How women’s hockey has grown since the PWHPA launched

The PWHPA and PHF have separate visions of growing women's hockey, but 4 years after the CWHL folded, both sides are experiencing great progress

Team Canada and Team USA lineup for a faceoff at the 2023 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship. Cole Hayes/Toronto Observer
Team Canada and Team USA lineup for a faceoff at the 2023 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship. (Cole Hayes/Toronto Observer) 

Women’s hockey has seen lots of growth since the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) formed in 2019. Between player salaries, corporate sponsorships and overall engagement in the product, the sport seems to be trending upward.

There’s currently one pro hockey league in North America, the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), which was founded in 2015. The PWHPA is a players’ union formed in 2019 that is fighting for a sustainable professional women’s hockey league in North America.

The two sides have a complicated history, especially in the early days of the PWHPA. It formed because many CWHL players didn’t see the PHF, which was then known as the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), as a viable option. In their early days, there was tension between the two sides but that tension seems to have dissipated.

Meet one former women’s hockey player working to improve the sport:

Over the years, the two sides have explored different paths. In a previous interview with the Toronto Observer, PHF commissioner Reagan Carey said that one of the first organizations that she reached out to after taking the role was the PWHPA. 

The groups have different visions and are growing women’s hockey and creating opportunities in different ways. That said, both sides have both taken strides in growing the sport. The PWHPA continues to fight for their goal of a sustainable women’s hockey league in North America, and they’re on their way to achieving that.

Meanwhile, the PHF is expanding their salary cap to $1.5 million per team starting next season and has expanded its teams north of the border, adding teams in Toronto and Montreal in recent years. 

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Posted: Apr 21 2023 12:29 pm
Filed under: Hockey Sports