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New commissioner wants PHF to be ‘best option for players’

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New Premier Hockey Federation commissioner Reagan Carey aims to make the league an enticing destination for the sport’s top talent.

Carey’s appointment to commissioner was announced Tuesday, ushering in a new era for the embattled league. She takes over the role from Ty Tumminia, who had served as commissioner for the last two seasons.

“We intend to be the best option for players to come and play and for people to experience the best of women’s professional hockey,” Carey said during a press conference Tuesday.

Carey’s hiring comes after the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, a group comprised of national team players from the U.S. and Canada, opted not to pursue a partnership with the PHF. Instead, the PWHPA plans to launch its own six-team league in January 2023.

“The NWHL was imperfect in many ways, as most leagues starting out and most start-up businesses are. There are bumps in the road, there are imperfections and inconsistencies. But the spirit of what was trying to be accomplished — for decades people wanted women’s professional hockey players to get paid, and that just wasn’t happening,” she said. The NWHL was rebranded as the PHF in September 2021.

The shake-up atop the PHF comes as the league’s board of governors committed over $25 million in investment to the league over the next three years, starting in 2022.

A key element to the league’s growth will be expansion. Two expansion teams are expected to be announced, with Montreal occupying one of the spots and a second expansion city yet to be revealed.

“It’s a priority to get that answer to everybody really quickly,” Carey said.

Carey officially will take over the role as PHF commissioner on May 10.