New women’s professional hockey league gives look at US and Canadian markets – NBC Boston

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New women’s professional hockey league gives look at US and Canadian markets – NBC Boston

The newly formed Professional Women’s Hockey League provided a sneak peek of where its six franchises will be based Monday night, a day before the news was scheduled to be officially announced.

According to the newly launched PWHL account on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the teams will be based in the tri-state area of ​​New York, Minnesota, Boston, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Each market had an account with the prefix @PWHL. The sites just happened to be the only six accounts @theofficialpwhl currently follows.

All six markets were among eight potential sites provided to The Associated Press by three people involved in the discussions — with the other two sites mentioned as Washington, D.C., and London, Ontario. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because those conversations were private and no announcement was made.

The PWHL is scheduled to officially announce its inaugural six franchises during a video conference call on Tuesday. Among the priorities in determining the venues were markets that offered arenas large enough to host matches, as well as dedicated training facilities for each team.

The PWHL, which will feature a collection of the world’s best players, plans to begin play in January and is backed by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter and retired women’s tennis star Billie Jean King. The group moved quickly to build a league from scratch, a process that was boosted in late June when Walter bought the rival Major League Hockey Federation to clear the way for a North American professional women’s hockey league.

During that time, the new league completed second interviews with a group of general manager finalists that included former U.S. women’s national team captain Natalie Darvitz and former Swiss national team goalkeeper Florence Schelling, one of the people said.

The new league will also announce it will hold a player draft next month, followed by a free agency signing period. Also discussed was the possibility that each team would have an opportunity before the draft to sign at least one — and possibly more — player with exclusive rights, two of the people said.

Two of the people told the AP that the league’s schedule is expected to run well into June, with the season overlapping the women’s World Cup in April.

There is still a lot of work to be done before training camps are scheduled to open by December, with coaching staffs to be hired and the league to identify broadcast partners.

In another development, a fourth person confirmed to the AP that former NHL executive Brian Burke has been hired to become the first executive director of the PWHL Players Association. Burke, who most recently served as president of the Pittsburgh Penguins until April, has a long history of involvement in women’s hockey since 2013, when he served on the board of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League. The Hockey News first reported Burke’s hiring.

Burke has a law degree from Harvard and takes over for Jayna Hefford, who was previously the union’s general counsel. Hefford had to step down from her union duties because she is now part of the new league’s executive team.

The PWHL was four years in the making and started with the formation of the PWHPA following the dissolution of the CWHL in 2019. The PWHPA, made up of the majority of members of the US and Canadian national teams, objected to joining the rival PHF, which at the time was known as the National women’s hockey league.

The NWHL began as a four-team league and launched in 2015 as the first women’s hockey league in North America to pay players a salary. The PHF grew to seven franchises, with each team preparing to open next season with a $1.5 million salary cap.

PHF teams were based in Boston, Toronto, and Montreal, along with East Rutherford, New Jersey; Hartford, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; and Richfield, Minnesota.

Instead, the PWHPA chose to pursue its vision of a controlling stake in a league with what it believed to be a more sustainable economic model and fair wages for players. The framework of this vision came together in May 2022 when PWHPA formed a partnership with Walter and King.

The PWHPA in July unanimously ratified a collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2031 and includes a salary range of $35,000 to $80,000 for players on active rosters. The squads are expected to include 23 players.

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