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PHF officially expands to Montreal for the 2022-23 season

The league’s long-rumoured seventh team comes to Montreal.

The Premier Hockey Federation officially confirmed its expansion to Montreal as the city will be the league’s seventh team for the 2022-23 season.

The rumours started swirling in 2020, but became more concrete in January of this year when the league formally announced expansion of two teams. At that time, expansion was announced by the league, but details were limited and it has been silent since. Finally, the league will only expand to Montreal.

That changed on Tuesday when the league formally confirmed expansion, and the team’s leadership group. Kevin Raphaël, a TVA Sports commentator, has long been a supporter of women’s hockey in the city and will be the team’s president. Emmanuel Anderson, Raphaël’s business partner, will be the team’s vice president.

“Professional women’s hockey is back in Montreal, and Emmanuel and I are very excited to work with the PHF to help grow the women’s game across the entire province of Quebec,” said Raphaël. “We look forward to building a team with strong community partnerships and talented athletes who are ready to make a real difference on and off the ice. This is just the beginning for what is going to be a very special season for everyone.”

“This is a very exciting time for the PHF and the growth of professional women’s hockey,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner in a press release. “The city of Montreal and province of Quebec have a rich hockey history that the PHF is proud to officially be a part of.

The franchise also announced a two-year contract with the Centre 21.02 in Verdun, run by Danièle Sauvageau. The team will train in their facilities at the Verdun Auditorium. It will be the primary training home for Montreal’s new PHF franchise, but games during the 2022-23 season will be played in communities across Quebec.

The ownership group has not been confirmed, but back in January, John Boynton told Eyes on the Prize he would be involved with the team. Boynton is the chairman of Yandex, known as the Russian Google. Several now-former members of the company face sanctions in the United States, Canada, and other countries because of their ties to Russia.

Update (11:45AM) : The PHF has confirmed that BTM Partners (which Boynton is a part of) does indeed own the Montreal franchise. That group currently owns four of the seven teams in the league. The Toronto team’s sale to independent ownership is pending with no closing date announced.

The Montreal franchise’s name and logo will be announced in the coming weeks, as will the team’s coaching staff. PHF free agency has been open since May 1, and at least 58 players have already been signed by the six other teams.