New women’s pro hockey league is coming to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa

The Professional Women's Hockey League will kick off its inaugural season in January with teams in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and the New York City area.

The league name, team locations and player admissions process were announced on Tuesday.

Free agency begins Friday with the selection of most of the PWHL's founding players in a 15-round draft on September 18 in Toronto.

Training camps start on November 13th.

Los Angeles Dodgers majority owner Mark Walter is the league's financial backer. Longtime NHL manager Brian Burke is the league's executive director.

Walter bought out seven-man rival Premier Hockey Federation and his group negotiated a collective agreement with the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association this summer to lay the groundwork for a new women's professional league.

PWHL's board of directors includes tennis icon Billie Jean King, sports executive Ilana Kloss, Dodgers president Stan Kasten and Dodgers senior vice president of business strategy Royce Cohen.

Jayna Hefford, inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame, is the league's senior vice president of hockey operations.

Each of the six teams will play 24 regular-season games in the inaugural season of PWHL. The schedule has yet to be published.

The teams will play 32 regular-season games going forward and the season begins in November, Kasten said Tuesday.

PWHL is hiring six general managers who will be responsible for building team rosters through free agency and the draft.

Each team can sign three players on standard player contracts during the free agency period September 1-10.

Current or graduates of the NCAA or U Sports are not eligible for the free agency period.

Players must register for the draft by Sunday. Players with remaining college eligibility may enter for the draft in consultation with their campus compliance officers.

The order of selection for the first round of the draft is determined by lottery, with teams selecting in subsequent rounds in reverse order to previous rounds.

No draft picks will be traded until at least the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.

Undrafted players become free agents and can sign with a team after the draft.

Selected players who have not been drafted for two years may be re-drafted, but no player may sign for more than two drafts.

Each team is limited to 20 standard player contracts ahead of November training camp.

Six players on each team will be awarded three-year contracts of at least $80,000 per year.

Up to five players from each team can sign two-year contracts for the 2023/24 season. Upon termination or completion of her contract, a player becomes a free agent.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 29, 2023.

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