The Premier Hockey Federation is more than doubling each team’s salary cap to $750,000 and adding two expansion franchises next season in a bid to capitalize on the wave of attention women’s hockey has traditionally enjoyed after the Olympics of winter.
The PHF’s announcement on Tuesday of its board of governors’ commitment to invest more than $25 million over the next three years is also seen as a major step in the attempt to unfreeze its relationship with football players. national team of the United States and Canada, who hesitated to join North The only professional women’s hockey league in the United States.
“It’s an incredible investment from the ownership, and it really reaffirms the strength of their commitment to making a difference in women’s hockey,” PHF commissioner Ty Tumminia told The Associated Press.
“It’s important for us to move forward into our next season and be crystal clear about where we’re headed, and what the framework will be so that all athletes can make an informed decision about their careers,” added Tumminia, noting the timing of the announcement comes two weeks before the opening of the Winter Games in Beijing.
The six-team PHF is moving forward with plans to establish a team in Montreal and, without disclosing where, add another expansion franchise in the United States.
Raising the cap to $300,000 this season will result in an average salary of $37,500 based on a league-minimum roster of 20 players or $30,000 for a league-maximum roster of 25 players. No cap will be placed on a player’s salary as long as the team’s overall payroll remains below the cap.
The influx of money will also allow the PHF to provide comprehensive healthcare benefits to its players, improve facilities and increase the number of practices. Players will also earn 10% equity in their respective team and have control over their likeness for marketing opportunities.
“It’s time to double down,” said PHF Chairman John Boynton. “We believe this is a giant leap forward in enabling the best female hockey players to earn a living playing the sport they love.”
The league has already doubled his salary cap of $150,000 a year ago, while adding an expansion team in Toronto.
PHF has made many sponsorship and broadcast breakthroughs over the past year, including broadcasting games on ESPN-Plus in the US and TSN in Canada.
Tumminia noted that the league was able to generate these deals on the basis that it was an Olympic year.
“It’s a pivotal time in women’s hockey. There’s no denying the impact of the Olympics on interest in women’s football and how the landscape may change after Beijing,” she said.
The PHF currently has teams based in Boston, Toronto, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, St. Paul, Minnesota, Danbury, Connecticut and Buffalo, New York.
The accelerated approach follows two years in which PHF overhauled its business and ownership model, and has undergone a rebrand changing its name from the National Women’s Hockey League last summer.
PHF teams are now privately held, although some ownership groups control more than one franchise.
After being founded as a four-team start-up in 2015 by Dani Rylan Kearny, the league previously controlled all of its franchises and relied on outside investors to fill the revenue gap from ticket and merchandise sales for pay salary, travel and administration. costs.
The instability of the business model led the NWHL to cut player salaries by more than half in its second season. The move sparked mistrust among players, some of whom fled to play for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which folded in May 2019.
The demise of the CWHL led the best players in the world to form the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association in a united attempt to establish a single North American professional league – ideally backed by the NHL – with a long-term sustainable business model.
The PWHPA has spent the past two years organizing a series of weekend events called the “Dream Gap Tour” across North America.
Tumminia believes PHF’s latest investment and inclusion of health care benefits meets the vision of PWHPA.
“We can’t speak for them, but our position has always been that a single professional women’s hockey league in North America provides the best opportunities for growth and sustainability of the game,” she said. “This investment supports everything we all want to see, and it improves opportunities for athletes and takes the sport to the next level.”
Boynton said PHF’s growth is sustainable given available resources, and hinted there is more to come.
“I think we’re moving as fast as we can, and it’s never fast enough,” Boynton said. “Our top priority is to raise compensation as quickly as possible. So are we going to do it quickly? Yes. Are we done raising it? No.”
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