NWHL rosters complete, but several players awaiting releases before announcing NWHL deals

The NWHL free agency period closed Monday and the league announced it has filled the rosters for all four of the league’s teams. Only 61 of the 72 player contracts have been announced, however, as the NWHL said it is awaiting several players’ releases from their former teams before their NWHL deals are made official.

Even if there has been a slight roadblock, the NWHL announced Monday that they’ve reached one of the first major goals as an upstart league.

The paid North American women’s league announced that the rosters for each of the league’s four teams has been filled. However, only 61 of the 72 players have been formally announced as member’s of the league. According to the NWHL, the league has, “agreed to not announce the remaining players’ intent to play in the league until they receive official releases from other leagues.”

One of the players whose contract has yet to be announced is Hilary Knight, the women’s hockey superstar and member of the CWHL’s Boston Blades in 2014-15.

Less than a week ago, Knight said that she would be joining the NWHL for the league’s inaugural season, but there has still yet to be word on which team she would be joining. In her interview with New York Magazine’s ‘The Cut,’ Knight only confirmed her participation in the league.

When the final roster announcements will be made is up to the players, according to the league. In a release, they said they will wait until the players are, “ready,” and that contract details will be released around the same time.

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That Knight’s deal is yet to be formally announced likely means she and several of the other signees are awaiting their release from their respective CWHL clubs. The CWHL and NWHL seasons are less than two months, however, so those releases will likely come sooner rather than later as teams from both leagues will want to prepare for the upcoming campaign.

NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan, who is also the GM of the New York Riveters, has repeatedly said she sees the two leagues coexisting.

The Riveters currently have the most complete roster with 17 of the 18 roster players already announced. The Connecticut Whale and Buffalo Beauts have announced 15 of their 18 signings, while the Boston Pride have announced the fewest signees, with four of the 18 players still awaiting formal contract announcements.

One of the most intriguing things will be the salary announcements. The only thing for certain is that each player will make a minimum of $10,000 per season. The league is set up for each player to earn an average salary of $15,000, but, like the NHL, players can negotiate higher salaries during the free agency period.