National Women’s Hockey League founder Dani Rylan Kearney is stepping down as commissioner as part of a restructuring of the league’s governing model, a source told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, confirming multiple reports Monday.
Rylan Kearney will remain involved as president of an ownership group that controls four of the NWHL’s six teams, and Tyler Tumminia will be appointed interim commissioner, The Associated Press reported.
The league was scheduled to announce the moves on Tuesday, according to the AP.
The restructuring is a result of the NWHL’s forming an incorporated association that will be overseen by a board of governors, with one representative per team. This is a departure from the past, when the NWHL oversaw control of all teams.
Recent investors led the charge for the restructuring, Kaplan reported.
Tumminia joined the NWHL as chairman of the league’s Toronto Six expansion team, which was founded in April. The Six and the NWHL’s Boston Pride are operated by independent ownership groups.
Rylan Kearney will oversee the league’s four remaining teams, which are based in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey; Danbury, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; and Saint Paul, Minnesota. One of her responsibilities will be to find individual ownership groups to purchase the franchises.
The restructuring comes a little more than five years since the four-team NWHL launched its first season, becoming North America’s first pro women’s hockey league to pay its players salaries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.