Today we welcome the PWHL as the Professional Women’s Hockey League and the six team locations are officially announced.
In today’s conference call that was used to introduce the PWHL, we would hear from Board member Stan Kasten, and Hockey Operations Senior Vice President Jayna Hefford.
Brian Burke would also be officially introduced as the Executive Director of the PWHLPA.
Per Stan Kasten, the League is officially the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL), and the website is officially thePWHL.com. Today is also officially day one for the League.
The PWHL 2023-24 season will officially begin in January 2024 with a 24 game season. The 2024-25 season to begin in November 2024 with a 32 game schedule.
On the call we would learn of the six locations for the new PWHL teams. The six teams will be located in:
New York (City area)
Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
Team names, jerseys, logos, and arenas/training facilities are still in a work in progress.
The NHL is working with the PWHL on helping schedule neutral site games in markets that won’t have teams this season. NHL is working in a consultative state currently.
The schedule for the 2023-24 season is expected to released in October 2023.
Player Selection Process
Also on the call we would learn of the Player Selection Process for the PWHL.
A list of over 300 players from around the world that has been deemed eligible for the PWHL has been compiled, and will be supplied to the General Managers. General Managers are expected to be named soon.
All players will need to declare their eligibility for the Draft by Sept. 3rd. The Draft will take place in Toronto on Sept. 18th. There will be 15 Rounds in the Draft.
Per the PWHL release for the Draft Selection Process, the order of selection for the first round will be determined by a draft lottery. The following rounds will follow the “snake format” which will see the subsequent rounds be conducted with the teams selecting in the reverse order of the previous round. No draft picks can be traded until the completion of the 2023-24 season.
Once a player is drafted, the team will hold their rights for two years. If a player goes unsigned for two years, they will become eligible to enter the draft again. However, a player can not declare for more than two drafts.
Sept. 1st Free Agency will open, and for the first ten days the General Managers will be allowed to sign three players. Any player who does not get drafted will become a free agent immediately following the draft, and can sign a Standard Player Agreement with any team.
No more than 20 Standard Player Agreements per team are permitted to be executed in advance of 2023-24 Training Camps, which will commence in November. Six players on each team will be signed to three-year SPAs of no less than $80,000 per league year. In 2023-24, up to five players on each team will be signed to two-year SPAs. A player will become a free agent following the termination or end date of a signed SPA.PWHL Press Release
Per the CBA, Training Camp is required to have 28 players attending. Training Camp is expected to begin in early November and run for about six weeks.
At this time the jury is still out for me. There was a lot of information thrown our way, but still a lot of questions to be answered. One question will be about the Transgender Policy and how inclusive it will truly be. We know Brian Burke is a full fledged ally of the LGBT+ community, so it will be interesting to see how this policy comes out.
I’m interested in seeing who the six General Managers are going to be, and what comes of Free Agency which starts this Friday. I’m also interested in seeing who all of the players were that made the list of 300 plus that were deemed eligible for the Draft. I’m genuinely interested in seeing how many players from the PHF were placed on that list.
Lastly, I’m really interested in seeing how the PWHL wins over the fans that are going to hold out over how the sale and shuttering of the PHF went down. There are a lot of fans who were loyal to the PHF, and are bitter about how the PHF is no longer around. So I’d like to see how the PWHL addresses those fans and how they plan to build a bridge to close that divide.
The PWHL has hit the ground running for it’s first official day, and there is a lot more to come in the coming days, weeks, and months, so stay tuned.
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