A co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired what was described as “certain assets” of the Premier Hockey Federation on Thursday, clearing the way for a long-anticipated single pro women’s hockey league in North America, sources told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
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Players for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and the PHF held meetings Thursday night. The players were informed simultaneously that the Mark Walter Group, which helps operate the PWHPA, will run a new league that will launch in January 2024.
Mark Walter is the chairman and controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mark Walter Group has spent the past 14 months working with the PWHPA in a bid to launch its own league.
The PWHPA was certified as a union this spring and is in the late phases of completing negotiations to establish a collective bargaining agreement. Once ratified, the CBA would become the final step toward establishing a league.
The PHF was not unionized. There was termination language in PHF players contracts that will be enacted to essentially void their active player contracts.
The number of teams and their locations are still being determined for the new league. A PHF source said that league was told its “infrastructure will be the foundation” on which the new league will be built. The PHF had franchises in Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut, the New York/New Jersey area, Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto last season.
The PHF was founded in March 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, which at the time was the first women’s professional hockey league to pay its players. It was rebranded in September 2021.
The PWHPA was born after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League dissolved in March 2019. It became a successful national tour featuring games between American and Canadian players who played for their respective national teams at the Olympics and world championships.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski and The Associated Press contributed to this report.