The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) has taken a major step towards creating a new women’s professional hockey league, signing a letter of intent with Billie Jean King Enterprises and the Mark Walter Group.
News of the agreement was reported on Tuesday night by the Athletic and Associated Press. The PWHPA confirmed the partnership to On Her Turf on Wednesday.
According to the Athletic, the PWPHA has also been working closely with Deloitte and Scotiabank to create a business plan to pitch to potential investors.
Without naming names, PWHPA board member Kendall Coyne Schofield outlined this process on a recent episode of Julie Foudy’s “Laughter Permitted” podcast.
“We have collectively brought in enough money to be able to hire consultants to build a league that has our voice at the table through it all,” Coyne Schofield said. “We are now able to go out and pitch and say, ‘This is what we believe in. This is what we believe is professional. Do you want to be a part of this?'”
First reported by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek in April, the PWHPA is planning to launch a six-team league with a season that runs from January through April. The minimum salary will be $35,000 with an average salary of $55,000.
“To see how far we’ve come in three years, it’s empowering,” PWHPA advisor Liz Knox told On Her Turf for a story about the history of women’s hockey leagues. “We’re finally at a point where we’re almost able to be like: This is why it mattered then. This is why it was hard, because it has never been done.”
Billie Jean King, who founded both the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and Women’s Sports Foundation, has been an advisor to the PWHPA in recent years and also advised the U.S. women’s national hockey team during their boycott ahead of the 2017 World Championships.
King’s company, BJK Enterprises, is a women-run investment, consulting and marketing firm that holds stakes in several pro sports franchises including the Dodgers and WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Mark Walter is the CEO of the global financial firm Guggenheim Partners, which holds more than $310 billion in assets. He has owned the Dodgers since 2012, when Guggenheim purchased the team for $2.2 billion. He also has stakes in the Sparks and the Los Angeles Lakers and is part of an ownership group seeking to buy Premier League soccer club Chelsea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.