32 Thoughts: The Podcast

Meet the new Executive Director of the PHF Players’ Association

Episode Summary

Alex Sinatra is a Texas-barred attorney who is the new executive director of the PHFPA. She tells Jeff and Elliotte why she took the job and how her career path guided her to hockey. She also talks about some of her early priorities, challenges, potential partnerships and what's important to the players.

Episode Notes

Alex Sinatra is a Texas-barred attorney who has been around sports her entire life except for hockey. She tells Jeff and Elliotte why she was interested in the position of executive director of the PHFPA and the interesting path she took to get there. She also talks about things that are important to the players, if they'll work with the PWHPA to grow the game, why communication will be one of her top priorities, how she's approaching the $25 million investment into the league by the Board of Governors, and if the NHL needs to be involved in women’s hockey.

Full transcript for the episode can be found here by Medha Monjaury

Music Outro: The Hight Loves - Sure of It

Listen to the entire track on Spotify

This podcast is produced and mixed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

Episode Transcription

OPEN //// Alex Sinatra [00:00:00] But there's so many different types of pasta that every time I go there like, oh, this is a new pasta that we've never shown you before I'm like, how do you make this money shave? 

Jeff Marek [00:00:12] Welcome once again to 32 Thoughts the Podcast presented by the all new GMC AT4 Lineup. Today we present our conversation with Alex Sinatra. She's the executive director of the PHF Players Association. And while she may be new to hockey, she's not exactly new to sports management or sports law for that matter and now, with th PHF investing $25 million courtesy of the generosity of ownership, her job Elliotte becomes more crucial as players have more decisions to make with this PHF than ever before. Without further ado, here she is Alex Sinatra on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. Enjoy. 

[00:00:48] [Intro music.] 

Jeff Marek [00:00:58] Elliotte, we are very pleased to be joined by the Executive Director of the PHF Players Association, a very impressive person who doesn't just ply her trade in hockey or ply her trade for that matter, in one geographical location. We're very pleased to be joined by Alex Sinatra. Alex, how are you today, thanks for joining us. 

Alex Sinatra [00:01:16] I'm doing well. Thank you both so much for having me on this show, and I want to thank you as well for helping to bridge that media gap coverage that exists in professional sports and sports in general so thank you for highlighting the players association and the Premier Hockey Federations players. I'm excited to get started and talk about a lot of different stuff. 

Jeff Marek [00:01:35] Well, we'll listen. So are we and I think that maybe the best place to start is how did you get here? Like, I'm always curious how people get into this, you know, bizarre world of, of hockey and you find yourself in a very prominent position as well. How did you arrive here, Alex? 

Alex Sinatra [00:01:50] Yeah. So it is a long and winding road as anyone knows, the sports industry is never linear. And so my background is in sports business and sports law, and I always knew that I wanted to work in sport and so when I was in law school, I thought I wanted to be an agent, and I quickly found out the agency is not for me. I love advocating for players, but I wasn't a really big fan of agency. And so my mentor, Professor Christian Dennie, who's also a sports lawyer, he said, you can be an attorney inside a league, you can be an attorney for a players association, you can be an attorney for a team. And I said, wow, that's really amazing and so I started working for a family that owns professional sports teams with the possibility that I could do some sports law. And the time came and I was able to lobby the Texas Legislature on behalf of the FC Dallas Foundation, which is a team in the MLS. And then I just started kind of working my way. I got a foot in the door at USA Today as a writer and content creator, and then I was doing some employment law and then I made a position for myself that was 50% business 50% law at a professional indoor soccer team, and I created my own sports consultancy where I do Strategic Sports Consulting, and that's where I ran into Mallory Souliotis and Bridget Gannon. So Bridget Gannon works at the Retired Basketball Players Association, and she put me in contact with Mallory because I wanted to have Mallory on my podcast. And then a year later, Mallory reached out and said, I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier, we're looking for an executive director for the players association, would you be interested in at least having a conversation with the player representatives for all the teams? And I said, yes, I'm always open for a conversation and we had quite a few conversations. I saw the dedication of these players and what they were looking to create, and I knew that my unique skillset would be exactly what they needed in this new chapter, and here I am sitting with you two. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:03:51] So I have a lot of questions, but the first thing I wanted to ask was just sort of a macro question. I was reading before, you know, we started this interview today, I was actually sent an article on the Insider website about, basically ever since COVID came and the world has been turned upside-down. The new dynamic between employer and employees, the whole idea of the hidden resignation, just the burnt-out nature of working at home. Athletes are obviously a little different. You can't work at home. But I just wonder from your point of view Alex, big picture, how much has the pandemic changed the relationship, if at all, between the players you're supporting and the players you're advocating for and the league? 

Alex Sinatra [00:04:34] So generally, and just kind of a 50,000 foot view, and then I'll relate it to the players specifically and the league. So we know that employees recognise now during the pandemic that employers cannot get work done. Employers' companies cannot function without employees. And so that kind of raised the confidence level of employees in relation to their employers. They recognised they didn't have to stay at the same employer for 40 years. They recognised that they could say something like, it's the pandemic, I'm working from home, I need flexibility, and if I don't get that, I will just go to another company that is willing to do that for me. And so my generation, I'm of the millennial generation, we recognise the positivity in our employment that something like that can bring. We recognise that we're the CEO of our own career path. And because of that, we're seeing more hybridised work environments, we're actually seeing more productivity from employees who are able to work from home. Statistics show that you're actually more productive on average when you work from home because you're not having people burst into your office, ask you a million different questions, interrupt your flow. So just from a 50,000 foot perspective, the pandemic has really shown employers that their employees are valuable and they have to treat them as such. Shift to the members of the Players Association of the Premier Hockey Federation, so the players of the Premier Hockey Federation, and their respective employers and the Board of Governors. They recognise that these players have a very high skill level and that happy employees create a better product and create a better revenue stream. The more that your players are out there advocating for themselves and for their league and their teams, the better it is for everyone. So these players are much more confident now to be able to speak up on things that they find that they want. They say, we want health benefits, we want higher salaries, we want better working conditions. And the employer, the teams, and the commissioner's office, and the ownership groups recognise how important that is because at the end of the day, it is also a business. You know sometimes fans of sport don't recognise that sport is a business, and so they are employees. So you have to treat your employees with that respect and that loyalty and the pandemic has really, really brought that to light, not only in sport, but in the employer-employee relationship in general. 

Jeff Marek [00:07:18] Like, I'm with you, Alex. I think we're done with that traditional employer-employee type relationship that we all used to work under. Do you feel now that, or just focus in on on the, the athletes in the PHF, almost feel like they're their own mini-corporations? Like as much as they are teammates and as much as, you know, they do work for the teams, they do see themselves as miniature corporations? 

Alex Sinatra [00:07:40] Some of them do, and some of them haven't come to that realisation yet. So they recognise that they can have more control over their playing career. I tell them that they're the CEOs of their own playing career. The Commissioner of their own life. And some of them, I've spoke with some of the players recently, actually, some of them are still kind of caught up in the college I mentality, the college athlete mentality, where it's, they tell me what to do, I go where I'm supposed to go, I don't think, I play, I do, I play, I do, you know? And as a pro athlete, you have much more control over your own story. You have much more control over your own playing career. And so some of them have really recognised that and are embracing it, and others are... not that they're not embracing it, they just haven't really come to that realisation about how much power they have individually and collectively as players. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:37] We're seeing right now for the NHL, for example, there's a lot of players unhappy about the Olympics, and that frustration is bleeding out, very obviously. For you, what's the number one questions that your group of players are saying to you. What do they want dealt with? What's important to them? 

Alex Sinatra [00:08:55] Yes. So I'm having each set of player reps speak with all their players and they're coming up with their three needs and the three wants. So we haven't gotten that definite list yet. However, when I have been speaking with them, the questions that they're bringing up, a lot of it is surrounding better communication from the Commissioner's Office to the players, and the players' ability to be able to shape the league. So they want to know and be involved in negotiations with sponsors. They want to know about the Upper Deck Hockey trading card sponsorship and what that entails. They want to know, what did you agree upon? Because that type of transparency and communication hasn't happened yet, and I recognise that the Commissioner's Office hasn't had a head of the players association, hasn't had an executive director for almost a year, and so there's some learning curves with the communication, but one of the top things that the players shared with me from the get-go before I was even the executive director was that they want more transparency and better communication between the players association and the league office. I had players coming to me before I was the executive director and I was just advising them and answering them questions, and they had questions about, what does our revenue share in our contract mean? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:10:23] Oof.

Alex Sinatra [00:10:23] You know, they didn't know that, and I don't want to fault anybody for that. It is just a lack of communication. Sometimes the players are not told things, but perhaps the Commissioner's Office doesn't know that they want to know that, you know, so there is a learning curve on both sides and, it's something that I am very hopeful will get better because I also was selected by these players because of my unique background. I know what questions to ask. They sometimes don't even recognise that there is a question in the contract or there is a question in a commitment, and they say, this sounds great, wonderful. But they don't know, oh, what does unilaterally mean when it comes to my player contract or, what does this amendment's clause actually entail? So they brought me on to be able to answer those questions, but also to ask the right questions and get the right answers. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:11:22] You know, Alex, just as a person. I confess when I was younger, I didn't care a lot about that stuff. And then when I went out into the quote-unquote "real world", I realised nobody controls my destiny, as you said, better than you do or I do it in this particular case. And it concerns me to hear you say that like, I just wonder, you know, whether gently or forcefully, do you ever tell players that, you guys have to understand what you need to know? Like, I would be concerned if I was heading up the association and I was hearing people say to me those kinds of questions. I would be saying, those are things you have to know. And I know even in the NHL, some of the agents in the players association get frustrated with the players because they're like, it's your association, it's your union. You have to be strong enough to say, I need to know the answer to these questions, or I need to know the direction that we're going in so, I'm curious to know how you deal with that because just as a person who is an employee, it would concern me that people weren't wanting to be involved to the point where they would know the answer to those questions. 

Alex Sinatra [00:12:34] Well, there's a distinction to be made there. The players have always wanted to be involved in the direction of their destiny. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:12:43] Mhm.

Alex Sinatra [00:12:44] But they have not always been afforded that opportunity. Whether that was intentional exclusion or if it was just a lack of understanding of how a players association and a league operates. So I also want to make a distinction, we're a players association, but we're not a union. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:05] Mhm.

Alex Sinatra [00:13:05] So under the laws of US collective bargaining and things like that with the NLRB and the NLRA, National Labour Relations Act and National Labour Relations Board, the employer does not have to bargain and negotiate in good faith with us. They don't have to do that at this point because we aren't a union. It's in their best interest and in our players' best interests for them to do that. So from my perspective, you would actually be very surprised, or maybe you wouldn't, that almost all the employees that I have spoken to as an attorney who I've advised on, never read their employment contracts. I mean, that's very--not just in sport. That's just actually very typical. So many people don't read their employment contracts, they don't read the click-throughs when they purchase something on Amazon and they are bound to the terms and conditions of Amazon's website. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:00] Yeah I'm guilty of that. 

Alex Sinatra [00:14:01] That's actually quite--I mean, that's very, very common, not just in sport, you know, and--but a lot of employment contracts--people don't read them, they get excited about the fact that they have the opportunity to play a sport or work at a corporate office or whatever it may be. Get that first big person job out of university and, they sign it. And that's not uncommon! And so in that situation, it really didn't concern me that they were unclear on the legal language used in their contracts. What concerns me a bit more, and I think that concern is a strong word. I would say what intrigued me more was the fact that it hadn't been explained well enough for them to at least have a grasp on it. That's kind of where I was intrigued. I thought, okay, I know that many of these players don't have agents, but is there someone that is consulting them and advising them to this level of detail? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:04] Hmm.

Alex Sinatra [00:15:05] That was my question. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:07] So here's my, here's my next one. So the PHF had a major announcement: doubling of the salary cap, $25 million investment over the next three years. Health benefits, a percentage of equity in teams as well. Two questions to this one, Alex. One, how is that received by the players association and two, what were some of the concerns and/or questions that the players had about this new arrangement? 

Alex Sinatra [00:15:33] So how is it received? Well, on Monday night we had a player rep meeting but were not informed ahead of time that there was going to be this announcement or what the announcement entailed. So after the player rep meeting, I received a screenshot of a tweet that said there's a big announcement tomorrow by the league, and all of the players were a little trepidatious about what that might mean, because, you know, if you've been in hockey or you've done any research in the world of hockey, especially hockey where women are on the ice, that could've been a positive announcement or it could've been a very terrible announcement, right? So some of the players were a little concerned about what could this mean? Because there were also two teams that weren't represented in media availability in that press release. So in my mind, I was thinking, oh no, Whitecaps and Beauts ownership isn't represented, isn't available for media, this is concerning. And then I was trying to have an optimistic, explanatory style and I said, you know what? Maybe this is an announcement for the expansion up to Canada, Montreal, like maybe this is just like an exciting announcement about that. And so I reached out to the league a couple times to a few different people and the league office to ask for some clarity on what this might mean. But unfortunately, I didn't receive a response, and then I woke up at 4 a.m. the next day to see if maybe I had gotten an email over the night but I didn't, so I was refreshing my screen, I was refreshing the Premier Hockey Federation, I was looking all over social media. And then when it was announced, I was relieved that it was a positive announcement and I was relieved that these verbal commitments from the Board of Governors showed their belief, and rightfully so, investment into this league because this league is growing, and these players deserve and have worked hard for this type of investment. So I was really excited about that. The players were phenomenally excited, but then, you know, my attorney brain kicked on and I said, okay, I have so many questions about this because the week before I had had a conversation with one of the Board of Governors members and I had talked about a lot of the stuff that they announced. I said, you know, the players are interested in an upgraded player contract. They're interested in more sponsorship dollars coming in. They're interested in health benefits, they're interested in better playing environments, they're interested in all of these things. And he said, you know, we have been talking about those types of things. We've been talking about the healthcare and these types of things, and it's something that we want to implement. But I had no idea that it was something they were going to officially announce or that they had committed to those things that we had briefly discussed. So the players were rightfully so phenomenally excited about the commitments. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:36] Mhm.

Alex Sinatra [00:18:36] And like I said, my attorney brain kicked on and I said, okay, fabulous. But what are the parameters around the salary cap? What are the parameters around the 10% equity? Because it's not 10% equity like you would think an owner would have, you know? It's kind of a put into a pool that's going to be owned by the PHF players, which kind of sounds like a mix between rev-share 401k with employer contributions, stocks, and a pension. You know, there's going to be a continuum of how long they've played versus how much they make as to how much they can take out when they retire, so there's so many questions that are brought up for me, and the full health benefits, I spoke with an insurance expert who specialises in kind of like group insurance, and they said, you know, something like that is really not expensive to implement. But what does the full healthcare mean? Is it 100% paid by their employer? Is it 50-50? So there are more questions for me that are raised from the announcement. But, you know, like Packer said, like Madison Packer said, she said, people are gonna try to poop on this announcement and say, there are no details, there's not this, there's not that. Let the players have a time to be excited. Right? And I want them to be as excited as possible. And then I, the players association, we are ready to work hand-in-hand with the Board of Governors, with the Commissioner's Office to make sure that these commitments, these verbal commitments by the Board of Governors are draughted into contractual obligations that can be enforced and that are to the benefit of the players and to the league as a whole while we're growing a viable business model. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:20:19] So when I, when I hear you talk about the frustration of not knowing what the announcement is in advance, I put on my reporter hat and I say, okay, I have a feeling I know what that is. It's because the league wants to make the announcement, and they're worried if they tell the players, it's gonna get out. Do you think that's what it was? 

Alex Sinatra [00:20:41] It's possible, but if it did leak out, that's okay. Do you know what I mean? Like it would be better. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:20:49] Alex, as a reporter? I love that. I love that answer. I, as an annoying-- 

Alex Sinatra [00:20:53] But what does it hurt? You know. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:20:55] Some people want to be in charge of making the announcement like, it's funny you and I are having this conversation because as a reporter, I completely agree with you. I totally agree with you. However, leagues and teams, they like to make the announcements themselves, and I know, because I get them, sometimes when I get something before they can announce it, they are steaming angry at me. 

Alex Sinatra [00:21:16] Oh, yes, of course. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:16] And that's why I wonder if that's why-- 

Alex Sinatra [00:21:19] I could definitely see that they were concerned about leaks. However, the players were given 30 minutes notice before the Upper Deck announcement was made public, and that didn't leak. It's one of those situations where we are building trust between the league and the players association, like every players association and every league does consistently. That's a, it's a collaboration as much as you can collaborate. And in that situation, it would've been a goodwill gesture to at least reach out to the players association and say something like, don't worry, the sky's not falling. It's a good announcement. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:03] You know, we've gone for 20 minutes here, and I haven't even asked you the question that I think a lot of people want to know. Jeff and I are doing a terrible job so far, and that is, what you think the the future here is of women's hockey and, you know, it's a big time, Alex, in the sense that we're coming to the end of an Olympic cycle. In a month from now, the Olympics are going to be ending. And I think everybody's going to wanna know what's the next step so, you know, where do you think we're going? What's the future? 

Alex Sinatra [00:22:32] This commitment from the Board of Governors is a huge step in the right direction. As long as everything is implemented correctly, it's going to be very huge for the sport. We all know that you cannot grow something without investment. Sports where men are playing were not where they are today when they first began, right? They had investment, they had media coverage, they had viewership, they had so many resources that sports where women are playing, specifically hockey, have not received. Now the Board of Governors is looking to level that playing field so that we can grow the game collectively. I know that you are subtly asking me about the PWHPA because I heard you talk about Olympics and all of that. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:26] Of course, it's not that subtle, really. 

Alex Sinatra [00:23:30] But I have spoken with Jayna, and I will be having a meeting with her once the Olympics are over at the end of February and we're gonna have some conversations and we're going to talk about the direction of the league. Ultimately, we all want the same thing. We want these players to be treated with professionalism, respect. We want them to have that living wage. We want them to be true professionals, be treated as true professionals in the sense of the word because they are true professionals. And so we want what's best for the players. And so... I don't see anyone saying that they don't want what's best for the players. It's just defining what does that mean, what does that look like, how can we get that, is that a short, medium or long term goal? Or is this a strategy that is going to take 5, 10 years to implement? So those are the questions, that's how we need to figure out, because everyone is on the same page in what we ultimately want. We just need to figure out how to collectively get there. And I do believe that these commitments by the Board of Governors are something that are really going, to pardon the pun, but change the game for us. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:42] If I could follow that up, Jeff and I looked into something the other day, and that was that the PHF, its announcement, they went out of their way to send it into the DMs of players in the other league. They wanted them to know what was being announced, and that had some very mixed reactions. Some players were happy to see it, some players didn't like it. In your conversations and your general intel, do you think there is the possibility for these two groups to make peace and go together? 

Alex Sinatra [00:25:19] I think that anything is possible, but I also want to make a distinction. Professional athletes are a very unique breed of human. And if you haven't dealt with professional athletes in a one-on-one capacity, then you might not recognise how to speak to them. And I'm not talking about you two, I'm talking about people in general. And so there are certain quotes that I've seen in the media from individuals in positions of power that might not sit well with professional athletes, they don't like to be dictated to, they don't like to be forced into comment, they don't like those things, and so from my perspective, I am new to the world of hockey, but I'm not new to the world of professional sport or professional athletes and so for me, the way that I communicate with them is different than other people who have maybe never had the opportunity to have those personal relationships. And so, going into the DMs of pro athletes from a different group than you are associated with to let them know this news, I could see how some of them might be a little annoyed because some of them are really focused on the Olympics, and so it's almost like invasion of their privacy sometimes. I don't profess to know what they are thinking, but if they were annoyed, I would think that it might have something to do with that. Perhaps they want their fellow athletes to talk to them about that, the friends and the former teammates that know each other from each group because a lot of these players are still friends. Maybe sometimes the person who's delivering the information needs to be someone that they trust, that someone that's them. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:27:07] It's an interesting perspective. I wanted to hear what you had to say. 

Alex Sinatra [00:27:09] Yeah.

Jeff Marek [00:27:10] In your conversations with Jayna Hefford, I'm not sure how many conversations you've had with her, but you indicated that you two had spoken. The PW, Jayna Hefford, has talked a lot about non-negotiable pillars that have to be satisfied. I mean, you're right, there are shared goals between the PHF and the PWHPA. Everybody has their eyes on the same point on the mountain, everybody disagrees about how to get there. I think we all understand that. In discussions with your players in the PHF and your knowledge of what the PWHPA desires and what the PHF desires. With the promise from the PHF in this new arrangement, do you get the sense that there is enough in that new arrangement to satisfy what the PW has talked about in their, you know, pillars that are non-negotiable? Is there enough in there that members of the PW would look at and say, you know what? That's what we've been talking about. 

Alex Sinatra [00:28:12] I can't speak on behalf of them, but what I would say is that in the research that I have done and again, I haven't addressed this with Jayna, I'm letting her focus on the Olympics and her athletes who are competing in the Olympics. But health benefits go a long way with pro athletes. An increased salary cap goes a long way. But there are a lot of details that have to be worked out. The salary cap: do the teams have to use all the salary cap? What can it be used on? What are the parameters there? There's a graphic going around saying, oh and, you know, this season, this is how much PHF players on average are making, and then in next season it's going to be around 37,500. It's a nice visual graphic, but that isn't necessarily accurate. It's accurate math, on average. But we need to know what does that salary cap entail? What does it look like? It needs to be redefined as well, because anybody who's read a collective bargaining agreement of any league recognises how intricate those definitions are in collective bargaining agreements, but also contracts have to be very clearly defined. What is salary cap? What is revenue? Is it net, is it gross? So I know that these details have to be solidified and worked out, and if I was on the other side, I would say, this looks nice. How is it gonna be implemented? Because you never want to overpromise under-deliver. So you have to make sure that everything is very intricately and concisely and clearly laid out so that you know exactly what the 25 million indirect payments and benefits to its players over the next three years means. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:01] Let me follow that up with one thought as well, and that is, how much of a issue slash how much of a concern or maybe, is this a place, Alex, where you push back and look for more clarity? Not so much the idea of the upper limit of the salary cap, but you kind of hinted at this a second ago, but more importantly, a salary cap floor, a minimum payment for every team. 

Alex Sinatra [00:30:24] Yes. So I know that players are interested in minimums. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:30] Mhm.

Alex Sinatra [00:30:30] Professional sports have rookie minimums. Professional sports have those floors. So there needs to be those parameters in place. I would love to see rookie minimums. I would love to see parameters around the salary cap. And I'm not saying that there are not. I'm just saying that that that, as far as I've been informed, has not been worked out yet. The details of these commitments haven't been explained to me in a way that indicates these details have been worked out, and I have made it clear that I am ready and willing and the players association and the players are ready and willing to start crafting the details of what all of these commitments will be in practise and in reality. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:31:19] I wanted to ask you, I don't like this question, but sometimes I think it gets a good answer. You know, you just started and somewhere down the road, you know, you're gonna move on to your next adventure. If there was something that you accomplished for the players during your time here, is there anything you look at it and say, I would like it to be this? 

Alex Sinatra [00:31:42] There are a lot of things, but ultimately I want to see all the professional players, players from the PW, players from the PHF, having a sustainable business model where they can make a living wage. That is what I want to see. I want them to be so confident in their playing careers and the trajectory of where their careers are going, that they are just thrilled with the benefits and the salaries and the working conditions. So I want to elevate that to a point where, if and when I step away and move on to something new that I can say, you know what? Look what we did. Look how we changed the landscape. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:31] Do you think the NHL has to be a part of that? Can you do it without the NHL or does the NHL need to be a partner in this endeavour? 

Alex Sinatra [00:32:42] Need and wants, those are always very interesting words. So in this scenario, I don't believe that anybody that I've spoken to would say that they don't want the NHL to be involved because, what a great show of support. But things are getting done here without the open and outward collaboration and support of the NHL. So do we need them? I don't know. I don't really have an answer to that, and it's not really my place to say either but, I can't really answer that from my perspective. I don't know. That's my answer. I really don't know. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:27] Let me finish up a question that's different for everybody, and I understand that, and it's different from one athlete to another, it's different from one country to another. But you used the term living wage a second ago, and we've heard Jayna Hefford talk about that as before as being one of the pillars. Is there a number you have in mind when you say living wage? 

Alex Sinatra [00:33:50] No. I don't have a specific number in mind. I look at it more as a totality of the circumstances so I see it as: can a player, if they decide to leave their fulltime employment, whatever that might be, and live the lifestyle they want to live on their hockey salary? That's how I see a living wage because there are some players within our leagues who are biomedical scientists, who are paediatric oncology nurses, and I don't know if those players are ever gonna wanna leave those deep seated jobs that they work so hard to get in order to play hockey fulltime. You know? So I think for every player it might look a little different what that means for each of them. So I don't have a specific number. It's a totality of the circumstances, and eventually I'm sure there'll be, you know, the median of what that looks like and what the players agree on, okay, this is the general range in which we would consider a living wage, but for each player, it's gonna be a little different. 

Jeff Marek [00:35:00] This is a really interesting time right now. As Elliotte mentioned, there's a big pressure point coming for women's hockey and, you know, everybody's watching, and a lot of people are invested in this, either casual fans of the game or hardcore hockey fans and we just wish everybody the best in all this. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:35:16] Yup.

Jeff Marek [00:35:16] We thought we talked about shared goals from our perch. You know, we have the same desires. We want to see a strong professional women's hockey league where athletes are supported and well-compensated and is successful for everybody. So I know we're all going up different parts of the mountain here, but we, we wish you and your players all the best in that process. 

Alex Sinatra [00:35:39] Thank you so much. And again, thank you for having me on and letting us speak about the players association and, you know, I expect to see you at some games in the future, and I hope that you tweet out some of those screenshots of you guys watching ESPN+ when our athletes are playing and you know, if you if you want to visit Italy, when I'm there, let me know. 

Jeff Marek [00:36:05] That sounds awesome. Consider that invitation accepted. Alex, thanks so much for this, much appreciated. 

Alex Sinatra [00:36:12] Of course. Thank you so much. 

Jeff Marek [00:36:23] And that's Alex Sinatra, we hope you enjoyed our conversation with her and we wish her the best. Taking us out, a five-piece band from Toronto that formed in 2018. The Hight Loves blend sound that's danceable with an '80s authentic synth topped off with soaring vocals. The group has dropped a pair of EPs and a number of singles, including their latest last week. With Sure of It, here's Hight Loves on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. Enjoy. 

[00:36:46] [Outtro music.]