What we all know in regards to the PHF shutdown, and extra in regards to the new professional ladies’s hockey league

There was a giant change in ladies’s skilled hockey Thursday night time.

In response to a number of sources briefed on the scenario, the First Hockey League will stop all operations after its buy by the Mark Walter Group and Billie Jean King Enterprises.

The precise phrases of the deal have been stored secret, however in keeping with a PHF memo despatched to the gamers on Friday, it has been obtained. the athlete“there was no monetary acquire to the homeowners of the PHF” within the sale.

The Skilled Hockey Gamers Affiliation partnered with the Mark Walter Group and BJK Enterprises in Might 2022 with the purpose of launching a brand new ladies’s skilled hockey league that would stand the take a look at of time.

The brand new league — which doesn’t but have a definitive identify — will launch in January 2024, in keeping with an official announcement of the acquisition on Friday.

This can be a watershed second for girls’s hockey. Right here’s what it’s good to know.

What does this imply for the way forward for ladies’s skilled hockey?

After years of division and turmoil in skilled ladies’s hockey, the best way is now clear for one unified league in North America for all the most effective gamers.

The PHF was based in 2015 because the Nationwide Girls’s Hockey League by former commissioner Danny Rylan Kearney. It was the primary ladies’s hockey league to pay its gamers. After its launch, there was an exodus of American gamers from the Canadian Girls’s Hockey League, and lured by a paycheck, some Canadians left as effectively. The CWHL didn’t pay its gamers till 2017. Nonetheless, that league abruptly folded in March 2019 after 12 seasons on account of monetary instability.

Two months after the CWHL folded, the highest 200 feminine hockey gamers introduced that they’d forgo participation in any North American skilled leagues till they’d entry to “the assets hockey professionals require and deserve”. The group of gamers turned formally often called the Girls’s Skilled Hockey Gamers Affiliation.

Some gamers have caught with the group and performed in exhibition occasions over the previous 4 seasons; Others joined the PHF because the league expanded and raised its wage cap.

For years, there have been requires a unified ladies’s league. However PWHPA was unwilling to work with PHF on account of considerations about its enterprise mannequin and its long-term viability.

Now that PHF has been bought, there can be one place for the most effective expertise in North America, with the appropriate assets for skilled athletes. If viewership for the Olympics is any indication, there’s an urge for food for girls’s hockey on the elite degree — the gold medal sport between Canada and the USA averaged 3.54 million viewers on NBC and a pair of.7 million on CBC and Sportsnet in the course of the 2022 Video games. For the primary time, a ladies’s skilled hockey league can replicate the type of depth seen on the Olympics, which suggests eyeballs can comply with.

From a enterprise perspective, sponsors and followers gained’t have to decide on which league they assist. Broadcast companions gained’t both.

Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten, who can be on the brand new league’s board of administrators, mentioned in an interview with the athlete Friday afternoon. “I feel there is no such thing as a doubt now, we symbolize the most effective alternative for the most effective gamers on this planet to play.

“We all know our mission, we have now the monetary assets, we have now the infrastructure, we have now the institutional assist and we have now the management.”

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PHF to cease operations; New ladies’s hockey league kicks off in January

What do we all know in regards to the new league?

In response to a press launch despatched out by PHF on Friday morning, the brand new league will begin in January 2024.

The league can be “financially” supported by Mark and Kimbra Walter and led by board members together with Billie Jean King and athletic director Ilana Kloss and Kasten, in keeping with Friday’s announcement.

the athlete It was first reported in March 2023 {that a} new skilled league, launched by Walter Group and BJK Enterprises, could be prepared for the 2023-24 season.

Members of the PWHPA’s negotiating committee have been working behind the scenes for months, negotiating the historic CBA settlement. In response to an individual on the PWHPA name, gamers will vote to ratify the CBA over the approaching days. If it passes, and the expectation is that it’ll, the puck drop can be in January 2024.

Getting the CBA sanctioned earlier than the beginning of the 2023-24 season will mark the primary ladies’s skilled league. The WNBA adopted its first CBA in 1999, two years after its inaugural season in 1997. The NWSL CBA was finalized final yr, practically 10 years into the league’s existence. In the meantime, the PHF had a set of league laws however not the CBA. In response to gamers reviewed by the CBA, objects embody: salaries within the vary of $35,000 to $80,000 or extra, housing stipends, relocation charges, medical and dental advantages, retirement plans, in addition to maternity and parental go away.

“That is what we’ve been ready for,” mentioned one PWHPA participant of the CBA.

Extra particulars, equivalent to the place the groups can be positioned, are but to return, and Kasten mentioned there can be extra particulars in regards to the league within the subsequent 30 to 60 days.

“We’re within the formative phases,” he mentioned. “However I’ll inform you, I’ve had folks engaged on names, engaged on slogans, engaged on cities, engaged on venues, engaged on schedules. We’ve got folks preparing and now we have now to go.”

In response to folks briefed on the scenario, there can be six groups with 23 gamers on the rosters. Gamers from each the PWHPA and PHF—in addition to NCAA alumni and worldwide gamers—could have the chance to hitch the brand new league. Some gamers who’ve been a part of the PWHPA since its inception won’t make a roster when the league launches. The identical goes for the fellows at PHF. There may be anticipated to be an entry draft and free company interval.

Though the CBA is voted on by present PWHPA members, there’s a path to union membership for former PHF gamers.

“Everybody who enters our league will turn out to be a member of the guild and luxuriate in all of the perks that PW gamers have spent so lengthy preventing for,” Kasten mentioned.

Will the NHL take part?

Commissioner Gary Pittman has been robust in regards to the want for uniformity in ladies’s skilled hockey. In March 2022, the PWHPA and PHF met on the Commissioner’s request to attempt to attain an settlement that might deliver the 2 events collectively. However PWHPA, as I first talked about earlier than the athlete In April, they voted unanimously to finish discussions on cooperation with PHF.

“I’ve tried on multiple event,” Bateman mentioned in January when requested about paving the best way for unity within the ladies’s sport. “Every of them appears intent on getting into their very own path and I feel for girls’s hockey to achieve success, I feel everybody has to redouble their effort collectively.”

Beforehand, Bettman mentioned NHL groups didn’t have his authorization to work with the PWHPA. However one league might open a path to official NHL participation.

Who’s Mark Walter?

Mark Walter, controlling proprietor of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has sports activities finance expertise on the highest degree and mega finance.

Walter is the CEO of funding agency Guggenheim Companions, which has greater than $300 billion in property underneath administration. Walter’s web price, through Forbes, is estimated to be round $5.3 billion.

He’s been the proprietor of the Dodgers since 2012, when his funding group purchased the crew for $2.2 billion. He’s additionally a part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and is a part of the possession group that purchased Chelsea Soccer Membership.

Kasten—a longtime baseball govt and president of the Dodgers—additionally participated within the PWHPA. Kasten is a component proprietor of the Dodgers and has a enterprise portfolio with Walter.

Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss – King’s longtime associate and CEO of BJK Enterprises – even have expertise working sports activities organizations and creating their very own distinct model.

King, a former tennis champion, is a pioneer for gender equality in sports activities and is concerned with a number of possession teams throughout skilled sports activities through Billie Jean King Enterprises, together with minority stakes in Angel Metropolis FC, Sparks, and Dodgers. She has additionally served as a guide for PWHPA for the previous few years.

What occurs to the Major Well being Care Fund?

PHF gamers have plunged into uncertainty. Their contracts can be terminated and they’ll search for a brand new crew to play subsequent season.

In response to the league memorandum distributed on Friday, which I obtained the athleteAll gamers can be launched from their contracts beginning July 10, “paving the best way for pursuing a contract with the brand new league”.

Greater than 70 gamers have signed new contracts this low season underneath a beforehand introduced $1.5 million wage cap. Some contracts had been price as much as $150,000. These offers won’t be paid in full, and as an alternative, gamers will obtain a severance bundle and a interval of ongoing well being advantages.

In response to the memorandum, gamers signed for the 2023-24 season will obtain insurance coverage advantages by September 30, 2023, and compensation from the Gamers Equality Incentive Program introduced in January 2022 which said: “All gamers will profit from 10 p.c of every crew’s credit score.”

Moreover, in keeping with the memo, there can be a PHF severance program that may pay gamers 1/12 of their contracted 2023-2024 season wage or $5,000, whichever is bigger. Visa adjustment or adjustment assist can even be made out there to gamers enjoying in the USA or Canada on visas. The memo said that the Participant Help Workplace had been established to “information all PHF gamers by this transition”.

With just one league in North America, there can be workforce constraints, which is able to put stress on gamers who might not be on the prime degree of the ladies’s sport.

In response to the PHF memo, gamers not enjoying in one other skilled league in 2023-24 can be eligible to obtain cash from the $1 million fund. The minimal payout can be $10,000 per participant, relying on the entire variety of gamers eligible for the fund.

along with, the athlete I realized that the Mark Walter Group buy included PHF’s mental property, that means the brand new league might use a few of its pre-existing franchise names and types. Nonetheless, this doesn’t essentially imply that if a crew is launched in Boston, for instance, it is going to be named “Boston Pleasure”.

Kasten confirmed that the group had bought property from the league, however not “every part,” he mentioned. He didn’t exclude any cities or locations.

(Picture of the Toronto Six enjoying Connecticut Whales within the Isobel Cup playoffs: Steve Russell/Toronto Star through Getty Photos)