Since the National Women’s Hockey League launched in 2015, our mission has been clear: provide opportunities for this generation and inspire bigger dreams for the next. In brief time, we have established brands, built a business, provided a platform for hockey players to compete and develop, and helped ignite a larger discussion about professional women’s hockey in North America.
The NWHL is coming off consecutive seasons of substantial growth and the board has authorized an increase in the salary cap for each team by 50 percent. As always, all players are insured in the event of injuries sustained at league practices and games. Starting this season, the players also receive a 50 percent split of revenue from all league-level sponsorship and media deals. This formula aligns the NWHL’s success with the NWHL players, and the league office and the NWHLPA are working together to procure more sponsorships to drive revenue and players’ salaries.
The NWHL is here, and open for business. The players are the game, and they deserve to see the benefits of their efforts to advance their sport. We remain available at all times for discussions with all players about achieving our common goals.
We will never apologize for seeing the value in women’s hockey and its athletes. For transparency on NWHL business metrics from last season, please see this report we published in March. It is a statement on the extraordinary fans of women’s hockey, so we thank them.
We are proud to be leaders in this movement and we have never stood in the way of progress. Our efforts have always been to fuel it, and we have made significant strides. We will never obstruct and we have always been available to collaborate in the interest of building our sport. This will never change. We fight for progress. We strive to evolve. We’ll always do what's best for the game.
If any individuals or groups come forward and declare they are ready to start and invest in a new league where women can receive a substantial full-time salary and medical insurance, we would be ecstatic to have a conversation about a partnership or passing the torch. We have participated in meetings with stakeholders in hockey and inquired, and to the best of our knowledge, no one is putting this forward at this time.
If any individuals or groups come forward and declare they are ready to start and invest in a new league where women can receive a substantial full-time salary and medical insurance, we would be ecstatic to have a conversation about a partnership or passing the torch.
The 2019-20 NWHL season will launch in October with our five current teams returning to their markets and playing before their dedicated fans: the Pride, Riveters, Beauts, Whale, and Whitecaps. Whether there will be more teams this season remains an open-ended question for a few more weeks. We are exploring all options to build our league.
As we said in April, we secured the investment required to add at least two teams. However, to expand properly, as we did in Minnesota, time, cooperation and preparation is required. We would love to have more teams in 2019-20 and will make it happen if there is a spirit of partnership from all sides. Unless there is a change of heart soon, we will revisit expansion for the 2020-21 season.
The NWHL will keep working for the players to make improvements, advance the game, increase pay, and add exposure. We'll align with businesses and leaders who believe this opportunity should continue to exist today, tomorrow, this season, and beyond.
As we collectively attempt to navigate through this crucial time for women’s hockey, let’s all consider what we’re saying about our sport and the people in it. While we respect every player’s wish to consider all options, it does not advance women’s sports to tear each other down.
This is a moment when players, leadership, investors, and anyone who genuinely wants to advance women’s hockey should be working together. In the end, we are all for the game. There is no reason for the NWHL to quit on women’s hockey, and we are not going to.
Dani Rylan, Founder and Commissioner
Hayley Moore, Deputy Commissioner
Lee Heffernan, Board Member, Investor
Neil Leibman, Board Member, Investor
Joel Leonoff, Investor
Scott McCormack, Board Member, Investor