Hockey's top women unite in call for a professional female league in North America

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      Many of the world’s best female hockey players have together announced their intentions to establish a “single, viable women’s professional league in North America”.

      According to the Associated Press, more than 200 members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) said today (May 20) that they have formed a union to work toward that goal.

      The group had previously announced they would sit out the upcoming season in protest of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League collapsing earlier this year.

      “We are prepared to stop playing for a year, which is crushing to even think about, because we know how important a sustainable league will be to the future of women’s sports,” Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados told AP. “We know we can make this work, and we want the chance to try.”

      The National Women's Hockey League remains in operation but only has five teams, all of which reside in American cities.

      Now the union that the women have formed—which includes players from across Canada and the United States as well as Europe—has said it wants a league for North American women that pays a decent wage, provides health care, and supports players with infrastructure and training.

      “We might play for different teams, and come from different countries, but we’re united in our goals,” Finish goaltender Noora Räty told AP. “This is about protecting ourselves, protecting our future, and making hockey a better place for women and girls.”