Ready to Hit the Ice: New Women’s Pro Hockey League Set to Begin Training Camps with Established Rosters and Staff

The title of general manager doesn’t completely capture the many tasks on Danielle Marmer’s to-do list in the two months since taking over the Professional Women’s Hockey League franchise in Boston.

“It’s funny you should mention that,” Marmer said with a laugh. “I just came from the carpentry shop where I was looking at what our locker stalls are going to be like, and making decisions on where we want the hooks to be, how many shelves — things I’m not an expert in.”

“Like it’s pretty cool to say that I have my fingerprints on not only building the team itself, but the building of the locker room, the offices, the players’ lounge,” Marmer said.

Though the teams have yet to be officially named and the schedule yet to be released, piece by piece the PWHL is coming together. Next up is Wednesday, when players report for the start of training camp in each market — Boston, New York, Minnesota, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa — and teams taking the ice for the first time the next day.

“The excitement is through the roof,” said Hilary Knight, the U.S. national team star who will be playing for Boston.

“We’ve been flying around for years saying we’re pros, but really semi-pro if you take things into consideration,” she added. “Everyone’s excited we’ll have a consistent place to play, have a building you can call home and fans can rally around the home team.”

The PWHL became a reality in June when Walter eliminated the competition by buying out the seven-team Premier Hockey Federation, which was established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League.

Though PWHL salaries are lower — ranging from $35,000 to $80,000, not including bonuses — than what the PHF was preparing to offer with a $1.5 million salary cap for each team before it shuttered, the new league provides what players deem to be more of a professional setting.

Perhaps, most important for the players was having a collective bargaining agreement in place that runs through 2031.

“The GMs are in place. Coaches have been hired. The draft has been held, and there has been a constant flow of announcements of player signings in recent weeks.”

“Exactly, if I may say. The boring. But it’s a huge necessity,” Daoust said, before noting how refreshing it was to meet with his staff on a recent Zoom call to discuss how to approach the opening of training camp. “The feeling to finally start to talk about hockey, it was like if I were finally on top of that mountain, breathing the best fresh air ever.”

“I can only imagine how great it’s going to be when we’re on the ice, watching the best there is skating around and officially representing the PWHL in New York,” Daoust added. “To me, I’m waiting for that moment, for sure.”

AP Sports Writer John Marshall in Tempe, Arizona, contributed.

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