The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) logo is seen in this handout photo. Canadian coach Lisa Haley has been appointed the National Women’s Hockey League’s senior vice-president of hockey operations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, NWHL

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) logo is seen in this handout photo. Canadian coach Lisa Haley has been appointed the National Women’s Hockey League’s senior vice-president of hockey operations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, NWHL

Women’s hockey league in private ownership after 2 sales

Sale clears the way for NWHL to look toward potential expansion plans

The National Women’s Hockey League’s Buffalo Beauts and Minnesota Whitecaps were purchased by an ownership group headed by two of the league’s board of governors.

The sale to NLTT Ventures on Monday completes the NWHL’s transition in having each of its six franchises operated by independent owners.

The Beauts and Whitecaps were previously operated by W Hockey Partners, which last year took control of four league-owned franchises for the purpose of selling them to private interests. The Connecticut Whale and New Jersey-based Metropolitan Riveters were sold last month,

NLTT is headed by W Hockey Partners President Andy Scurto and Neil Leibman, one of the NWHL’s initial investors. Leibman is also part-owner of major league baseball’s Texas Rangers and serves as the team’s chief operating officer.

Scurto will oversee the Beauts, and Leibman the Whitecaps, the league announced. Former Whitecaps owner Jack Brodt will continue serving as the team’s general manager.

The NWHL allows ownership groups to operate more than one franchise for what the league calls a limited period. The Miles Arnone-led BTM Partners, which first purchased the NWHL’s Boston Pride in 2019, also owns the Riveters and Toronto Six, who were established as an expansion team last year.

The Beauts were previously owned by NHL Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula before they relinquished control two years ago. The Whitecaps were previously independently owned before joining the NWHL in 2018.

The sale clears the way for the NWHL to look toward potential expansion plans, Commissioner Tyler Tumminia said. The NWHL is already planning to establish an expansion franchise in Montreal for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The NWHL was established in 2015 and was North America’s first women’s hockey league to pay players a salary. In April, the NWHL announced it is doubling each team’s salary cap to $300,000 for its seventh season.

By The Associated Press

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