NWHL rebrands to Premier Hockey Federation


The Nationwide Ladies’s Hockey League is historical past. Welcome, Premier Hockey Federation.

North America’s first ladies’s skilled hockey league to pay gamers a wage is adopting the brand new title on Tuesday as a part of a rebranding to mirror sweeping adjustments made to its administration construction, coupled with an inflow of personal possession getting into its seventh season.

“The league has come a great distance since its inception in 2015, and we consider that that is the suitable time and the suitable message as we strengthen our dedication to rising the sport and galvanizing youth,” commissioner Ty Tumminia advised The Related Press on Monday. “It actually mirrors what we’re doing. Every part about us is new as we’re heading into this new period.”

The choice to vary names additionally supplied the six-team federation a possibility to make a social assertion by eradicating gender from its title.

“We felt it is time for our gamers to be outlined by their expertise and ability,” Tumminia stated. “It is not like they’re feminine phenomenal. You are simply phenomenal.”

In billing the change “No Labels, No Limits,” the federation additionally centered on having its new title be extra inclusive by respecting the varied gender identities of its gamers and fan base.

The brand new season opens on Nov. 6. The federation’s emblem might be black and white and have three stars forming the silhouette of a crown overtop the initials “PHF.”

The rebrand follows a collection of adjustments revamped the previous yr within the federation’s bid to attain monetary stability and transfer past the investor-based, startup mannequin the NWHL first operated below because the imaginative and prescient of founder and former commissioner Dani Rylan Kearney.

Since Tumminia changed Rylan Kearney in October, the federation launched a brand new administration construction headed by a board of governors, added workers on the league workplace stage and accomplished the sale of all of its franchises to personal house owners. Initially, the league managed all of its groups and was basically run by Rylan Kearney from its New York headquarters.

The inflow of recent possession, buyers and sponsors led to the NWHL’s announcement in April that it was doubling its wage cap to $300,000 for every staff regardless of coming off a coronavirus-shortened two-week season by which its playoffs have been postponed by almost two months following a COVID-19 outbreak amongst its gamers.

The PHF has groups primarily based in Boston; Toronto; Monmouth Junction, New Jersey; St. Paul, Minnesota; Danbury, Connecticut; and Buffalo, New York. After increasing into Toronto final yr, the PHF has introduced it intends so as to add a seventh staff, in Montreal, for the beginning of the 2022-23 season.

Metropolitan Riveters captain Madison Packer considers the rebrand one other step in distancing the federation from the numerous previous hiccups.

“This disassociates us from any negativity or destructive notion that will have been there,” stated Packer, who has been with the NWHL since its inaugural season. “As these adjustments proceed to happen and we reestablish ourselves, lots of the gamers are the identical, lots of the construction seems the identical, but it surely’s totally different. It is a new improved mannequin of what we had earlier than.”

As for eradicating gender from the title, Packer stated it ranges the enjoying area.

“Respectfully, I do not know if males all the time perceive, particularly for me, as a result of I encounter it lots,” Packer stated. “We play with the same-sized puck, within the same-sized rink, the identical nets. … So to take away that label, not solely take away it however within the emblem erase the ‘W,’ I believe is empowering.”

Tumminia stated the choice to go along with the phrase “federation” represented a need to mirror the worldwide make-up of its gamers. She stated the change also needs to assist higher market the league globally, with most European and Asian sports activities ruled by federations.

Anticipating a combined response to the identify change from the fanbase, Tumminia hoped it will no less than open a dialog “about viewing skilled sports activities in a gender-neutral approach.”

“We consider, in time, they’re going to come to assist it as nicely,” Tumminia stated. “However facilitating this dialog is absolutely the important thing right here.”