NWHL Overtures Failed To Keep Players From Boycotting Season
NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan and league investors last week "held a conference call with players and unveiled a few items in an attempt to entice them to consider re-signing," but it was "too little too late," as more than 200 players later announced they would boycott the upcoming season, according to Salvian & Strang of THE ATHLETIC. Rylan on the call said that the NWHL would offer a 50% "increase to the salary cap (from $100,000 per team to $150,000), and a 50-50 revenue split for players on any league-level sponsorships and media rights deals." Minnesota Whitecaps LW Kendall Coyne Schofield said the NWHL's offer "didn’t provide the business model" or the "resources that the game needs and the players deserve" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/8). Coyne Schofield said players are “fed up with the conditions" they currently endure. She said, "We're sick of players making $2,000, not having health insurance, practicing at 10:00 at night, not having skate sharpeners, getting treated not the right way as a professional athlete. The leagues that currently stand, there's nothing professional about them." Coyne Schofield added the players' intent is "not to fold the league," but rather "build a league that's going to continue to grow" (“OTL,” ESPN, 5/8).
JUMPING SHIP: In Buffalo, Lance Lysowski notes Pegula Sports & Entertainment yesterday "relinquished control of the Buffalo Beauts and handed the franchise's operations back" to the NWHL amid "uncertainty about the future" of women's pro hockey. The league revealed it plans to "keep the Beauts in Buffalo and have their games played at the Pegula-owned Harborcenter." The Pegulas "took control of the Beauts from the NWHL" in December '17, becoming the league's "only independently owned and operated team at the time" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/9). The AP's John Wawrow noted the NWHL will now have to "resume paying" Beauts players’ salaries and team travel costs, an estimated total of $200,000 (AP, 5/8). THE ATHLETIC's Salvian & Strang noted Buffalo had been "viewed as the premier NWHL destination because of the players’ access to facilities and resources, and how they were treated by ownership, particularly Kim Pegula." The Beauts are one of the first four teams founded with the NWHL in '15, and sources said that the league "did not want to lose an original franchise." Because "no money changed hands when PSE originally took ownership," there was "no official sale required to hand ownership back" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/8).