NWHL Adopts New Independent Ownership Model

    • The league’s new governance structure is similar to that of most professional leagues in the U.S.
    • Dani Rylan Kearney stepped down, veteran sports exec Tyler Tumminia serving as interim commissioner.

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The National Women’s Hockey League is restructuring to a new governance model similar to that of essentially every major sports league in the United States, it announced on Oct. 13. 

Previously, the league was owned by a group of investors that also owned four of its six teams, while the Boston Pride and Toronto Six had independent ownership groups. Effective immediately, the NWHL — which launched in 2015 — will become an unincorporated association with a board of governors that has a representative from each club.

The move is intended to ensure “alignment of interests between the League and its teams,” the NWHL said in an announcement. 

“For everyone who cares deeply about the NWHL and women’s hockey – especially our incredible athletes and impassioned fans – this is a landmark day signaling the start of a new era of growth,” said John Boynton, a member of the NWHL Board of Governors. “It begins with governance and a new structure and will result in major steps forward for the League on the ice, in our arenas, and as a business.” 

NWHL commissioner and founder Dani Rylan Kearney is stepping down from her position, but will continue her work in the sport as president of the original league ownership group. She will oversee the process of establishing independent owners for the four teams currently operated by the league — the Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps. 

Tyler Tumminia, who previously was chairman of the Toronto Six, has been appointed interim commissioner. Prior to her role with Toronto, Tumminia oversaw the operations of five minor league baseball teams as senior vice president of The Goldklang Group. 

“This is a time of opportunity and transformation for the NWHL, and the changes we are making across the league will fortify a foundation for continued success well into the future,” Tumminia said. “I look forward to collaborating with our partners in the NWHL and our expanding community of fans to create a special place that honors the rich talents of women’s hockey.”