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Multiple PHF stars break $50K salary mark under increased cap

(Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Several Premier Hockey Federation stars will earn at least $50,000 for the upcoming season under the newly expanded salary cap, the league announced Thursday.

The salary details were revealed as part of a new salary disclosure policy agreed upon by the PHF and the PHF Players’ Association as part of the league’s “ongoing commitment to supporting its players and providing greater transparency,” the PHF said in its news release.

Players have the option to allow the public disclosure of their salary for the 2022-23 season. A total of 71 players have signed with teams in the PHF to date, and 18 players have agreed to disclose their salaries publicly.

Of those 18 players, Buffalo Beauts defender Dominique Kremer sets the benchmark for highest salary with a $65,000 AAV on a two-year contract. Beauts defender Jess Healey, Connecticut Whale defender Allie Munroe and Minnesota Whitecaps forward Jonna Curtis also will earn at least $50,000 for the upcoming season.

“This is another important step forward in the PHF’s growth and development and reflects the collaboration we value between league leadership, our athletes, the Players’ Association, the Board of Governors and general managers,” PHF commissioner Reagan Carey said in a statement. “The PHF’s new era is driven by our commitment to provide enhanced professional opportunities for women’s hockey players that includes historic salary cap increases. We are excited to add another layer of growth and transparency to our league operations and to continue to prioritize player autonomy.

“This policy supports all athletes equally and without any pressure or influence towards those who may choose to disclose their salaries, or anybody who may feel that confidentiality is in their best interest.”

The salary cap for the 2022-23 season is a record $750,000 per team. Back in May, Mikyla Grant-Mentis signed the largest professional contract for a women’s hockey player at a record $80,000 for the upcoming season, though the salary was not confirmed by the PHF.

Under the new salary disclosure policy, players also can opt to disclose the length of their contracts, estimated annual values and signing bonuses. This marks the first year in which players can sign two-year contracts with the PHF.

“We thoroughly discussed this issue among our player reps to canvas all potential benefits and drawbacks from the player’s perspective, and are encouraged by the collaborative process with Reagan and the League that led to this outcome,” PHFPA executive director Nicole Corriero said in a statement.

“Transparency of salaries can help set industry benchmarks and assist others with their own negotiation process, however every player’s experience and circumstance is unique, and it is understood and appreciated that not everyone wants nor benefits from disclosing personal information,” Corriero continued. “We wanted to work with the League on a policy that encourages and respects both of these mutually important considerations, and we’re pleased that the result of our collaboration provides options that may benefit all.”

The players who have agreed to disclose their salaries so far include:

  • Hannah Bates (CTW) — $25,000
  • Ashleigh Brykaliuk (MIN) — $45,000
  • Amanda Conway (CTW) — $40,000, includes $4,000 signing bonus
  • Jonna Curtis (MIN) — $50,000
  • Taylor Davison (TOR) — $23,360
  • Emilie Harley (MET) — $28,000
  • Jess Healey (BUF) — $57,000 AAV, includes $6,000 signing bonus
  • Tori Howran (CTW) — $49,500 AAV
  • Carly Jackson (TOR) — $29,375
  • Dominique Kremer (BUF) — $65,000 AAV, includes $6,500 signing bonus
  • Antonia Matzka (BUF) — $22,000
  • Allie Munroe (CTW) — $52,800 AAV, includes $10,560 signing bonus
  • Madi Nichols (BUF) — $13,500
  • Liz Schepers (MIN) — $45,000
  • Emma Vlasic (CTW) — $36,000
  • Alyssa Wohlfeiler (CTW) — $42,500
  • Emma Woods (TOR) — $44,340
  • Taylor Woods (TOR) — $31,145

“As the league continues to grow and move forward, I think it’s important that we take steps to emulate other professional sports leagues to show that the PHF is here to stay,” said Kremer, who also serves as the players’ association rep for the Beauts. “One way to do that is by disclosing the monumental increases in salaries for PHF players.

“Not only does it prove to people that the PHF is striding towards making professional women’s hockey a full time career, but also gives that younger generation of girls something to work towards for their future.”

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Crypto.com Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a Change.org petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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