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PHF to Discontinue Draft; Brings in New Free Agency Format

The Premier Hockey Federation has decided to scrap its entry draft this off-season, instead opting for unrestricted free agency for all players, current and incoming.
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The Premier Hockey Federation has decided to scrap its entry draft this off-season, instead opting for unrestricted free agency for all players, current and incoming.

While PHF teams retain exclusive rights to re-sign players rostered to their team last season until April 30, all players in the league will become unrestricted free agents on May 1, in a path the league said aims to “prioritize an athlete’s freedom of choice.”

Without a PHF Draft, all graduating NCAA and USports players who have used all of their collegiate eligibility will also become unrestricted free agents, able to sign with any franchise as of May 1.

“PHF free agency provides elite athletes the best opportunity to continue their careers by developing and competing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey in North America,” said Lisa Haley, PHF Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations in a league news release.

“This particular class of graduating collegiate level players is extremely robust and we’re excited to begin a process that offers them the same autonomy as veteran players to explore all available options on their own terms. The inbound player interest in the PHF so far this offseason is very encouraging and will enable us to continue raising the caliber of play across all of our teams when the puck drops this fall.”

While the PHF had previously announced a new, increased salary cap of $750,000 for the upcoming season, the league has now announced a salary floor for teams of 75% of the cap, or $562,500.

For the first time in league history, PHF players will also be able to sign two-year contracts. According to new PHF players association executive director Nicole Corriero, this means that the league will see record contracts being signed.

“This season there will be PHF players who are going to sign multi-year agreements and some contracts are going to exceed six figures,” Carriero said in the PHF release. “This is an exciting step forward for professional women’s hockey and these deserving athletes.”

The league also announced details of new dental and health benefits for players.

One item not addressed in the release with only 10 days until roster-building opens was plans for the promised two expansion teams for next season. The PHF recently finished their seventh season in operation with the Boston Pride winning the Isobel Cup. 

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