Today The Fourth Period broke the news that the NWHL’s players received an email last night outlining a reported 50 percent cut in their salaries. Today the NWHL held a phone conference with commissioner Dani Rylan and New York Riveters captain and defender Ashley Johnston to make a statement and answer a few questions from the media.
The decision to make cuts was not something that the NWHLPA was involved in. Players will be signing an addendum to their contracts and the actual amount of the salary cut was not revealed out of respect to the players’ privacy and the league’s process.
For the nearly 100 players in the NWHL and Johnston the news came as a shock.
"We had no idea. When I first heard the news... probably gut-wrenching is the best way to describe it,” Johnston revealed in the conference call. “We are all very, very invested in this league pretty [much] in every aspect of our lives. To hear that it's something that had to happen- it's a tough thing to hear. It's not a good day."
But as gutting as the news was, Johnston made it clear that she wants to stay on NWHL ice. She has no intention of calling it quits in light of the league taking a significant step back just after the news of a partnership to stream games with Cheddar TV.
"This is the place where we want to play. We are all invested in this league. We all want to see it succeed.,” Johnston made clear. “The easy thing right now would be for everyone to pack up their bags and go home. But I'm never one to really think that the easy thing is the right thing to do. It's just going to be figuring out next steps and where we go as a team, as a league, as a family from here."
When asked about how the news impacted her teammates specifically, Johnston was careful not to speak for anyone but herself. And she elaborated on how she felt about the league cutting players’ salaries.
"I'll speak more so on behalf of myself than anyone else right now. It's kind of like going through the different stages of mourning,” the Riveters’ second-year captain admitted. “You're sad, you're frustrated. It's all thing the things you'd expect."