Good morning everyone, we got some exciting news for women’s hockey fresh off the hot plate this morning.
The NWHL’s founder and commissioner Dani Rylan Kearney will be stepping down from her position in light of new business ventures by the league. She will be replaced by Tyler Tumminia as the interim commissioner. The news was announced yesterday via this New York Times article but that’s not all.
The league is changing the way they operate. Instead of teams being owned by the league, they’re switching course and aiming towards creating a board of governors with representatives from the owners of all six teams. This is the way plenty of pro leagues are run and they’ve seen great success because of it. Even within their own league, the Boston Pride – who have been owned by Miles Arnone since 2019 – have had plenty of advantages (provided equipment, travel amenities, etc) over teams that are league owned, who can’t afford those luxuriates. The Toronto Six are the other team that is owned by a private company so that leaves the Buffalo Beauts (who were owned by Pegula S&E from 2017-2019), Minnesota Whitecaps, Metropolitan Riveters, and Connecticut Whales as league owned.
Having all teams owned by outside entities will improve things exponentially for this league. They’ve been in a rough place – last season, the highest salary was $15,000 a year. I mean we all read what was published earlier this year about some of the rough conditions in the NWHL, especially in the early days. They can only benefit from this venture.
The NWHL is trending upwards – with Twitch on board, plenty of new fans just learning what the league is, and 4 teams potentially getting a boost with being purchased – the only way is up. The NWHL had a record season last year when it came to views and media engagement, now they’re set up for an even better one. This is the league that is building a generation of young girls that can believe in a future after college hockey.
But what scares me is there were girls who thought that about the CWHL, which collapsed a year ago. The NWHL has to do this right. Investors have to believe in this league and I think if you show them the growth after the last season alone, they’re gonna believe in this.
Is it a risk? Yes, but it’s one worth taking for generations to come.
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Featured Image: Pat McCarthy