TORONTO — The Toronto Six women's hockey team has been sold to a group of investors led by former NHL player Anthony Stewart, coach Ted Nolan and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James.
The Six are in their second season in the Premier Hockey Federation, which was the National Women's Hockey League for six years before rebranding last year.
Ownership will transfer from U.S.-based BTM Partners to the Canadian group with a full list of investors to be announced at the closing of the deal, the PHF said Monday in a statement.
The Six are the only Canadian club in the six-team league alongside the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps.
The PHF announced in January it will expand to eight teams and more than double its salary cap next season to US$750,000 per club.
“Local ownership who believe in our vision to grow women’s hockey and are committed to supporting these phenomenal professional athletes represents another significant step forward in the overall growth and sustainability of the PHF,” said BTM Partners' Johanna Boynton, who was the founding chair and principal owner of the Six.
“We are beyond excited for the PHF family to evolve by welcoming diverse leaders who will be difference makers and take the organization to the next level by enhancing the experience for our athletes, community partners, and passionate fans.”
Toronto's Stewart, 37, is an on-air analyst for Sportsnet and played six NHL seasons. He chairs Hockey Equality, which works to create diversity and inclusion at all levels of the sport.
“Together with my partners, we know how much representation matters and how important role models are for young hockey players," Stewart said in the statement.
"It brings me great joy to be part of something special and help strengthen a platform that will make the game better for the next generation and grow the game in the community that I love."
Toronto's James was the only Black player to captain the national women's hockey team, won gold in four world championships, and became the first Canadian woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
The 57-year-old is an assistant coach of the Six this season.
Nolan of the Garden River First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., played three NHL seasons and coached for seven.
The 63-year-old won the NHL's coaching award, the Jack Adams Trophy, with the Buffalo Sabres in 1997.
"New and diverse ownership groups are part of the evolution of the PHF that will see substantial growth in years to come," the PHF said Monday.
The league's board of governors committed to investing $25 million over the next three years to directly enhance player experience as well as health-care benefits, facility upgrades, new equipment and increased ice time in 2022-23.
The Six topped the standings in a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season before losing to eventual Isobel Cup champion Boston in the semifinals.
Toronto, led by last year's MVP Mikyla Grand-Mentis, currently ranks first in the PHF with a 13-2-1 record and are 8-0 at home this season.
The 2022 Isobel Cup playoffs are scheduled for March 25-28 in Tampa Bay, Fla.
No players on this year's Canadian and United States Olympic women's hockey teams play for a PHF club.
They're with the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA).
They'll play each other in a "Rivalry Rematch" on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2022.