NWHL agrees to increase salaries, benefits, revenue sharing

Shannon Szabados. (Michelle Jay/NWHL)

The National Women’s Hockey League is increasing salaries, offering a 50-50 split of sponsor-related revenues and improved benefits in an agreement reached with its players’ association.

The union did not release any specific monetary figures in announcing the agreement Thursday. It’s a one-year deal with the five-team NWHL holding the option to renew it the following season.

The NWHL Players’ Association calls the agreement a "breakthrough" because it provides "substantial gains" for the first time since the league was founded in 2015.

After players made between $10,000 and $26,000 in the first season, their salaries were cut in half a little over a month into their second season.

As for the revenue-sharing split of money received from league sponsors, it will only kick in once the league meets its operating expenses. The NWHL is privately run and backed by investors, and has not revealed its financial picture.

The deal also provides increases to travel and meal costs over a 24-game regular season, which opens in October.

The agreement comes at a time the U.S.-based NWHL faces questions about its future after experiencing several setbacks over the past month.

More than 200 of the world’s top female players have pledged not to play professionally in North America. The boycotting players have since formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association in their bid to push for the creation of a single and economically viable professional women’s league.

Also, the private owners of the NWHL Buffalo Beauts returned control of the franchise back to the league.

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