The league has asked the rival Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) and Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) to sit down and talk about creating a sustainable professional women’s hockey league. While some individual teams support the PWHPA and its barnstorming Secret Dream Gap Tour, this is the most concrete sign that the league — which is emerging from its own financial concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — is prepared to provide material and financial support to a women’s league. In the past, the NHL has indicated it would not get involved if there were two warring leagues.
The PHF is the only professional — it’s more on the level of semi-professional — league in North America. It has six franchises with plans to expand to Montreal and another city for the 2022-23 season. It announced a raise in the salary cap from US$300,000 to US$750,000 — that doesn’t go very far when divided among 26 players — and will offer full health-care benefits.