At the beginning of the month, women’s hockey players around the world united for change. Today, they’ve united to form the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.
Here’s their press release from the PWHPA:
PHILADELPHIA (May 20, 2019) – Articles of incorporation were filed on Friday establishing the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA). The association will serve as a vehicle dedicated to promoting and supporting the creation of a single, viable women’s professional league in North America.
The formation of the PWHPA follows a decision by more than 200 of the world’s top female hockey players to sit out the upcoming professional hockey season, join their voices, and work together to build a sustainable league that will showcase their talent. The PWHPA will help players coordinate training needs and opportunities and develop support from sponsors. In addition to Olympic medalists and World Championship winners, PWHPA members include those who have not played on a national team. Members hail from the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“We are fortunate to be ambassadors of this beautiful game, and it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of players have more opportunities than we had,” said Kendall Coyne Schofield, who won an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA in 2018. “It’s time to stand together and work to create a viable league that will allow us to enjoy the benefits of our hard work.”
PWHPA members are looking for a professional league that will provide financial and infrastructure resources to players; protect and support their rights and talents; provide health insurance; and work with companies, business leaders, and sports professionals worldwide who already have voiced support for women’s hockey.
“We are prepared to stop playing for a year—which is crushing to even think about—because we know how important a sustainable league will be to the future of women’s sports,” said Canadian Shannon Szabados, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. “We know we can make this work, and we want the chance to try.”
The PWHPA is looking for a league that also will provide support to training programs for young female players, promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of play, and raise awareness of hockey as a sport that is open to all.
“We might play for different teams, and come from different countries, but we’re united in our goals,” said Noora Räty, a goaltender who won two Olympic Bronze Medals with the Finnish National Team. “This is about protecting ourselves, protecting our future, and making hockey a better place for women and girls.”
Ballard Spahr attorneys provided pro bono support to help create the PWHPA.
“We can’t know what will happen next, but we move forward united, dedicated, and hopeful for our future and the future of this game we love so much,” said Liz Knox, the former co-chair of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Players Association.
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