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Sabres owners give up women’s team in NWHL

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The Pegula family, which owns the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, severed its relationship with the National Women’s Hockey League.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment bought the Buffalo Beauts last season, and they were the only independently owned team in the five-member league.

The NWHL issued a statement saying it still plans to have a team in Buffalo, and that the league will operate it — just as it did for the other franchises last season.

“The NWHL is pleased to regain operating control of the 2017 Isobel Cup champions and four-time Cup Finalist Buffalo Beauts,” the statement said. “The fans of Western New York are among the most dedicated in the world, and we have had four exceptional seasons of winning hockey and large crowds in Buffalo. We will look to continue our relationship with the Harborcenter and its incredible staff, and in the Beauts’ fifth season and beyond, we will build on their tradition of success.”

The news comes on the heels of upheaval in professional women’s hockey. More than 200 players — including stars like Team USA’s Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield and Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin — said they will not play in any professional league next season.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“We cannot make a sustainable living playing in the current state of the professional game,” read a statement released by individual players on social media. “Having no health insurance and making as low as two thousand dollars a season means players can’t adequately train and prepare to play at the highest level.”2

Many players have gone on record saying they want the NHL to support a women’s league with financial and infrastructural resources, and sources told ESPN that the players hope the joint announcement could apply pressure on the NHL to act. It is notable that the Pegulas have a relationship with the NHL, as they own the Sabres.

The NWHL is the only remaining professional women’s hockey league in North America after the Canadian-based CWHL made the stunning decision to fold after the 2018-19 season.

The NHL has said it will further explore the situation regarding professional women’s hockey privately before determining any next steps.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Beauts were widely considered the gold standard for professional women’s hockey because of their relationship with the Pegulas. Beauts players received access to Sabres facilities as well as access to skills ice (which other teams do not have). Opposing players told ESPN that the Beauts had much nicer and newer gear than other teams. Buffalo players also got catered meals before games, and some Beauts players were helped with housing.

Beauts goalie Shannon Szabados — who has said she will not play in a professional league next season — was the only senior national Team Canada player in the NWHL last season. She told the ESPN on Ice podcast in March that Buffalo is “one of the best, if not probably the best-run professional woman’s hockey team in the entire world.”

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