Mikyla Grant-Mentis signs with Buffalo Beauts

The reported salary ushers in new era of pro women’s hockey in North America has arrived.

It’s official. Mikyla Grant-Mentis is returning to the PHF team where her pro career started — the Buffalo Beauts.

First reported by Chris Johnston, the Beauts announced today that Grant-Mentis is signing a one-year deal to leave the Toronto Six, where she won honors as the league’s MVP in the Lake Placid season.

The release did not disclose financial details. But, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet also confirmed the signing over the weekend with clarification on the compensation: $80,000 (USD), 10% of the contract is a signing bonus.

So, there’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with what MGM’s return to the Beauts could mean.

Grant-Mentis is a franchise player who can play both center and wing. She’ll be 24 when the 2022-23 PHF season begins, which means she’s just entering the prime of her playing career. In other words, she can be even better than she is right now.

In 2021-22, Grant-Mentis led the Toronto Six in goals (13), assists (17), and points (30). She was second in the PHF in scoring, second in EV goals (11), shared the league lead in power-play assists, and led the league in shots (96) despite missing a game. To put her production into context, she had more than twice as many points as Autumn MacDougall, the Beauts’ leading scorer in 2021-22.

That’s what this deal is about. General manager Nate Oliver went out and brought in a player who will make all of the players around her better. He brought in an MVP. Before the Grant-Mentis signing was official, the Beauts announced a brace of two-year deals for defenders Dominique Kremer and newcomer Jess Healey. Out of the gate, they have been the most aggressive team in free agency and it’s paying off. In the opening days of free agency, Buffalo has already added something that they were missing last year.

Now, let’s get into the reported contract. As others have already said, this is a landmark deal.

An $80,000 one-year contract represents 9.38% of the Beauts’ $750,000 salary cap — that’s a big chunk for one player but remember we are talking about an MVP here. Grant-Mentis is the elite of the elite. She’s a player you build around and invest in. If she chooses, Grant-Mentis can now focus exclusively on playing pro hockey as her main source of income — MGM had a full-time job at FedEx in 2021-22. We’ve never had a figure disclosed for a contract that represents what this represents — a real living wage to play pro hockey in North America.

The fact that the salary is more-or-less public information is also important for players who are about to sign with PHF teams and the as-of-yet unnamed PWHPA league. Everyone now knows what an elite player playing in the PHF can make. They know there’s a substantial signing bonus that represents 10% of the total contract. All of this information is huge for players. It gives them context for their own deals, especially now that we know the minimum salary in the PHF is $13,500.

Now comes all of the questions. What will the Toronto Six do to replace a seemingly irreplaceable talent? What will the Beauts do next? How many player salaries will become public information? Will anyone in the PHF make as much or more than Miklya Grant-Mentis? All of these questions hang over a pro women’s hockey offseason that is unlike any other we’ve seen before. We’re having conversations we’ve never been able to have before. The game is changing and the Grant-Mentis contract is proof of just that.