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Rivals no longer, a group of the Premier Hockey Federation’s more high-profile players issued a unifying message on Sunday by saying they’re eager to join forces in helping launch a new women’s professional hockey league in January — even as it comes at the expense of their league.

The statement was released by 11 players, featuring at least one representative from each of the league’s seven franchises, and comes three days after the PHF essentially ceased operations. The PHF was bought out by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, one of the financial backers behind the new league he’s helping establish with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association.

And the message comes as PHF players sit on the sideline while PWHPA members have until Sunday night to submit their votes to ratify a collective bargaining agreement and constitution.

“Today, all women’s hockey players are united stronger than ever as we enter this new era,” the statement read. “As we embark on another league formation, we bring the power and the infrastructure we fought to build. We are hugely excited to see a unified league that will house all the best athletes that hockey as to offer and aim to build the strongest league that can stand the test of time.”

The players have formed a leadership committee, and include Boston Pride captain Jillian Dempsey, who holds the PHF record for goals, points and games played, Connecticut Whale’s Kacey Bellamy, a former U.S. Olympian and former PWHPA member, and Montreal Force’s Ann-Sophie Bettez, who played on Canada’s national team and is also a former PWHPA member.

If approved, the CBA will run through 2031 and features a salary range of $35,000 to $80,000 for players on active rosters expected to total 23 players. It’s unclear when the PWHPA will announce the result of the vote.

The launch of the new league elicited both excitement that women’s hockey is finally destined to have one pro league, and anxiety over the dissolution of the PHF and the voiding of players’ existing contracts, some of which were worth $150,000 for next season.

An agreement is in place to pay those under contract a portion of their salary through September, two people with knowledge of the information told The Associated Press last week. One of the people said players will receive half their salaries or $5,000, whichever is greater, and that there will be $1 million earmarked to spread around to those who do not make one of the new teams.

The people spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the details were not made public.

The news of the purchase re-fueled a familiar narrative over the so-called rift between the two sides, which the PHF players wanted to dispel.

“We look to depart from the divisive narrative that too often plagued the many great achievements across professional women’s hockey, and become unified as we collectively create hockey’s future,” the players wrote.

The two sides have been apart since the PWHPA was formed in 2019 following the demise of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. PWHPA members — made up mostly of U.S. and Canadian national teams players — balked at joining the PHF, which was then known as the National Women’s Hockey League, and established in 2015.

The PWHPA instead stuck to its vision of having a controlling interest in a league with a sustainable economic model and fair wages for players.

“The PWHPA was an incredible mirror that asked us to reflect on the changes we desired and fight for them in solidarity, and we will bring that momentum with us,” the PHF statement read.

“We are empowered to be entering an environment that has a union and CBA that lays out a roadmap to continue to build on,” they added. “Although this is the end of the PHF as we knew it, this evolution will never erase the tireless and thankless work of our athletes. … We started this thing and we aren’t done yet. Onwards and upwards, together.”

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Players send unifying message for new women’s pro hockey league