PWHPA moves forward without NHL support in women’s hockey
The Professional Hockey Players Association is moving forward with its attempt to establish an economically viable professional league in North America with or – for now – without the full financial support of the NHL.
In response to a Sportsnet report that the NHL was unable to run a women’s league for the foreseeable future, PWHPA executive Jayna Hefford wrote in an email to The Associated Press that her group had started developing “a parallel path for a future that doesn’t rely on NHL support.” “
Without going into detail, Hefford expressed his optimism citing the many partner companies that PWHPA has attracted over its two years of existence. These partners include individual NHL teams.
“We don’t focus on those who don’t want to partner with us. We are delighted to align our passion with those who do it, ”Hefford wrote Thursday evening.
“We all knew there was a possibility that we had to make our own way, and we didn’t just wait,” she wrote. “We are excited and excited to chart our own way forward.”
NHL Assistant Commissioner Bill Daly did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The statement comes a month after the six-team US-based NHWL announced it was doubling its salary cap to $ 300,000 per team at the start of its seventh season. The Sportsnet report suggests that the NHL is willing to consider some form of participation if the PWHPA and NWHL formulate a joint plan.
Hefford said she has had discussions with the NWHL.
“The door has always been open to discuss how we move the game forward,” Hefford said. “We want what’s best for the sport and the best for the players. We are willing to work with all affected groups to find a solution for what is best for this generation and the next. “
The NWHL declined to comment except to confirm that talks have taken place with the PWHPA.
Last month, NWHL Commissioner Ty Tumminia told the AP she was willing to listen if the PWHPA came near her, and added that she did not believe the goals of the two parts of the sport’s growth were so different.
Financial support for the NHL has been on the wish list of women’s hockey for some time. But the league is scrambling to recover from the severe financial crisis it has suffered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The league’s salary cap, a key indicator of revenue, has remained unchanged this season at $ 81.5 million and is expected to remain unchanged for the next two or three seasons.
The pandemic has also hampered the progress of women’s hockey by increasing its visibility, which included players participating in the last two NHL All-Star Weekends.
The PWHPA, made up of the best female players in the world, was created two years ago following the financial demise of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
PWHPA members were reluctant to join the NWHL because they were skeptical of the private league’s business model. Instead, the PWHPA sought a fresh start by forming a new league – preferably with NHL support – with reliable salaries and benefits.
PWHPA is completing its second year of holding a series of barn stops, presented as the Dream Gap Tours, one of which is being held in St. Louis this weekend, followed by an event of a week in Calgary, AB, later this month. The NHL Blues and Flames are the event sponsors.
Players are located in five hub cities (two in the United States and three in Canada), where they have access to ice rinks and training facilities, which are funded by PWHPA partners including Secret, Budweiser and adidas.
Hefford said PWHPA fully intends to continue the Dream Gap stops next season, although members of its US and Canadian national teams will be barred from participating due to their commitments to prepare for the Winter Games. from 2022.
Hefford said she was not worried that PWHPA members would break ranks to join the NWHL due to the salary increase.
“No problem. The players have to make the decision that is best for them, ”she said.
“We are maintaining the path we took and the vision we have to create change in women’s hockey,” Hefford wrote. “Our members have been incredibly united in sharing this vision, which we all believe will leave the game in a better place.”
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