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 person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.
The person said Rylan Kearney will remain involved as president of an ownership group that controls four of the NWHL’s six teams, while Tyler Tumminia will be appointed as interim commissioner.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NWHL had not announced the moves. The league was scheduled to announce the moves on Tuesday.
The restructuring is a result of the NWHL 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.
Tumminia joined the NWHL as chairperson 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.
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Rylan Kearney, who was married in August, 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 over five years to the day the four-team NWHL launched its first season in becoming North America’s first pro women’s hockey league to pay its players salaries.