Women’s Hockey | A professional franchise is born in Montreal

Montreal will have a professional women’s hockey team in 2022-2023.

Updated July 12

Catherine Harvey Pinard

Catherine Harvey Pinard
The Press

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) announced Tuesday morning the arrival of its seventh franchise, located in Montreal. At least, in part: the team will train in the metropolis, but the matches will be played in different places in Quebec.

“It’s important to go everywhere and to grow the sport in places where women’s hockey does not normally go,” explained the president of the new franchise, Quebec host Kevin Raphaël, at a press conference on Tuesday morning. .

“Our territory is Quebec. Our players will come from everywhere, but mainly from our city and I want people to be proud of our group,” added the man who has often been involved in women’s hockey in recent years.

The new team is owned by BTM Partners, as are three other teams in the circuit (those of Boston, Toronto and New Jersey).

The name and logo will be unveiled in the coming weeks, as will the coaching staff and roster. Some players have already made their interest known, according to Raphaël, while the free agent market is open in the PHF.

“I’m not going to lie; my excess cell phone currently, launched Raphaël. Several players want to play for Montreal. »

A two-year agreement was signed with the 21.02 High Performance Center, the only recognized center for female athletes in Canada, directed by Danièle Sauvageau. It will serve as the main training center.


PHOTO PATRICK SANSFAÇON, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Daniele Sauvageau

The PHF, created in 2015, already has six teams in Boston, Toronto, Monmouth Junction (New Jersey), Saint Paul (Minnesota), Danbury (Connecticut) and Buffalo.

The quarrel

Those who follow the news in the world of women’s hockey know that there are two major entities that do not get along; the PHF – formerly the National Women’s League – and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA).

The PWHPA, which includes the best players in the world, has shunned the PHF for several years because of a business model deemed unsatisfactory.

At the request of the NHL, which says it is reluctant to invest if there are two separate leagues, the two groups met a few months ago, without success. The PWHPA is still set to start its own league next winter as the PHF continues to expand.

We could therefore end up with two Montreal professional women’s teams in 2023.

“Me, I find it fun, Raphaël hinted on this subject. It gives players more opportunities to play. If there are two teams, that means that there are 46 players who will make salaries. […] If the PWHPA wants to talk, she’s on my number.

“If there are players who write to me who are in the PWHPA, who want to talk to me, I’m not going to say no. I will answer their questions so they can make an informed decision and have the opportunity to play somewhere. »

The president also said he was sure of being able to have a star player in his line-up. “I wouldn’t do a good job if I didn’t aim for the best,” he said.

Wages

Last January, the PHF announced an investment of 25 million spread over the next three seasons. The salary cap for each team was thus increased from $300,000 to $750,000. The average annual salary of a player can be around $37,500 if the team has 20 players and $30,000 if it has 25. To this is added medical insurance and parental leave.

Not all players will earn the same salary. And the minimum wage remains unknown. Some players will have to continue to work in parallel.

“I plan to spend 100% of the salary cap,” Raphaël said. […] There is no player who will do the minimum. We believe in fairness. Of course, the best players will do more than the one who will play on the third or fourth line, but the workload, the efforts, the training, the sacrifices… These are all things to take into consideration when we discuss salaries with the players.

“It’s the first year. I think you also have to be careful, temper, give yourself a chance. […] Yes, they have a second job and they are badass to have one and still sacrifice everything to play hockey. I think we should celebrate that. Me, I want to get a player to play full time. That’s what I’m here for. »

The schedule for the 2022-2023 season is not yet known. Certain aspects remain to be clarified, such as the possibility of a possible broadcast, the assistance provided to players who will have to move and the logistics of team travel.

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