The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, July 7, 2023
A player's hockey skate is pictured next two four hockey pucks on the ice. (Photo Credit: Dan Rice/The Ice Garden)
Welcome back to another edition of Hockey Friday. Dan Rice from The Ice Garden will be your pilot today — navigating you through a week’s worth of news, notable events, signings, rumors and more! Don’t worry, it was a quiet week and nothing happened…
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Last Thursday around 8 p.m. ET the players of the PHF (and the PWHPA) were summoned to a virtual town hall call and informed that the PHF no longer exists. Some of the league’s assets were bought by the Mark Walter Group and Billie Jean King Enterprises.
The goal is to create one league where all of the best players will be under one roof. But initial reports suggest that there will be only six teams, one less than the PHF had last season (seven), while there were four in the PWHPA. That means a lot of players will be looking to play overseas now, or, effectively had their careers end after that 10 minute call. Every PHF player that had signed a contract for the upcoming season — over 120 — had their deals voided. As did the coaching and support staffs. Perhaps this could have been handled better is quite likely the understatement of the century.
Below you will find a bunch of links to the journalists who have had their fingers on the pulse of women’s hockey over the past 10 years and their excellent work as they sort through the ruins of what just happened.
But before we get to that, here is something from former NWHL/PHF player Rebecca Morse that she relayed to me recently about the entire situation. Morse played for the Riveters and Whale for five seasons (2017-2022) and last season was her first not playing competitively in quite some time.
“Props to Buckey [Mikyla Grant-Mentis] for having the courage to: 1. openly share her experience learning of the PHF news and 2. candidly share her thoughts regarding the future of women’s hockey.”
“I sense the authenticity, vulnerability, positivity, excitement, apprehension, optimism, confusion, pain and empathy in her words. They resonate with me as a former pro player who retired prematurely and watched others around me do the same about a year ago. Unfortunately, it sounds like significantly more PHF players are in this position now or will be very soon. I feel for them and for the league we helped build and grow together that no longer exists as we know it.”
“But the league itself wasn’t what was special; it was the people who comprised it that made it so special — everyone from teammates, to staff, to opponents, to fans, to the media and more. The experiences we had together and the memories we share — the good, the bad and everything in between — will exist forever. As we close one chapter in pro women’s hockey, remember that through our commitment to the PHF/NWHL, we have all elevated the sport, increased its visibility and positively impacted others in the process. This work was and will always be incredibly meaningful.”
Former NWHL/PHF player Rebecca Morse
(a guide to some of the best links in women’s hockey from the past seven days)
NHL rookie and development camps are in full swing and more and more women are being brought in as guest coaches. Anne Tokarski did all of the hard work for us and put together a list of them all — including former PHF players — Sydney Baldwin with the Nashville Predators, Shelly Picard with the Buffalo Sabres and Allie LaCombe with the Vancouver Canucks. Full list here.