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NWHL announces sale of Metropolitan Riveters to BTM Partners, John Boynton

Familiar faces in BTM Partners, John Boynton headline ownership change for the Metropolitan Riveters.

Pat McCarthy

The NWHL announced this morning that the Metropolitan Riveters will be sold to BTM Partners.

“With this transfer of ownership, we’re building the strength and sustainability of our teams and also enhancing the experience and environment for our athletes which is of the utmost importance,” said NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia in the release.

John Boynton, president of Firehouse Capital and one of BTM Partners’ founding members, will serve as the chairman for the Riveters. BTM Partners also owns and operates two other franchises in the league: the Toronto Six (chaired by Johanna Boynton) and the Boston Pride (chaired by Miles Arnone).

“The Riveters have one of the most iconic brands in women’s professional hockey and I am thrilled to welcome them to the BTM family,” said Boynton in the release. “I look forward to working with [general manager Anya Packer] and our community partners to deliver a top-shelf experience to our players and a championship to our fans.”

Prior to the acquisition, the Riveters were owned by Women’s Hockey Partners (WHP), a group previously led by founder and former commissioner of the league Dani Rylan Kearney. In terms of team management, Kate Whitman Annis served as general manager of the Riveters for two years before stepping into a new role as director of WHP; Whitman Annis was replaced by Anya Packer as general manager this past April.

The Riveters, like the Six and the Pride, are on track to benefit immensely from ownership by BTM Partners. Boston became the first team in the league to win a second Isobel Cup championship this past season with BTM Partners at the helm, and the Six saw unprecedented success on the ice even if they did lose in the semifinals to a dominant Pride squad.

However, the most pressing concern that stems from this transfer of ownership is the fact that BTM Partners now owns and operates three teams in the league — the aforementioned Six and Pride, along with this new acquisition of the Riveters — which could create a conflict of interest among investors and even among players and staff. The league referenced this issue in the release, but offered no more than the following statement:

“A transitional period where ownership groups hold more than one club may occur as the league pursues its goal of a full joint venture ownership model with strong local franchises.”

The Riveters have four picks in the upcoming 2021 NWHL Draft on June 29, after trading away their first-round pick prior to the start of season six in a trade with Toronto for Kelly Babstock.