season after the addition of Kunlun Red Star  ©Getty Images
China will have a presence in the CWHL this season after the addition of Kunlun Red Star ©Getty Images

Markham Thunder goaltender and Players' Association (PA) representative Liz Knox said: "The players and the PA are very excited about the player stipend situation for the upcoming season.

"The League and the PA have been working hard together to ensure the longevity of player careers in the CWHL. 

"We understand that this is just the beginning for the growth of our game and look forward to the future."

Kunlun were added to the League as China attempts to improve its ice hockey performance before hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. 

"Enhancing the players' experience is important to the CWHL," Andress added.

"Our plan is about sustainability.

"This is an exciting new era we're embarking upon, and it’s only the beginning."