Amid stalemate with PHF, PWHPA investigated feasibility of creating its own league

Team Bauer Rebecca Leslie, right, celebrates his goal with teammates Alexandra Labelle, left, and goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens during third period PWHPA Dream Tour hockey action against Team Sonnet in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 24, 2021 (Jeff McIntosh/CP).

Tyler Tumminia, the commissioner of the Premier Hockey Federation, is calling for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association to unite to form a singular North American professional women’s hockey league.

“The PHF, formerly the NWHL, now the Premier Hockey Federation, launched their seventh season tonight and some strong comments from commissioner Tyler Tumminia that have raised many eyebrows in the women’s game,” Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek said during the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “Essentially, they’re saying the time to come together, the PWHPA and the PHF, is very much now.

“So I reached out to Jayna Hefford, who’s the operations consultant for the PWHPA, and she responded, ‘We have no comment at this time.’ I spoke to Tyler Tumminia, and she said, ‘Look, we’ve had many meetings, many conversations, Jayna and I, but it doesn’t seem, even though we have the same goals, we can’t seem to get any traction, we can’t seem to get any action.’

“So it seems like right now it is a stalemate. The PWHPA has investigated with a consultant if it would be feasible to put together their own league. We all know there’s a pressure point coming – and that is right after the Olympics.”

In the meantime, the six teams that make up the PHF, which include Canada’s Toronto Six, will compete for the chance to lift the Isobel Cup at the season’s end. The PWHPA has announced a Secret Dream Gap Tour showcase which is taking place in Truro, Nova Scotia, on Nov. 12-14. There will also be All-Star games where the top players from the PWHPA will compete against the Canadian National Women’s team on Dec. 9 and 11 in Calgary in preparation for the Olympic Games.

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