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AP Source: Pegula relinquishes control of NWHL Buffalo team

By The News · 11 of May 2019 08:37:30
AP Photo,, No available, FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, goalie Shannon Szabados (1), of Canada, stares at the flying puck during the second period of the women's gold medal hockey game against the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. More than 200 of the top female hockey players in the world have decided they will not play professionally in North America next season, hoping their stand leads to a single economically sustainable league. The announcement Thursday, May 2, 2019, comes after the Canadian Women's Hockey League abruptly shut down as of Wednesday, leaving the five-team, U.S.-based National Women's Hockey League as the only pro league in North America. The group of players, led by American stars Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield and Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados, hopes their move eventually pushes the NHL to start its own women's hockey league as the NBA did with the WNBA. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press the owner of the Buffalo Beauts has given up control of the National Women’s Hockey League franchise.

The move could further jeopardize the league’s future as it struggles to keep its five franchises afloat without the support of the world’s top players. The person spoke to The AP on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced.

The person said Beauts owner Kim Pegula informed NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan of her decision during a conference call Tuesday. The discussion was considered Rylan’s final opportunity to change the owner’s mind.

The person said the NWHL will re-assume control of the franchise, but will have to renegotiate facility fees if the league intends for the Beauts to continue playing at the Pegula-owned HarborCenter.

Last week, more than 200 players announced they would not play in North America this year without what they say needs to be a single, economically viable professional league for women. The group included a number of Beauts players, including U.S. national team defenseman Emily Pfalzer and Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados.

The NWHL has said it plans to hold a fifth season this fall but has now lost one of its most influential private backers.

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