Premier Hockey Federation Takes a Major Step Towards Equity in Women’s Hockey



Equity in sports is a major issue, whether it is exposure or salary; there are major differences between men's organizations and women’s organizations. Yes, an argument can be made that men's sports have better coverage, higher ratings, and sponsorship opportunities than women’s sports, but this should not mean that women be paid significantly less than men. Just this year the United States Soccer Federation, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association announced that they had agreed to first-of-their-kind collective bargaining agreements creating pay equity in soccer. This was a historic win for women's soccer and a small step in the direction of equal pay in sports. Now the Premier Hockey Federation is taking a major step toward equity in women’s hockey with the league's new salary disclosure policy.

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), formerly known as the National Women’s Hockey League is the only professional women’s hockey league in North America. The league is also the first women's professional hockey league to pay its players. The PHF does not have an official union, but all players are under employment contracts with their teams, there is also a player’s association (PA). The league was established in 2015 with four league-owned teams and has since grown to a mixture of seven league-owned and independently owned teams: the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Toronto Six, and a team in Montreal that has not been named. [1] Currently, the league is rebranding and restructuring, having reorganized the ownership and governance models with the hopes of expanding more women’s hockey teams in North America and Canada.

Recently the PHF and PA announced a salary disclosure policy. Previously, PHF contracts contained a clause stating that players could not disclose their salary or benefits to anyone. It was unclear what would happen if a player did disclose their salary. [2] The new disclosure policy will give players the option to have their salaries disclosed publicly by their team and the league once they’ve agreed to standard player contracts. [3] However, disclosing the salary is a mutual decision between the team and the player. Once both parties agree, a player’s contract information may be shared by the player, team, and the PHF. This could be a possible red flag because the general manager seems to hold the power of disclosing the salary.

The main goal of this new policy is equity. Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner said, “The PHF’s new era is driven by our commitment to provide enhanced professional opportunities for women’s hockey players, including historic salary cap increases. We are excited to add another layer of growth and transparency to our League operations and to continue to prioritize player autonomy. This policy supports all athletes equally and without any pressure or influence towards those who may choose to disclose their salaries or anybody who may feel that confidentiality is in their best interest.”[4] As of July, 18 players have agreed to contracts and consented to their salaries being released. [5]

Overall, the disclosure policy is a step in the right direction for equity in sports. Hopefully, more conversations will be had about salary discrepancies between men and women in sports.


Jessica Shaw is a recent graduate from New York Law School. She can be reached on Twitter @JessicaShaw22.

[1] Press, Associated. “Premier Hockey Federation Adds Women's Professional Hockey Team in Montreal, Expanding League to Seven Franchises.” ESPN, July 12, 2022, https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/34230451/premier-hockey-federation-adds-women-professional-hockey-team-montreal-expanding-league-seven-franchises.

[2] Shappel, Sophia. “New Policy for PHF Player Salary Disclosure.” Inside The Rink, July 22, 2022, https://insidetherink.com/phf-salary-disclosure/.

[3] Lewis, Cam. “Premier Hockey Federation Announces Details for Salary Disclosure Policy.” Yardbarker, July 21,2022https://www.yardbarker.com/nhl/articles/premier_hockey_federation_announces_details_for_salary_disclosure_policy/s1_16958_37699864.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.