The second season for the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) appears to be off to a rocky start, financially speaking.
Reported by David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period the first professional women’s hockey league to pay their players is allegedly cutting salaries to remain afloat:
As per information obtained by TFP, the NWHL informed its players on Thursday that they will be receiving a pay cut — believed to be 50% — in order to sustain the longevity of the League.
In an email sent out to athletes and league staff, [NWHL Commissioner Dani] Rylan notified everyone that players will be paid on a game-by-game basis. Players’ insurance will still be held up, and the 2016-17 schedule will still be played.
It’s believed Amanda Kessel is the NWHL’s highest paid player, earning $26,000 per season, while most players receive between $14,000 to $17,000 per year. The minimum salary is $10,000. Well, that all gets cut in half.
The season is already well underway and for most players, finding an alternative is next to impossible.
It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances, but it’s better than the League folding, upon which nobody gets a penny.
Rylan wrote in her email that if financial improvements are seen come the second-half of the season, the League will do what it can to fulfill each player’s original contract.
Somewhat auspiciously, CapPro, the salary cap tracker for the league, has been removed from the league website. It might just be a coincidence, though.
Questions surrounding the league’s finances have been a prominent point of discussion from the day the NWHL went public. As a private company, the public is not privy to the financial dealings of the league; however, some of the financial decisions were made public through alleged former employees and investors threatening lawsuits and an actual lawsuit that is still awaiting a hearing in front of a judge.
The most revealing look into the league’s financials as it pertained to paying players came in a ‘leaked’ series of emails between the NWHL and Bauer hockey. The league was late on paying for player equipment. It was later revealed the money held on to by the NWHL in order to fund the salaries of the players. Bauer was later compensated.
Puck Daddy reached out to Rylan and the NWHL for comment after the news broke late Thursday night. We will update the story with comment from the league and additional details as they become available.