In October, ahead of season six, the NWHL announced a change in governance structure — a move that included Dani Rylan Kearney stepping down from her role as commissioner and naming Tyler “Ty” Tumminia, at the time the chairperson of the brand new Toronto Six, the commissioner on an “interim” basis.
This morning, however, the league made Tumminia’s appointment official and dropped the “interim” title, officially announcing her as the NWHL’s second commissioner.
“The work that Ty has done in the 10 months she served as Interim Commissioner is nothing short of incredible,” Tobin Kelly of Shared Hockey Enterprises (SHE) who owns the Connecticut Whale told The Ice Garden in an email. “She arrived at a time of great change as the League was reformed to look toward a new future for women’s hockey.
“In the middle of that change, Ty has steadied the League, rebuilt the League office from the ground up with a brand new staff, delivered our first major network TV deal and several major regional and national sponsors,” Kelly continued. “Her tireless work is one of the reasons why I felt comfortable entering the League with a new ownership group. The removal of her Interim title is recognition of the job she has already been doing since her first day in the League with great success.”
From a business standpoint, Tumminia’s first nine months on the job have been very successful. She oversaw the league’s abbreviated season in Lake Placid, the 2021 NWHL Draft, an increase in the salary cap, and the sale of the remainder of W Hockey Partners-managed teams to independent owners.
On the other hand, there have definitely been some situations when many questioned Tumminia’s methods — from the abrupt collapse of the league’s season in Lake Placid as a result of COVID-19 exposure to Tumminia’s hands-off approach (or lack thereof) to Toronto Six president Digit Murphy’s involvement with a transphobic organization.
The Tyme is now ⏰— NWHL (@NWHL) August 4, 2021
The NWHL is pleased to announce that Tyler 'Ty' Tumminia has been officially named Commissioner of the league, removing the Interim label pic.twitter.com/VEE4rbWqZU
The announcement was accompanied by messages of support by players from four of the NWHL’s six franchises: Toronto’s Taylor Woods, Buffalo’s Taylor Accursi, Connecticut’s Taylor Girard, and Boston’s Taylor Wenczkowski. All but Wenczkowski have signed contracts for season seven.
What Tumminia’s main priorities will be for the upcoming season and beyond remain to be seen, but she’s proven to fans, players, and investors alike that she’s more than capable of running one of the youngest professional sports leagues — even with the “interim” tag. Now that she’s officially the commissioner, it’s likely we can expect some big moves from Tumminia and her front office staff.