The NWHL, North America’s only remaining women’s professional league, has decided to rebrand. It will now be known as the Premier Hockey Federation, a decision explained by commissioner Tyler Tumminia today:
The Premier Hockey Federation is home to some of the best professional athletes in the world who deserve to be recognized for their abilities and to be empowered as equals in sport. This league has come a long way since its inception in 2015 and we believe that this is the right time and the right message as we strengthen our commitment to growing the game and inspiring youth.
The rebrand comes with a new logo and a new focus on the skill and talent of the PHF athletes, rather than their gender. It comes as the league prepares for another season which will begin in November and after a strong 2021 campaign that saw massive sponsorship improvements and a huge salary cap increase. The league has also experienced expansion recently and has hinted at further movement across North America in that regard.
The IIHF Women’s World Championship, which was recently held in Calgary and included players from the PHF, experienced a huge amount of television success in Canada. The gold medal game, played between Canada and the U.S., attracted a record average audience of 836,000 viewers and was peaking at 1.6 million when Marie-Philip Poulin scored the overtime winner.
Poulin of course is part of the PWHPA, a traveling showcase group that has been at odds with the PHF in the past but provides an alternative for professionals in North America. One of the biggest issues in women’s hockey the last several years has been the division of many of the game’s top talents, with many working against the PHF and toward a drastically different league structure. That battle will continue even through this rebrand, though the PHF certainly isn’t going anywhere just yet.