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Source: the NWHL is getting a new name

Get ready for the Premier Hockey Federation

The NWHL logo on the ice at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY on Jan. 22, 2021. (Michelle Jay)

Per Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times, the NWHL is changing its name and will be rebranded as the Premier Hockey Federation. The news is expected to be announced tomorrow morning. The Ice Garden confirmed the renaming from its own sources as well.

The NWHL was founded in March 2015 by Dani Rylan Kearney, who also served as the league’s first commissioner. In October 2020, Tyler Tumminia replaced Rylan Kearney as the league’s commissioner and major changes have been rolled out ever since. The upcoming 2021-22 season will be the seventh in the league’s history, which means the league is closing the door on half a dozen years of brand identity, SEO tracking, and more.

Needless to say, that is a huge deal and not a decision that the league would make lightly. The league’s current home on the internet is nwhl.zone, which is just one of the major changes that will need to be made with the rebranding.

One possible explanation here is that the Premier Hockey Federation — or PHF — does not distinguish itself as a league exclusively for women. This isn’t the Premier Women’s Hockey Federation. It is simply the Premier Hockey Federation. It could be an effort by the league to get serious about inclusivity. There’s also a chance that this new league name being more inclusive could simply be a happy coincidence.

The bottom line here is that we don’t yet know why this name change is happening or what it means. There’s a reason this change is happening and there will be consequences and a cost to the decision. We’ll start to get answers to some of our questions when the league makes its official announcement.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as it continues to develop right here at The Ice Garden.