Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) teams are in full prep mode for the upcoming season, which begins in early November. Teams have begun training camp and, in some cases, preseason/exhibition action; rosters are mostly filled, the schedule has been announced, and all that's left is... the actual hockey!
Here's what you may have missed over the past few weeks in PHF news:
- For the first time in its history, the PHF has publicly released its bylaws. You can read them in full here.
- In late August, Brianna Decker was named Team and Player Development Advisor for the league.
New Home Rinks & More
- The Connecticut Whale are moving yet again this season & will make their home for most of the season at the International Skating Center in Simsbury. Their new rink is 65 miles from Danbury Arena, where they played last season. In a puzzling move, the Whale will play their home-opening weekend against the Beauts at Milford Ice Arena – and those pair of games will not be streamed. To be frank: this is unacceptable. If a rink doesn't have the infrastructure to host a broadcast for a professional hockey game, you either put in the time, money and effort to make it work, or you don't play there.
- The Minnesota Whitecaps will skate at Richfield Ice Arena this season, a departure from their previous home at TRIA Rink in St. Paul. The rink in Richfield is about 15 minutes' drive from TRIA.
- The Metropolitan Riveters will make their home at the rink at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The team signed a three-year deal to play at the mall and is paying two to three times more to play there than they did at the Barnabas Health Hockey House.
- While the Buffalo Beauts will continue to make Northtown Center their home, they'll return to RiverWorks for another outdoor Buffalo Believes Classic, hosting the Six on Friday, December 16.
Since my last notebook, the Montreal Force's moniker, logos & colors were officially unveiled. The team will play its home games in the inaugural season at rinks across Quebec, including Montreal's Aréna Raymond-Bourque, Rimouski's Colisée Financière Sun Life, Saint-Jérôme's Aréna régional de la Rivière-du-Nord and Rivière-du-Loup's Centre Premier Tech.
The Force will be coached by Peter Smith, with associate coach Pierre Alain and assistant coach Katia Clement-Heydra.
On the Toronto Six Sale
Earlier this week, the Toronto Six officially named Sami Jo Small the new team president, succeeding Digit Murphy. Given Small's status as a hockey legend, as well as her previous involvement with the PHF in last year's All-Star Showcase, the hiring makes sense. Murphy now holds the same position with the Riveters.
The tidbit of information that was buried in the PHF's press release about the Small hiring took up only a paragraph, but it's important. In March, the league boasted – and received much public praise – that the Six were being sold to a group of BIPOC and Canadian investors. Sportico even reported that the sale was for between $3 million and $5 million. After months of radio silence about the sale, the league put this paragraph in the Small release:
Leadership from Small supports Toronto’s ownership group which includes the first BIPOC and Canadian investors in PHF history. The group holds minority ownership of the Six with BTM Partners LLC. Between the announcement of the sale in March and closing this month, BTM and the new owners agreed that BTM would retain majority control and continue to operate the team during this exciting period of growth and investment. BTM has named Bryant McBride its governor and representative on the PHF Board.
In addition to introducing Canadian, and BIPOC, ownership into the PHF, the sale was intended to divest ownership from BTM Partners. Instead, BTM Partners maintains majority ownership and control of the Six, along with their three other teams: Montreal, Metropolitan, and Boston. Some things never change.
(As an aside, this also means that while Digit Murphy has shifted from president of the Six to president of the Riveters, she still has a foothold in Toronto. Murphy is a Senior Vice President with BTM Partners.)
Here are the team rosters as announced, as of writing. There are a handful of player signings that haven't been officially announced, including Loren Gabel & Olivia Zafuto, both of whom played with the Pride in their September 25 preseason game.
Players in italics are returning to their team from last season.
Boston Pride: Lauren Kelly, Kali Flanagan, Jenna Rheault, Kaleigh Fratkin, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Taylor Wenczkowski, Sammy Davis, Christina Putigna, Kayla Friesen, Lovisa Selanger, Meghara McManus, Katie Burt, Allie Thunstrom
Buffalo Beauts: Samantha Fieseler, Maddie Truax, Dominique Kremer, Allison Attea, Jessica Healey, Whitney Dove, Autumn MacDougall, Madi Nichols, Emma Nuutinen, Cassidy MacPherson, Antonia Matzka, Anjelica Diffendal, Claudia Kepler, Courtney Maud, Jenna Suokko, Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Michaela Boyle, Summer-Rae Dobson, Grace Klienbach, Kassidy Sauve, Lovisa Berndtsson
Connecticut Whale: Caitrin Lonergan, Emma Keenan, Justine Reyes, Katerina Mrazova, Lenka Serdar, Meeri Raisanen, Tori Howran, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Allie Munroe, Emma Vlasic, Taylor Girard, Hannah Bates, Kennedy Marchment, Janine Weber, Janka Hlinka, Melissa Samoskevich, Abbie Ives, Amanda Conway
Metropolitan Riveters: Anna Kilponen, Ebba Berglund, Emilie Harley, Minttu Tuominen, Sarah Forster, Taylor Marchin, Amanda Pelkey, Catherine Crawley, Kaycie Anderson, Kelly Babstock, Kendall Cornine, Kennedy Ganser, Leah Marino, Madison Packer, Reka Dabasi, Sarah Bujold, Eveliina Makinen, Rachel McQuigge
Minnesota Whitecaps: Meaghan Pezon, Stephanie Anderson, Anna Klein, Ronja Mogren, Brittyn Fleming, Natalie Snodgrass, Liz Schepers, Amanda Leveille, Olivia Knowles, Denisa Krizova, Patti Marshall, Jonna Curtis, Ashleigh Brykaliuk, Sydney Baldwin, Sydney Brodt, Sidney Morin
Montreal Force: Brigitte Laganiere, Catherine Daoust, Christine Deaudelin, Kaity Howarth, Alexandra Labelle, Alyssa Holmes, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Brooke Stacey, Catherine Dubois, Jade Downie-Landry, Kim Deschenes, Kristina Shanahan, Samantha Isbell, Sarah Lefort, Marie-Soleil Deschenes, Tricia Deguire
Toronto Six: Alexis Woloschuk, Brittany Howard, Carly Jackson, Courtney Gardiner, Dominika Laskova, Kati Tabin, Leah Lum, Lexi Templeman, Nadine Edney, Tereza Vanisova, Taylor Woods, Breanne Wilson-Bennett, Brooke Boquist, Taylor Davison, Emma Greco, Shiann Darkangelo, Elaine Chuli, Lindsay Eastwood, Emma Woods, Saroya Tinker, Michela Cava