The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) today announced that the Toronto Six has been sold by BTM Partners to new owners who represent the first BIPOC (Black, Indigenous And People of Color) and Canadian investors in PHF history. The group is led by retired National Hockey League forward Anthony Stewart, joined by Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James, Carnegie Initiative co-chair Bernice Carnegie, and former NHL Coach of the Year Ted Nolan. The full list of participants in the new ownership group will be announced at closing. Together they provide invaluable hockey experience, community leadership, and diversity to the PHF’s first team north of the border.
“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 Johanna Boynton, founding Chair and Principal Owner of the Toronto 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.”
Stewart isChairman of Hockey Equality which is working to create sustainable change in the hockey community and creating diversity and inclusion at all levels across the sport. He also created Stewart Hockey, an organization that provides a space where players of all ages and backgrounds can grow their hockey skills, to give back to the hockey community that went above and beyond to help him and his brother Chris reach the NHL. On the ice, the Scarborough, Ontario native grew up playing in the Greater Toronto Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League before enjoying 10 years professionally including six NHL seasons. The 37-year-old is also an on-air hockey analyst with Sportsnet.
“This is a really amazing time to be part of professional women’s hockey and I am thrilled to lead a new ownership group to support elite athletes in my hometown,” said Stewart. “Together with my partners, we know how much representation matters and how important role models are for young hockey players. 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. We believe the PHF is well-positioned to become a leader in professional sports and look forward to continuing to build the Toronto Six into a winner on and off the ice.”
James is widely considered the first superstar in women’s hockey and remains the only Black player to captain Canada’s National Women’s Team. On the national stage she was a four-time gold medal winner at the IIHF Women’s World Championship, including the very first event in 1990 where she set a tournament record with 11 goals. The Torontonian became the first Canadian woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 and is also a member of the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame, and has been awarded the Order of Hockey in Canada. This season she’s been serving as an assistant coach for the Six.
Carnegie is the daughter of the late Herbert H. Carnegie, who was part of the only “All Black Line” in 1940’s semi-pro hockey. She co-founded the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation with her father and mother in 1987, helping countless individuals develop the confidence to become better citizens. As President of Bernice Carnegie and Associates, she works to address social injustice by bringing awareness to and affecting behavioral changes related to equity, fairness, and inclusiveness. The Carnegie Initiative works to ensure that hockey is inclusive, supportive and welcoming to all.
Nolan co-founded the program 3NOLANS, with sons Brandon and Jordan, to specifically work with First Nation youth to further develop their hockey skills and knowledge. Hailing from Garden River First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the 63-year-old played eight seasons of professional hockey including three in the NHL before transitioning his career into coaching. He has enjoyed success at every level behind the bench for more than 30 years, including seven NHL seasons, notably winning the 1997 Jack Adams Trophy with the Buffalo Sabres.
New and diverse ownership groups are part of the evolution of the PHF that will see substantial growth in years to come, driven by the Board of Governors’ commitment to investing $25 million over the next three years to directly enhance the player experience. Expansion to eight teams for the 2022-23 season along with a salary cap of $750,000 per team, full healthcare benefits and equity in the teams, facility upgrades, new equipment, and increased ice time is all part of the pledge to support professional PHF athletes.
The Six joined the PHF in 2020 and immediately captured a regular season title during the shortened 2021 campaign. They are currently in first place in the overall PHF standings with a 13-2-1 record and are a perfect 8-0 on home ice during this historic first season in Canada. The club, led by reigning MVP and current PHF top scorer Mikyla Grant-Mentis, will pursue their first Isobel Cup crown in playoff action March 25-28 in Tampa Bay, Florida.