The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has voted to move forward with its plans for a league without the Premier Hockey Federation, The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian reported Monday.
The vote was unanimous, and any discussions about a possible collaboration have ended, according to Salvian.
Concerns over funding and a “lack of a convincing business proposal” ultimately drove the decision, The Athletic reported. The PWHPA informed the PHF of the decision Monday. The NHL – which has long said it will not get involved in women’s hockey while competing leagues exist – has also been informed of the decision.
Another issue that led to the decision was the PHF’s involvement with John Boynton. Boynton is the chairman of the PHF board of governors as well as an owner of the Boston Pride and Metropolitan Riveters.
Boynton also is a chairman for Russian technology company Yandex, which has come under scrutiny following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yandex has been tied to the ongoing suppression of information and spreading of propaganda in relation to the war.
The NHL first partnered with the company in 2019 but has suspended its relationship with Yandex and all other Russian business partners. The PWHPA is concerned not only about the PHF’s Yandex affiliation but also that it could jeopardize possible sponsorships necessary to build a league.
Concerns over the direction of the PHF also informed the PWHPA’s decision to move forward separately.
While the PWHPA is reportedly closing in on major funding for a new women’s hockey league, the PHF announced in January a commitment of over $25 million from its Board of Governors. Included is a salary-cap increase to $750,000 next season. However, according to The Athletic, questions have been raised as to whether or not that money will actually be spent with no reported salary-cap floor.
Additionally, commissioner Ty Tumminia left her role after the conclusion of the most recent season, and the PHF Players’ Association parted ways with executive director Alex Sinatra after just three weeks.