The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association is resuming its Dream Gap barnstorming tour for a fourth consecutive year, while still developing plans to launch a professional league.
The PWHPA on Thursday announced its fall schedule will open on Oct. 14 and feature a five-weekend series plus a special event, with details – including locations – to be announced later this month. The stops will feature four teams of 25-player rosters drawn from the PWHPA’s membership of 43 Olympians, 75 players with national-level experience and newcomers who have just completed their college careers.
In the meantime, the PWHPA said it continues working toward establishing its own professional league, without providing any further details by citing a non-disclosure agreement in place with its corporate partners and sponsors.
The PWHPA in May reached an agreement with tennis great Billie Jean King and Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter to work on establishing what would become North America’s second women’s pro hockey league.
Tentative plans have the new league featuring six teams, with players paid an average salary of $55,000, and starting as early as January.
The PWHPA would compete with the Premier Hockey Federation, which is entering its eighth season, and expanding to seven teams with the addition of Montreal.
The PWHPA was established in 2019 after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded, and its members have balked at playing for the PHF, which was formerly called the National Women’s Hockey League.
As in the past, PWHPA players will be based in Boston, Minnesota, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, Alberta, where they will have access to training and practice facilities.
What’s different this year is how the four teams’ rosters are selected. Rather than representing their respective hubs, players will be ranked and distributed evenly among the four teams to even the level of competition.
“We continuously look for ways to increase opportunities for our players to compete as we move torwards our ultimate goal of a professional league,” PWHPA chief Jayna Hefford said in a released statement. “We also want to continue to provide an exciting product for hockey fans to enjoy, and we’re confident this will be our biggest, most competitive season to date.”