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This Is Hockey Culture, Ep. 4: PHF and PWHPA: Why can’t they get along?

Kat (and a special guest) break down the PHF and PWHPA, and the role of the NHL in determining a future for a professional women’s hockey league in North America.

Megan Bozek #9 of the Buffalo Beauts plays the puck while being defended by Hilary Knight #21 ofBoston Pride during Game 2 of the league’s inaugural championship series at the New Jersey Devils hockey House on March 12, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Pride defeated the Beauts 3-1 to win the Isobel Cup. Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NWHL

It’s Monday, which means the latest episode of This Is Hockey Culture is here! This week, myself (Kat Pitré) and a special guest are talking women’s hockey.

This week, I’m joined by a special guest co-host, Chanel Keenan, the intersectionality consultant for the Seattle Kraken, to tackle women’s professional hockey in North America. The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) season started Nov. 6, and thanks to their new deal with ESPN+, women’s pro hockey is entering a new frontier.

Chanel and I start by going over a brief overview of the landscape of women’s professional hockey, from the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and their rebrand to become the PHF, and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA).

Then, Chanel and I tackle the complicated relationship between the PHF and PWHPA, and the role of the NHL in defining that relationship. Plus, how the NHL’s further involvement is needed to establish a successful women’s hockey league in North America and what that might look like, including examples from the NBA’s partnership with the WNBA, as well as European leagues.

Towards the end of the episode, I ask Chanel a few questions; first, why the PHF and PWHPA just can’t get along, what the future of women’s hockey looks like, and why it’s so important from a cultural perspective that women’s hockey is broadcast on the same platform as the NHL and other men’s leagues.

To end the episode, we leave you with our last thoughts on the path forward for women’s hockey, what it means to us, as women who work in hockey, and a quote from (former San Jose Sharks broadcast analyst) Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Tune into this week’s episode, and stay tuned for Friday, when you can read the episode with Chanel in full transcript form.

You can listen to the episode below, or where ever you listen to podcasts!