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Women’s hockey players respond to Mikyla Grant-Mentis’ record deal

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Mikyla Grant-Mentis signed a record-breaking deal Monday that makes her the highest-paid professional women’s hockey player in history.

The one-year contract with the Buffalo Beauts of the Premier Hockey Federation will see Grant-Mentis earn $80,000 for the upcoming season. The deal prompted responses from former PHF players as they reflected on the growth of the sport.

Blake Bolden, the first African-American player to compete in the PHF (then called the NWHL), called it “no small feat.”

“I remember making $8k per season with the Buffalo Beauts,” she wrote. Bolden played in the league from 2015-17 with the Boston Pride and from 2018-19 with the Beauts.

Kelley Steadman, a two-time IIHF world champion with Team USA, said she remembers making $250 per game and spending the majority of the money driving herself to games. Steadman played for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League from 2012-13 and for the Beauts from 2015-17.

“Awesome to see how much the PHF has grown,” she wrote.

Anya Packer played for the Connecticut Whale from 2015-18, served as the NWHLPA executive director from 2018-21 and spent the 2021-22 season as the general manager of the Metropolitan Riveters.

She pointed to Grant-Mentis’ contract as a sign of the league’s progress.

“Every single player got us here,” she wrote. “It’s crazy to see the progress. I remember Season 1 when I only got paid when I dressed in a game…to see players signing living wage deals, multi-year deals…it’s impactful.”

Grant-Mentis’ deal is worth $80,000 and includes a PHF-maximum 10 percent bonus, the Associated Press reported. The record contract comes after the league upped the salary cap to $750,000 per team for the upcoming season.

When the league first began in 2015, the salary cap sat at $270,000 before salaries were slashed midway through the second season. The third and fourth seasons, from 2017-19, saw the salary cap decrease to $100,000.

Player salaries sat between $5,000 and $7,000 during the 2017-18 season – which included two preseason games, two practices a week, 16 regular season games and “up to two” playoff games.

The league increased the salary cap to $150,000 for the next two seasons before doubling it to $300,000 last season.

The salary cap increased again for the upcoming season, with a salary cap floor of $562,500 also being implemented. It’s unclear if there is an individual salary minimum.