Women's hockey players have formed a union, the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, their next step following an announcement by more than 200 players that they will not compete in North America next season.
The goal is to develop a "sustainable league that will showcase their talent," the union said.
Members of the union are from the United States, Canada and Europe. The group said it intends to help players coordinate training needs and opportunities and develop support from sponsors. The union said it is looking for a league that will "provide support to training programs for young female players, promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of play and raise awareness of hockey as a sport that is open to all."
The National Women's Hockey League is the lone remaining league after its Canadian counterpart announced it was ceasing operations. The Buffalo Beauts are in the five-team NWHL. Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Beauts, announced they were transferring control of the team back to the league, which said it intends to operate a franchise in Buffalo.
"We are prepared to stop playing for a year – which is crushing to even think about – because we know how important a sustainable league will be to the future of women's sports," Beauts goaltender Shannon Szabados said in a statement released by the union. "We know we can make this work, and we want the chance to try."