Just days after Daryl Watts was signed by the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)’s Toronto Six, was it made public that the 23 year old NCAA star made history with a new salary league-record of $150,000 USD for the 2023-24 season.
Back in December of 2022, the PHF announced that their salary cap would be doubling next season to a record breaking $1.5 million per team. Now after just days of being signed with a two year contract and only having played two game’s with the Toronto Six, Watts has secured the title of highest-paid player in the league.
Previously, Daryl played NCAA Division 1 hockey for the Boston College Eagles and the Wisconsin Badgers. During her time with the Eagles, Watts was awarded with the 21st Patty Kazmaier Award, making her the first ever freshman player to win the award. The 23 year old star recently finished her career at Wisconsin, ranking second all-time in NCAA scoring with 297 points in 172 games. The PHF rookie also represented Canada twice at the U18 world’s, collecting a pair of silver medals.
Although Watts had interests in the Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whales and the Boston Pride, the Toronto Six ultimately won over her heart.
“Born and raised in Toronto, I had a special place in my heart for the Toronto Six,” she said. “I played high school hockey in Toronto. My family and my friends are here. Great downtown life and I’m a huge Leafs fan. Right now, I’m living in my childhood house, so life is pretty good,” said Watts in a statement with the Washington Post.
In Watts first two games with the Toronto Six, the rookie has one assist.
The average salary this season is $34,000 on a 22-player roster, but pay ranges anywhere from $13,500 to the $80,000. Currently, Buffalo Beauts forward Mikyla-Grant Mentis is the highest-paid player in the PHF and in North American professional women’s hockey history, making $80,000 this season.
Watts’ contract raises the financial bar to a new level, converting to $200,000 in Canadian dollars next season, a milestone for professional women’s hockey. For Watts however, it wasn’t about smashing records, it was about smashing the glass ceiling and opening doors for future generations of women in professional hockey.
“Women’s hockey has been struggling for so long. I think a number like this will provide the women’s hockey community great relief and a great sense of hope that the future is bright, said Watts in a statement.
This represents a great step forward for women’s hockey. When I was young, I think I would have been excited to know that pro women’s hockey players can make a significant amount of money now. It’s a good day for women’s sports and women’s hockey.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Featured image by: Lori Bolliger/ The Canadian Press