Women’s Pro Hockey league merger raising concerns for players

Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - On June 30, two Women’s professional hockey leagues agreed to a merger deal.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ (PWHP) Association and the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) reached an agreement to join as a “super league” in North America.

There are perks to the merger, but there have also been concerns that directly impact former University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey players.

In the last two months, four UMD alums have signed professional contracts with the PHF league.

Emma Soderberg, Maggie Flaherty, Anneke Linser, and Naomi Rogge are the four whose current contracts are expected to be eliminated.

While the league is still working on the final details, those athletes are the most recent to sign contracts are expected to receive severance packages.

That isn’t the only concern, however, the two leagues previously combined for 13 teams, but the new league is looking to consolidate to only six.

One of the former Bulldogs Naomi Rogge recently signed a two-year deal with the Metropolitan Riveters but has moved on and says regardless of the changes, it’s slowly beginning to make sense.

“It obviously sucks the way it happened, but it’s necessary in the sense to have the one league where all of the best players are in it, and it’s a part of women’s sports. Sometimes people make sacrifices for the greater good, and I think it’s just our time. We’re a part of that group now that is in the growth, versus the young kid who is watching it happen,” said Rogge before comparing the set-up of the new league to the NHL.

“Essentially if you look at men’s hockey, that’s what the NHL is right? Then they have leagues underneath that continue to make the growth, and we have to have that one super league before we can keep adding to the resume that is women’s hockey.”

As many questions on the league are still up in the air, Rogge informed Northern News Now she is not satisfied waiting around and signed a contract with an international team on Monday.

This is a developing story. Stay with Northern News Now for further updates.

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