Only days after definitively stating the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association was remaining independent, details for the group’s new league are starting to be leaked.
Recently, the PWHPA announced they would not be proceeding in a collaborative effort with the Premier Hockey Federation. The announcement came after the PWHPA, PHF, and NHL met last month.
While nothing more was stated at the time regarding the PWHPA’s direction, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek is now reporting the PWHPA has plans to begin league play in January 2023.
Marek also reported the league, which will have a new name unique from the PWHPA, will feature a league minimum salary of $35,000 and a league-average salary of $55,000.
As the PWHPA was founded as a players association to represent the interests of athletes, when a formal league begins, a new name will provide a unique entity for the organization.
The league would feature six teams in the USA and Canada, each composed of 23 players, playing a 32-game regular season between January and April.
A sticking point in the discussions between the PWHPA and PHF has continued to be the PWHPA’s requirement of a tangible plan for sustainable and professional salaries. While the PHF announced this year that teams would now have a $750,000 salary cap, no salary floor was announced and no league minimum salary was established. This means many players in the league could still be receiving salaries incapable of supporting athletes in competing as professionals without requiring another job.
As reported by The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian, another reason the PWHPA chose not to proceed with the PHF is Chairman John Boynton’s ties to Russia. Boynton has been a primary financial backer of the PHF and multiple franchises in the league but sits as chairman of Russian technology company Yandex. Boynton’s ownership within the PHF includes the Boston Pride and Metropolitan Riveters, and until recently the Toronto Six, comprising a stake in 50% of the league’s teams. The PHF also has stated plans to expand by two teams this offseason, although no formal announcement has been made.
The PWHPA will almost certainly be rooted along the East coast, which could mean direct market competition in both American and Canadian cities by the two leagues.