PHF Enhances Respect, Safety, Inclusion Initiatives for Members


New partnerships announced with Respect Group and RealResponse, plus mandatory background checks with NCSI

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced a pair of new multi-year partnerships with Respect Group and RealResponse, and has introduced mandatory background checks with National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) for all league and team staff. Each organization provides industry-leading resources that will strengthen the league’s commitment to fostering a healthy, respectful, safe, and inclusive environment for all players and staff.

“The entire PHF community should be an environment that is healthy, respectful, safe, and inclusive, and these important initiatives help us take essential steps to further that commitment,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner. “As leaders who are deeply invested in growing the game, it is our responsibility to develop a culture that exemplifies our values, and one where we continue enacting positive change by prioritizing training, education, prevention, reporting, and accountability.”

Respect Group empowers people to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination (BAHD) through interactive, online training courses. Founded by Wayne McNeil and former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy in 2004, Respect Group has provided programming and training to sports organizations, schools, and workplaces with a goal of eliminating BAHD and inspiring a global culture of respect. PHF members including the Board of Governors, front office personnel, team staff, and players are required to be Respect Certified by completing the 90-minute Respect in the Workplace online training program.

“Our commitment to improving hockey culture and preventing BAHD behavior within society continues with critical partnerships like this. By providing good people with tools and knowledge makes them better and helps organizations thrive,” said Sheldon Kennedy, Co-Founder of Respect Group. “The leadership of Reagan Carey and the work the PHF is doing to advocate for their athletes, above everything else, is exemplary. We applaud these significant efforts to grow the game in a way that’s safe and inclusive for all.”

RealResponse is dedicated to equipping athletic organizations with a tool to promote accountability and trust. Founded in 2015 by NCAA student-athlete David Chadwick, RealResponse reaches over 200,000 athletes, coaches, administrators, and staff through partnerships with more than 120 collegiate institutions, multiple NFL teams, and athletic organizations like the NWSL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the NFL Players Association, USA Swimming, and USA Gymnastics. They use surveys, real-time reporting, and a comprehensive documentation repository to provide a safe space for athletes and league members to share feedback, questions, and concerns with their administration that can inspire change. The RealResponse system allows for two-way communication in real-time between PHF members and league leaders while protecting the reporter who is able to submit feedback anonymously. This will be their first partnership in professional hockey.

“The work Reagan Carey and her team have done in the past year to quickly and effectively ramp up the services offered to the elite women’s athletes of the PHF is admirable, and we are proud to be part of this latest expansion,” said David Chadwick, Founder and CEO of RealResponse. “Our platform has been extremely effective with leagues in helping not just identify, but prevent issues that sometimes fly under the radar and can derail success on every level. We are confident that this partnership will aid everyone in women’s hockey, from the players and the coaches to the staff and executives, as the PHF continues to rise.”

NCSI is a leading provider of background checks, helping organizations minimize their liability and meet strict legal mandates since 2005. Driven by the goal of protecting vulnerable populations from harm, NCSI was the trusted background check provider for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and serves thousands of organizations from youth sports to national governing bodies.

“The PHF is taking important steps to cultivate and maintain a positive workplace environment, which is something that all athletes value immensely,” said Brianna Decker, PHF Team and Player Development Advisor. “Initiatives like this that elevate the safety and well-being of PHF players above all else is another layer to the strong foundation we’re proud to be building for professional women’s hockey.”

The PHF’s commitment to workplace health, respect, safety, and inclusivity is also supported by the league’s ongoing relationship with Athlete Ally and Chris Mosier.

About the Premier Hockey Federation
The PHF is the home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and provide opportunities for elite athletes to earn a living playing the game they love while fueling the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. As part of a two-year agreement with ESPN, live coverage of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 PHF seasons is available exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States, and provides international rights for games which includes TSN in Canada. For more information visit

About RealResponse

Founded in 2015 and expanded in 2020, RealResponse is a partner with more than 100 colleges and universities as well as with the NFLPA, USADA, the NWSL, and USA Gymnastics, giving more than 100,000 college, amateur and professional athletes with the ability to anonymously share feedback and concerns in a safe and secure manner. Organizations can also benchmark metrics to peer and national averages to identify areas of competitive advantage and vulnerability. In 2021, RealResponse was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as one of the “Fifty Most Innovative Companies in the Region.” For more information about RealResponse, visit

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