|Founded||May 20, 2019|
|Key people||Jayna Hefford, Operations Consultant|
Ilana Kloss Advisory Consultant
Steve Conforti, Marketing Consultant
|Office location||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to advocating for the promotion of professional women's ice hockey. It was founded in May 2019 following the dissolution of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, which only paid stipends, and player's dissatisfaction in the operations of the National Women's Hockey League. Their goal is to create a sustainable professional league for women's ice hockey in North America.
Historically, women's ice hockey leagues have been strictly amateur, providing no pay or other incentives. Participation grew and women's competitions were eventually added by the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1990 and the Olympics in 1998. Several semi-professional leagues then appeared in Canada and the United States, including the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) in 2007. The CWHL called itself a professional level league, but the league only paid for travel, ice rental and uniform costs, plus some equipment, and did not pay players. From 2011 to 2015, the CWHL was the only organized women's senior ice hockey league in North America.
In 2015, the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) was launched in the United States and was the first women's ice hockey league to pay its players, although it was still not considered a livable wage. In 2017, the CWHL followed suit and began paying its players a stipend.
Following the 2018–19 season, the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) ceased operations citing the fragmentation of corporate sponsors between the CWHL and NWHL, lack of viewership, and reduced revenue from a partnership in China caused their league to be financially infeasible. On May 2, 2019, over 200 players from both the CWHL and NWHL released a joint statement announcing their intent to not participate in any North American professional league for the 2019–20 season citing their dissatisfaction in the operations of both leagues in that neither provided health insurance or a livable salary. The NWHL responded with that they were pursuing many more sponsors then in previous years and hoped to increase player salaries. and agreed to give players a 50 percent split of revenue on league sponsorship and media deals. On May 20, 2019, the players formed a non-profit called the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) to further push for their stated goals of a league that provides financial and infrastructure resources to players, health insurance, and support to training programs for young female players. With a large amount of North American players boycotting the NWHL, more than half of the signed players on opening rosters for the 2019–20 NWHL season were new to the league.
In December 2019, the ECHL partnered with the PWHPA and chose four members to participate in the January 2020 ECHL All-Star Game with Dani Cameranesi, Kali Flanagan, Gigi Marvin, and Annie Pankowski each assigned to one of the four teams. The 2020 NHL All-Star Game also expanded its inclusion of female skaters from previous seasons to a full three-on-three exhibition game between teams composed of American and Canadian women's players. Eighteen of the 20 players were active PWHPA members and the event was supported by the PWHPA, but it was not directly in partnership with the association.
List of PWHPA seasons
Through the services of attorneys from Ballard Spahr, LLP, who provided pro bono support to help create the PWHPA, nine players make up a group of player representatives that are part of the board membership: Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Alyssa Gagliardi, Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Sarah Nurse, Noora Räty, Kimberly Sass, Kendall Coyne Schofield, and Shannon Szabados. Seven individuals serve in consulting capacities, making up the support team, while five attorneys from Ballard Spahr comprise the legal team: Conrad Bower, Kimberly Magrini, Dee Spagnuolo, John Langel and Chris Cognato.
- Hayden, Zoë (2019-05-29). Women's Hockey: What's a Union? (plus, a note on our coverage) (en).
- Cleary, Martin (2007-09-30). Dreaming of a league of her own. Retrieved on 2014-07-18.
- Longman, Jeré. "Crashing the Boards and Cracking the Books", The New York Times, 2013-11-18. Retrieved on 2013-11-17.
- Peters, Chris. "NWHL, first paid women's pro hockey league, drops puck on first season", CBS Sports, 2015-10-11. (en)
- Brady, Rachel (2017-09-01). Canadian Women's Hockey League will begin paying its players. The Globe and Mail.
- Final Public Communication (2019-07-02).
- McKenzie, Bob (2019-05-02). More than 200 players call for overhaul of women's pro hockey. The Sports Network.
- A Statement to the Players, Fans and Supporters of the NWHL and Women's Hockey (2019-05-02).
- Jay, Michelle (2019-05-20). Professional Women's Hockey Player Association established, issues statement.
- Jay, Michelle (2019-10-04). 2019-20 NWHL Preview: Storylines to watch.
- PWHPA Members of U.S. Women's Ice Hockey Team to Participate in Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic (2019-12-13).
- NHL Public Relations (2020-01-15). 2020 NHL All-Star Skills highlighted by two new events: Elite Women's 3-on-3, Shooting Stars to debut.
- PWHPA Members Invited to NHL All-Star Skills (2020-01-16).
- Rosters for Elite Women's 3-on-3 presented by adidas (en-US) (2020-01-15).
- Jordan Juron joins Boston Pride from PWHPA (January 10, 2019).