Hockey

Women's hockey talks between rivals break down

PWHPA executive board voted unanimously to end discussions with PHF
April 15, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.
United States hockey player Haley Skarupa, front, demonstrates a drill during a hockey clinic presented by the Washington Capitals and the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, Friday, March 4, 2022, in Arlington, Va. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has decided to break off talks with the rival Premier Hockey Federation, the latest blow in a widening rift between two factions that contend they want to grow the sport in North America.
United States hockey player Haley Skarupa, front, demonstrates a drill during a hockey clinic presented by the Washington Capitals and the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, Friday, March 4, 2022, in Arlington, Va. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has decided to break off talks with the rival Premier Hockey Federation, the latest blow in a widening rift between two factions that contend they want to grow the sport in North America. (Nick Wass/AP Photo)

By Stephen Whyno and John Wawrow, AP Hockey Writers

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has decided to break off talks with the rival Premier Hockey Federation, the latest blow in a widening rift between two factions that contend they want to grow the sport in North America.

The PWHPA executive board voted unanimously to end discussions with the PHF about collaborating, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity late Monday because the decision had not been announced.

Despite the NHL pushing for negotiations between the two sides, it has become clear over the past three years that the PWHPA and PHF, previously known as the National Women's Hockey League, are not in sync in their objectives. Since the demise of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in spring 2019, the top national team players from the U.S. and Canada have refused to play in the NWHL and instead formed the PWHPA.

Representatives from the PWHPA and PHF met last month, with the NHL hoping discussions would thaw relations between the sides and help them work together to unify the sport. The latest development, which was first reported by The Athletic, is essentially the end of those longshot hopes.

In a statement sent to The AP on Tuesday, Johanna Boynton, a member of the PHF board of governors, said the six-team league “remains the only true home of professional women’s hockey in North America.”

“Our belief has always been that the potential for professional women’s hockey is stronger by working together towards a single league," she said. “We are committed to growing the sport through collaboration and inclusion with partners of every size. We are proud of the progress we’ve made. The last 18 months have unequivocally been the most significant in our seven-year history.”

The PWHPA's objective has been to establish a new league with what it calls a sustainable economic model, preferably backed by the NHL.

While the NHL, as an entity, has urged the sides to resolve their differences, the PWHPA has individual NHL team support in listing 11 franchises as partners. Talks between the PWHPA and its NHL partners and corporate sponsors have intensified over the past several weeks in a bid to establish a league within the next year.

The PHF, which rebranded itself from the NWHL last summer, is moving forward with plans to add two expansion teams, including one in Montreal, and is committed to providing players health care and more than doubling its salary cap per team to $750,000 next season.

Have a news tip? Email newstips@cascadiadaily.com or Call/Text 360-922-3092

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter

Get our top stories delivered to your inbox each week

* indicates required

Latest Stories


GOVERNMENT
Whatcom PUD Commissioner Murphy withdraws from race
Two newcomers left on this fall's PUD ballot

TRANSPORTATION
Historic Plover Ferry to reopen on May 27
Ferry reopening after two seasons of closure due to COVID-19 restrictions

COMMUNITY
Beer Prom returns to support Lydia Place
Local breweries collaborate on new brews for charity

GARDENING
Outback Farm celebrates 50-year anniversary
Campus farm place for experimentation, learning

RACING
WWU Racing shows off new all-electric Formula SAE car
Viking 63 will begin competition in June