NWHL holds door open in bid to thaw relationship with PWHPA

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FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, goalie Shannon Szabados (1), of Canada, stares at the flying puck during the second period of the women's gold medal hockey game against the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. Tyler Tumminia is leaving the door open should members of the Professional Womens Hockey Players Association ever want to reach out to the National Womens Hockey League in a bid to thaw whats been a chilly relationship. PWHPA member and former Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados was skeptical. Until I see a league in North America that I would want my daughter to play in, my stance with the PWHPA remains united to create a better opportunity for future generations, Szabados wrote in a text. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Tyler Tumminia is leaving the door open should members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association ever want to reach out to the National Women’s Hockey League in a bid to thaw what has been a chilly relationship.

The NWHL’s first-year commissioner said she is willing to listen, and doesn’t believe the two sides’ objectives in growing the sport are all that different

“I don’t think the door’s ever been closed here,” Tumminia told The Associated Press this week in announcing the NWHL’s decision to double its salary cap to $300,000 for each of its six teams entering its seventh season.

“I’m always going to think about the future, and salary cap increases and ownership coming in and infusing cash dollars that were needed in order to show growth and progress,” she added. “It’s all along the same lines the PWHPA is looking for as well.”

The PWHPA was formed two years ago in a large part because a majority of North America’s top players balked at joining the U.S.-based NWHL following the demise of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Skeptical of the NWHL’s economic model, especially after the league slashed salaries nearly in half a month into its second season in 2016, the PWHPA members instead sought a fresh start. Their objective was to form a new league — preferably with the NHL’s backing — and featuring a sustainable economic model in which players would be fairly compensated in wages and benefits.

Whether the NWHL’s boost in pay is enough to begin a conversation is uncertain.

PWHPA executive Jayna Hefford favorably greeted the development.