The union for U.S. women hockey players reportedly ended their standoff with the National Women’s Hockey League Thursday, with a “breakthrough” agreement guaranteeing higher salaries, improved benefits and for the first time in women’s hockey, a 50-50 split of revenues related to game sponsors.
But according to the Associated Press, the deal is for one year only. The five-team NWHL has the option to renew the contract in 2020, but it is under no obligation to do so.
The players association, which announced the agreement Thursday, did not release any specific monetary figures.
However, the head of the union, out and retired Connecticut Whale player Anya Battaglino, tweeted that players would see a 50% increase in their salary, 60% increase in the minimum wage, a 25% increase to per diem pay and 33% more games.
The @NWHLPA and @NWHL now have 50% increase in Salary, 60% increase to minimum wage, 25% increase to Per Diem, 33% more games… and THE FIRST EVER 50/50 revenue split in #WomensHockey!! Growing this business in LOCKSTEP together. #Proud https://t.co/FQuF4FEBQY
— Anya Battaglino (@battaglinoa) May 23, 2019
The AP reported that in its first season, NWHL paid players somewhere between $10,000 and $26,000, but then cut those salaries in half the second year. In the two years since, Deadspin reported the players were hitting the ice for the measly sum of $2,000 for the entire season. And with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League shutting down, the players had to choose between being underpaid or not playing at all.
The new contract provides “substantial gains,” according to the NWHL Players’ Association, for the first time since the league was founded in 2015. The profit-sharing provision will reportedly hinges on the league meeting its operating expenses for the 2019-2020 season.
But under the deal, players will see increases in their travel and meal funds once the 24-game regular season begins in October.
The new contract comes a month after a promised boycott by more than 200 of the world’s top female players, which gained support from both the NHL and NFL players unions. Those players are now part of what’s called the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, which aims to create a new women’s league.
The AP also reported the private owners of the NWHL Buffalo Beauts returned control of the franchise back to the league, which is privately-run and does not release its financial records.