EDINA, Minn. – July 20, 2017 – Seeking to solicit additional financial support for the next generation of leaders and champions, the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is launching an unprecedented partnership with RallyMe on a state-of-the art, crowdfunding platform. While common for individual institutions and teams, the WCHA is believed to be among the first – if not the first – NCAA Division I conference to use crowdsourcing to help raise funds for items such as tournament costs, postgraduate scholarships and other initiatives aimed at enhancing the student-athlete experience.
"The WCHA Women's League has long stood as the nation's premier conference, and now we want to do more for our amazing student-athletes and programs, but need some help to do it," said Katie Million, WCHA Vice President and Women's League Commissioner. "The unparalleled on-ice successes of the WCHA Women's League – which includes 16 national championships in 18 years, seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 95 All-Americans, 67 Olympians and counting, and many more national team members – are all well-known and poised to continue. What many people don't know, however, is that the WCHA operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and, because of that, offers unique opportunities through tax-deductible donations to make positive, tangible impacts on our current student-athletes and the generations to follow.
"Our WCHA alumni are gold medalists and CEOs; they are professional hockey players and small-business owners; they are role models and true inspirations. In this era of being bold for change, we are asking for financial help to make the best league in women's college hockey even better. We are honored to partner with RallyMe – a leading platform for online athletic fundraising – to further strengthen the WCHA, its role in the sport and its impact on the lives of women who are leaders and champions on and off the ice."
An Innovative Partnership
To embark on what it hopes will be a trailblazing path of conference-level fundraising, the WCHA turned to RallyMe, which has partnered with over 40 national governing bodies and top sports organizations worldwide as they aim to assist athletes, teams and organizations raise funds.
"The WCHA, and its member schools and athletes, are an extraordinary example of perseverance in sport," said Bill Kerig, Founder and General Manager of RallyMe. "We're thrilled to provide the platform and sophisticated online tools necessary to help the WCHA continue to thrive and provide top-notch league play and experiences for the best athletes in women's collegiate hockey."
The WCHA platform on RallyMe offers a variety of unique areas in which to make a tax-deductible donation, from supporting the league's general operating fund to helping with specific items related to the overall student-athlete experience. For example:
- Operations Fund: A general donation to help offset any league operating expenses currently not recouped through sponsorship dollars and/or postseason ticket sales; costs that are currently passed on to the seven WCHA Women's League member institutions.
- 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff: Assist with the general operating costs associated with hosting the nation's top conference championship tournament and associated events (such as the WCHA Alumni Game and WCHA Youth Clinic), with all funds going toward providing a memorable, three-day experience for WCHA student-athletes, alumnae and fans.
- 2018 Postgraduate Scholarship: The women of the WCHA represent the very best of college athletics; this is an opportunity to help finance the annual WCHA Postgraduate Scholarship, given to an exemplary student-athlete to assist in their further education. Past winners include such inspirational figures as Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who, after rewriting the North Dakota record books, has greater aspirations: With a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, she hopes to develop new drugs that help those suffering from disease to enjoy longer and fuller lives.
- Student-Athlete Awards Banquet: Our WCHA Players of the Year and All-League performers annually read as a who's-who of the women's hockey world. Our WCHA Scholar-Athletes and All-Academic Team members are young women destined to make an impact in whatever field they choose. Support a potential year-end, awards banquet and celebration for our wonderful student-athletes.
- Regular Season Championship Trophy: Your donation will be on display for all to see each and every year, as the team that survives the annual gauntlet of a WCHA regular season will proudly raise a fantastic new trophy.
- Postseason Championship Trophy: Your donation will be crystallized each season with a new legacy trophy – the symbol of what it means to be a WCHA Final Faceoff champion.
- Television Production: In 2016-17, the WCHA enjoyed an historic partnership with FOX Sports North, bringing unprecedented, long overdue and much deserved exposure. But, funds are needed to continue showcasing WCHA student-athletes and schools on television.
Those who donate at certain monetary levels will receive special "thank-you" items ranging from social media recognition or WCHA merchandise, to autographed team posters or meet-and-greets with a favorite team, to a VIP experience at the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff.
Why Help? Because #WeAreWCHA
Women's college hockey is an amazing and life-changing experience. While playing the sport they love, the young women of the WCHA also excel in the classroom and in the community, developing the skills and traits that lead to future success – both on and off the ice.
As Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a University of North Dakota alumna, two-time Olympian and current member of the U.S. National Women's Team, said of her time on campus: "Playing a Division I team sport prepares you for everything in life. It prepares you to manage your time, work with others, prioritize obligations, be a team player, be a leader and everything else that goes into being a successful professional after hockey is over."
The WCHA is uniquely positioned to offer the best of academics and the college experience, while continuing to advance women's hockey at all levels – and regions – of the sport.
"The WCHA is the most competitive elite college hockey conference in the world," observed Lamoureux-Davidson. "I believe that the development of women's hockey has been what it is because of the WCHA and the Olympic-caliber players they bring in from all over the world! We need continued support for the WCHA because it is instrumental in the growth of women's hockey in America and world-wide."
Or, in the words of two-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion Rachel Ramsey, a University of Minnesota alumna: "Little girls throughout the country grow up dreaming to wear the jersey of a WCHA team. I know; I was one of them. I wanted to play for the league that's home to the best players, teams and rivalries in the NCAA. College hockey's history is rooted deep in the WCHA, and I wanted to be a part of that. Thousands of girls want to do the same today, and that's why it's important to support the WCHA – to continue to grow the game, make history and make dreams come true."
Indeed, the WCHA has become – and will remain – the nation's premier college hockey conference thanks to all involved, from current players and coaches, to fans and alumnae.
"We are a college hockey league, but ours is really a story that begins well before campus and lasts for life," Million commented. "We are the girls lacing up their skates for the first time. We are the Scholar-Athlete Award winners and the All-Americans, the young women excelling in the rink and in the classroom. We are the community leaders, the women who inspire change and create a better world. We – the WCHA – are also our fans and extended League family.
"Thanks to this fundraising platform, we all have the opportunity to support and magnify the WCHA's indelible legacy."
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)
The women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association has won a record 16 national championships in 18 years since its inception in 1999, while producing six Patty Kazmaier Award winners, 95 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team Division 1 conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). For more information, visit www.wcha.com.
RallyMe is a leading platform for online athletic fundraising. RallyMe has partnered with over 40 national governing bodies and top sports organizations worldwide as they aim to assist athletes, teams and organizations raise funds necessary to train, compete and perform at a high level. The safe and secure web site has helped thousands of athletes raise millions, while garnering average contributions that are 66% higher than contributions made to general interest online fundraising sites. Learn more at rallyme.com.