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NWHL players request ‘transparency and open communication’ in face of pay cuts

One day after the NWHL announced salary cuts for its players, the players are requesting that the league let the players know more about its financial situation.

The NWHL is facing financial difficulties that have caused the league to slash salaries, reportedly by 50 percent, and the players appear open to accepting the cuts and working with the league so long as the NWHL is willing to provide the players with certain information.

In a statement issued Saturday afternoon via Twitter, Boston Pride star Hilary Knight — arguably the best women’s player in the world and one of the most notable signees the league had in its inaugural season — said the players are willing to work the league, but the cooperation of the players seems to be at least partially contingent on the league offering “transparency and open communication” to the players.

The statement from Knight outlined four requests from the players, the bulk of which have to do with the league’s financials. 

According to Knight, the players are calling for a third party to “audit the league’s finances right away to ensure that sound financial practices are being employed,” and to determine whether the league actually has the money to continue to pay its players. Next, the players are asking for the league to disclose the identity of investors, and requesting an explanation as to how the NWHL has found itself in this position.

“For example, are there sponsors that have not met their financial commitments to the league?” Knight’s statement read. “In addition, what has the league done to maximize revenues at the venues used by the league?”

Beyond the requests into the league’s financials, the players are also asking the league to provide “proof of valid insurance to ensure that the players are not risking their health by playing and practicing.”

All of this comes just one day after NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan held a conference call in which she explained the salary cuts would be made in order to keep the league “financially viable.” Estimations have the salary cuts saving the league roughly half a million dollars this season, and Rylan said the league has accepted an additional $50,000 investment from Dunkin’ Donuts, the league’s most notable corporate sponsor.

"We fell short on some projections and we had to pivot and make a business decision at the end of the day," Rylan said, according to The Associated Press’ John Wawrow. "And the decision was, if we want to exist and we want to save the season, we have to make the appropriate decisions to do so."

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