Sophie Jaques of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs 3-2 during the Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship held at Pegula Ice Arena on March 20, 2022 in University Park, Pennsylvania.

History was made during Super Bowl LVIII, and it wasn’t Usher’s halftime performance. 

In the first-ever trade in PWHL history, PWHL Minnesota received defender Sophia Jaques from PWHL Boston in exchange for defender Abby Cook and Finnish star Susanna Tapani. It was a historic PWHL trade that set the precedent for women’s sports.

Jaques, 23, was the 10th overall pick in the inaugural PWHL Draft and was signed to a guaranteed 3-year deal by Boston. An Ohio State University alumni, Jaques demonstrated her scoring power with 156 points (61G-95A) in 172 games. As a member of the Buckeyes, Jaques became the first Black player to win the Patty Kazmaier Award last season. Given to the best player in the nation.

Cook, 25, played four seasons with the Boston University Terriers and was named to the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame in 2023. The defender signed a one-year deal as a free agent with Minnesota out of training camp and scored one goal in nine games.

Tapani, 30, was picked by Minnesota in the fifth round of the inaugural draft and signed a two-year deal. Tapani represented Finland in three Olympics and eight Women’s World Championships.

Historic PWHL Trade

Wins All-Around After A Historic PWHL Trade

Despite holding a steady first place in the PWHL standings, Minnesota (6-2-2) is looking for a defensive upgrade. With the rights to only three defenders in Lee Stecklein, Maggie Flaherty and Natalie Buchbinder, Minnesota has kept their blueline staffed through free-agent invites.

Sophie Jaques gives Minnesota the chance to play not just a defensive power but be involved in the growth of a defensive superstar. In her first game with PWHL Minnesota, Jaques notched her first point of the season with an assist to University of Minnesota alum Abby Boreen’s power-play goal.

Historic PWHL Trade

For Boston (4-3-1), the addition of Susanna Tapani to a star-studded team that already includes Alina Muller, Hilary Knight, and Jamie Lee Rattray, gives Boston a pure scorer and a possible boost on their power play. Tapani put up 10 points on the women’s Euro Hockey Tour over the international break. She helped to propel the Finnish team to the top of the tour standings over teams like Czechia and Sweden.

Most recently, the veteran forward has been centering Minnesota’s third line. And she could be the answer to moving Boston up from the last place in goals. Similarly, Abby Cook’s more consistent performance on the ice will allow Boston to shift perspective on their bottom lines. 

But what about the contracts?

The historic trade put the relocation clause the PWHL made in the collective bargaining agreement to the test. 

Movement in women’s leagues is almost unheard of. Especially as most players’ salaries are too low to live in big cities without a second job. With a salary structure ranging from  $35,000 to $80,000 and a CBA with monthly $1,500 housing stipends and compensation for relocation costs, PWHL players have more flexibility to move around. 

The CBA also requires each team to sign at least six players on $80,000 three-year contracts by the start of the season. While the trade will leave Boston with only five three-year deals, they are still in compliance until 2024-2025. Meaning, that next season’s draft will be the place to look to if Boston doesn’t make any other major moves. 

Notably, there were no draft picks moved in the deal as the PWHL announced in August that there would be none until the end of the 2023-2024 season. Meanwhile, Minnesota had until Wednesday before the game to be compliant with the league’s roster specifications of 23 players on an active roster. A hole they filled with Abby Boreen who is on her second and last 10-day contract with the team.

The results of this trade won’t be apparent immediately–both teams are icing strong players in an already strong league. But there’s a chance these two clubs face each other this postseason and only then can we declare a winner. Make sure to check out all the latest hockey news at Area 51 Sports Network.