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PHF commissioner: League partnering with Athlete Ally for inclusivity training

PHF commissioner Reagan Carey discussed the league’s work with Athlete Ally. (Ker Robertson/Getty Images)

Last year, the Premier Hockey Federation underwent a rebrand, leaving behind its former identity as the National Women’s Hockey League. The name change was inspired in part by the desire to create a more inclusive environment, starting with the most front-facing aspect of the league.

Yet recent moves – particularly the Metropolitan Riveters’ hiring of Digit Murphy as the team president – have led to questioning of the league’s commitment to inclusivity across gender identities.

Murphy had been affiliated with the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, which has come under fire for its views on transgender athletes, though she cut ties with the group in May 2021 after those views came to light.

New PHF commissioner Reagan Carey acknowledged those concerns Wednesday in an interview with Just Women’s Sports. She said that league and team staff members have been undergoing training sessions in conjunction with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving sport for LGBT+ athletes.

“We’re looking forward to ramping up even more training sessions, just to ensure that we can be the most inclusive league, community and environment that we can be,” Carey told Just Women’s Sports. “That requires continued education. We’re not gonna take one class and get everything right.

“That’s the commitment you’ll see from me is that we’re just gonna continue to learn and grow and do it together.”

The PHF consulted with Athlete Ally when crafting its transgender and non-binary inclusion policies, which were announced last October.

Under the new rules, transgender women and nonbinary athletes assigned male at birth are eligible for competition if they have been living in their gender identity for at least two years. Transgender men and nonbinary athletes assigned female at birth are eligible to compete as well, but if they are taking testosterone, they must receive a therapeutic use exemption.

Since then, the league has announced a massive $25 million investment by its Board of Governors and has undergone personnel changes, including the hiring of Carey in April.

Earlier in April, the Riveters brought on Murphy as their president, which coincided with an exodus from the team’s front office, including the departure of general manager Anya Packer, who opted not to renew her contract with the team.

After joining the Riveters, Murphy apologized to the transgender community for her involvement with the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group. She first apologized in a video provided to The Hockey News before backing up the apology on Twitter.

“I am sorry I have been detrimental to the entire trans community throughout this saga,” she wrote. “It’s unacceptable and I am DEDICATED to improvement. I should have been completely forthcoming from the very start about my involvement with that group so that there would be absolutely no confusion about who I truly support. Letting things go on as long as they did led to increasing confusion and damage to the trans community.”

According to Carey, the PHF employees she has met so far have had intentions and efforts aligned with the mission of the PHF: to make the league a welcoming and inclusive community that strives to learn and grow.

“I would hope that [mistakes are] never made with any ill intent, and I don’t believe it has been,” said Carey. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to take ownership for that and we do. We’ll move forward and course-correct as we need to.”

The new commissioner wants the PHF to create space for conversations about difficult topics in order to help the league grow and move forward.

“If somebody’s close-minded and not willing to learn and grow, then we have a different situation,” she said. “So far from what I’ve seen, that isn’t the case with anything I’ve experienced within the league.

“Being able to help provide insights and have different opinions I think is going to be important. It’s healthy for us outside of sport, but certainly within sport and within the league.”

Esme Morgan Signs With Washington Spirit

Esme Morgan of England inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France
The England national will join the Spirit in DC on July 15th. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

English defender Esme Morgan has signed with the Washington Spirit, the club announced Thursday. 

Morgan had been with WSL side Manchester City since 2017, with one year remaining on her contract. She’ll now make a move to the NWSL, with City receiving a fee for the move. 

"I wanted to join the Spirit because they have the ambition and tools to be the best team in the NWSL, and trying to achieve that will be a great but enjoyable challenge," Morgan said in a club statement.

"On an individual level too, the opportunity to work under Jonatan [Giráldez], one of the world's best coaches, is really exciting and I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to become the best player I can be, hopefully helping the team to success."

According to ESPN, Morgan’s lack of playing time under City manager Gareth Taylor played a key role in her decision to leave the league championship runners-up. She’ll join the Spirit in Washington, DC on July 15th, but won’t be able to begin play until August. 

Spirit president Mark Krikorian called Morgan an "exceptional talent" and added that the club is "thrilled" to add her to the roster.

"I think she’s pretty talented," Giraldez told reporters on Friday. "A young player with a great future, but with experience already in a great league and with the national team. She’s been surrounded by great players and also great coaches, so she can give us experience."

Ledecky Goes for 4 at Olympic Swimming Trials

Swimmer katie ledecky swimming at Toyota US Open
Decorated swimmer Katie Ledecky is aiming to make her fourth-straight Olympic squad. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Swimming Trials begin this weekend, running from June 15th through June 23rd in Indianapolis, with Katie Ledecky eyeing her fourth-straight Summer Games.

While traditionally held in Omaha, Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has been fitted with a 50-meter pool to host the meet that will determine the 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

All eyes will be on seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who will be competing in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle — all events in which she’s been an Olympic champion. 

Rival Ariarne Titmus had her trials last week, breaking the world record in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s 200 is intended to qualify her for the Olympic relay. Meanwhile stateside, Katie Grimes stands to be a challenger in the 1500-meter freestyle has already qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10km open water event.

Other competitors of note include 47-year-old Gabrielle Rose, who stands to become the oldest US Swimming Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

Additionally, Kate Douglass — an NCAA and World Champion — is a favorite to make her first Olympic team in the 200-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke. Simone Manuel, an Olympic champion in the 100-meter freestyle, is also looking to make her third-straight Olympics.

Where to watch: The Trials will be streaming all week on Peacock, with later qualifying heats airing live on USA Network and event finals airing in primetime on NBC.

Orlando and Kansas City Shoot for 13 in NWSL Weekend Action

NWSL's T. Chawinga #6 of the Kansas City Current passes the ball during the first half of their game against the Utah Royals FC
The Kansas City Current hopes to extend its NWSL unbeaten streak to 13 with a win over Chicago. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

WNBA All-Star Voting Starts on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

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