Women's Hockey Union Formed To Help Vie For Better Player Treatment
Women’s hockey players have "filed paperwork to form a union with the goal of helping to establish a sustainable professional league in North America," according to Katie McInerney of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association will be "comprised of players from the U.S., Canada and Europe," and it will aim to "lobby for a league that offers training opportunities, sponsorships and health insurance" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/21). ESPN.com's Emily Kaplan noted the PWHPA includes the nearly 200 players who "announced they are not playing in a league next season until they are provided with better financial support and resources, as well as stronger health insurance." It also "includes stars" like U.S. national team LW Kendall Coyne Schofield and RW Hilary Knight; Canada G Shannon Szabados and F Marie-Philip Poulin; and Finland G Noora Raty. The hope for the PWHPA is to "make the women's hockey community less fragmented" (ESPN.com, 5/20).
WITH A LITTLE HELP: USA TODAY's A.J. Perez notes Ballard Spahr, the same law firm behind the negotiations for better pay and other resources for the U.S. women’s team two years ago, is "working pro bono on behalf of the PWHPA to help create a league that has the financial resources to pay a fair wage, provide insurance and support training programs for younger female players." Ballard Spahr Partner Dee Spagnuolo said that the formation of the PWHPA "isn’t to bargain with the NHL to fund a women’s hockey league." Spagnuolo "acknowledged that the NBA’s backing of the WNBA -- the most successful women’s league in the history of North American sports -- is a 'successful model'" (USA TODAY, 5/21).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON: In Minneapolis, Rachel Blount notes the NWHL yesterday "confirmed its intent to keep playing." The U.S.-based league "announced the first two player signings" for the '19-20 season in veteran players F Madison Packer and D Kaleigh Fratkin, and it "reiterated its plan to increase its schedule to 24 games." The signings, and the creation of the PWHPA, "highlighted the developing split in the women’s pro hockey ranks." The NWHL previously said that salaries "would rise this season." It also "unveiled a new revenue-sharing plan, which will pay players 50% of all revenue from league-level sponsorship and media deals in addition to salaries" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/21). Meanwhile, the AP's Teresa Walker noted the NWHL "stresses that not everyone is boycotting the lone remaining women’s professional league" (AP, 5/20).