BUFFALO, N.Y. — Professional women’s hockey has its first $80,000 player following the deal Mikyla Grant-Mentis reached with the Premier Hockey Federation's Buffalo Beauts.
Two people with direct knowledge of the agreement confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Sunday, with one person revealing the contract’s value. The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the contract signing has not been announced. Canada’s TSN first reported the deal on Friday.
Grant-Mentis’ contract includes a PHF-maximum 10% bonus, one of the people said.
The agreement comes a little over a week into free agency with Grant-Mentis becoming the first to cash in on the PHF’s move to more than double its salary cap to $750,000 per team. The cap jumped from $300,000 last year.
The PHF, rebranded from the National Women’s Hockey League last summer, hasn’t disclosed salary figures over the previous three seasons, making it difficult to determine which player previously had the highest salary in a league established in 2015-16. The top-paid players in 2016-17 made about $26,000.
The 23-year-old Grant-Mentis has the production to merit the contract after completing her second full season with the Toronto Six.
She finished second in the PHF with 30 points and 17 assists, and tied for second with 13 goals, including a league-leading six game-winners last season. Two years ago, she earned both MVP and Newcomer of the Year honors during the league’s COVID-19-shortened season.
From Brampton, Ontario, Grant-Mentis returns to Buffalo where she broke in as a professional. She played two games for the Beauts to close of the 2019-20 season following her four-year college career at Merrimack, where she set the program record for most career points, 117, in 137 games.
Aside from increasing its salary cap, the PHF is also set to expand from six to eight teams, with a franchise to be based on Montreal and a second in a yet-to-be-disclosed U.S. location.
The developments come at a time the PHF is preparing to face competition for talent with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association closing in on launching its own league within the next year. The PWHPA’s membership includes American and Canadian national team players.