Pro women hockey players form union in step toward league
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
More than 200 of the world's top women's hockey players have formed a union, saying they must "stand together" if there is to be a sustainable professional league.
The Professional Women's Hockey Association said Monday the paperwork was filed Friday to help push for the creation of a "single, viable women's professional league in North America."
The women had announced this month their pledge to sit out the upcoming season in North America after the Canadian Women's Hockey League abruptly shut down this year. That leaves only the National Women's Hockey League, which took back control of the Buffalo Beauts on May 8.
The PWHPA said in a statement the association also will help players coordinate training needs and opportunities and develop sponsor support.
"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," Kendall Coyne Schofield said in a statement. "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."
Coyne Schofield won Olympic gold with the U.S. in 2018 and was an NWHL All-Star with the Minnesota Whitecaps this past season.
The new union's members include players from Europe along with the U.S. and Canada.
"We might play for different teams, and come from different countries, but we're united in our goals," said goaltender Noora Räty, who has won two Olympic bronze medals with Finland. "This is about protecting ourselves, protecting our future, and making hockey a better place for women and girls."
The PWHPA made it clear the union wants a league that provides health insurance, money and infrastructure along with support for training programs.
"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," Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados said. "We know we can make this work, and we want the chance to try."
Liz Knox, former co-chair of the CWHL Players Association, said the players are uncertain about what happens next.
"But we move forward united, dedicated, and hopeful for our future and the future of this game we love so much," Knox said.
The NWHL stresses that not everyone is boycotting the lone remaining women's professional league.
The league announced a couple player deals, notably one featuring Madison Packer. Packer, who tied for most goals in NWHL history, %href_on(file:
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