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PWHPA, Billie Jean King Part of Group Exploring New Women's Pro Hockey League

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association is reportedly teaming up with two formidable groups to aid in the launch of a new pro women’s hockey league in North America.
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The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association is reportedly teaming up with two formidable groups to aid in the launch of a new professional women’s hockey league in North America.

According to Hailey Salvian at The Athletic, the PWHPA will partner with Billie Jean King Enterprises and The Mark Walter Group to aid in the planning stages for the fledgling league.

Mark Walter is the owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and a primary owner of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, while Billie Jean King is one of the all-time greatest tennis players to step on the court, and is considered a crucial voice in the fight for women’s rights and gender equity in sport. Billie Jean King Enterprises, which is run by CEO Illana Kloss, owns a minority stake in teams within North America’s top professional women’s leagues, the NWSL and WNBA.

As Billie Jean King’s website states, “BJK Enterprises is a women-owned and women-led investment, consulting, and marketing firm that puts Billie Jean King’s philosophy and brand value to work, capitalizing on her long-standing advocacy for equality.”

As Salivan reports, the groups have entered into a formal agreement, signing a letter of intent with the PWHPA.

The PWHPA made news earlier this year when news broke of a proposed league, which would begin play in January 2023 featuring six teams from the United States and Canada, and a league minimum salary of $35,000.

Alongside Kloss, Salivan’s report states that former PAC 12 commissioner and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association Larry Scott will be assigned to consult and work closely with the PWHPA.

Should the league successfully launch this winter, it will create a new option for women in North America. Currently, the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) is the only professional women’s hockey league operating in Canada and the USA.

The PHF and PWHPA did meet earlier this year to discuss the potential of moving forward as a single league, but the PWHPA board voted not to continue plans in conjunction with the PHF, opting to forge their own path.

Recently the PHF has made major strides toward providing a professional infrastructure for players, including adding health benefits and introducing a $750,000 team salary cap. Players were also permitted to sign multi-year contracts this season for the first time in league history. With expanded salaries within the PHF, Mikyla-Grant Mentis became the highest-paid professional women’s hockey player in history, inking an $80,000 USD contract to play for the Buffalo Beauts.

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