The league formerly known as the National Women’s Hockey League made headlines on September 7 when it was announced that they would be rebranding as the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF).
With less than 50 days to the start of the regular season, let’s get you caught up on all the news that’s happened since then.
PHF announces COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
The federation announced on September 10 that full vaccination will be required for all PHF members during the 2021-22 season. Players, coaches, officials, full-time and part-time staff, and volunteers are required to be vaccinated to take part in any and all PHF related activity. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the final dose of any COVID-19 vaccine either fully approved or approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada.
Athletes were notified of the new policy in early September and had until September 10 to opt-in or out of their Season 7 contracts. Players who choose to opt-out on the basis of the policy will not be paid for their Season 7 contracts.
Additionally outlined in the protocols include weekly PCR testing requirements during the pre-season, regular season and post-season as well as at-home temperature checks before coming to practice and game facilities. When social distancing is not possible, everyone will be required to wear a mask in indoor and outdoor settings except when actively participating in on-ice activities or any other training that is considered strenuous or high-intensity.
A full copy of the 2021-22 health and safety protocols is available at nwhl.zone/covid-19.
As reported by Dan Rice, it is expected that every team, save for the Boston Pride, will have at least one opt-out going into the season. Players have been given the opportunity to apply for religious and medical exemptions with the commissioner’s office.
Cleveland Clinic to be official Medical Team of the PHF
The PHF announced a two-year relationship with the Cleveland Clinic on September 17. The partnership will extend through the 2022-23 season. The clinic will support the Federation with consultation on various initiatives and provide strategic guidance and expertise as the official medical team of the PHF.
The Cleveland Clinic will advice the PHF on return to play protocols for PHF athletes and policy developments for fans to return to arenas under the right safeguards in Season 7. They will also advise on a youth wellness program that will encourage healthy and balanced lifestyles.
The Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical centre that has an existing relationship with the PHF as the official medical provider for the Toronto Six.
“Just as we put our patients first, the PHF puts their players first. Our goals to promote health and wellness also align with the PHF’s vision to inspire the next generation of athletes,” said Dr. Marie Schaefer, staff physician with the Cleveland Clinic.
Schaefer will lead the clinical side of things and brings with her a wealth of expertise in the field of Sports Medicine, serving as the Head Team Physician and NCAA Health Care Administrator for Cleveland State University.
Players have continued to sign ahead of Season 7.
In a move that might have surprised some Minnesota Whitecaps fans, defender Amanda Boulier signed with the Boston Pride for the upcoming season.
The Riveters announced the re-signing of Tatiana Shatalova and signed international draft pick Romana Košecká.
Anne Tokarski complied a running list of the PHF preseason games against college teams that we know about so far:
- Boston Pride at Providence - 10/1
- Buffalo Beauts vs Brown - 10/10
- Connecticut Whale at Yale - 10/15
- Metropolitan Riveters at Princeton - 10/16
- Beauts vs Adrian - 10/23
Boston Pride get their rings
After winning the 2021 Isobel Cup all the way back in March, the Boston Pride can finally flaunt their hardware.