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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Mark your calendars!

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Worlds and NWHL schedules are out, some good news for the WCHA and a first in the AIHL.

The Asian Winter Games 2017 - Day 1
Sena Suzuki #6 of Japan and Aida Olzhabayeva #22 of Kazakhstan battle for the puck 
Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Story of the week

2018 IIHF World Championships

As the hockey season draws closer more and more leagues are releasing their schedules - the NWHL released theirs just yesterday. But the schedule with the biggest impact has now been announced: the 2018 IIHF Women's Worlds tournaments. Most readers of this site already know the Top level Worlds is replaced by the Olympics this year, but twenty-four senior level national teams will still be competing in four Worlds tournaments, plus another five will be competing this December to qualify for entry into next year's Division IIB tournament.

One of the most fun and interesting parts about doing WHW is learning about hockey all over the world. This year’s schedule is particularly interesting to Pension Plan Puppets readers because every single tournament except the qualifying tournament may have some effect on the CWHL schedule.

The Division IB tournament from April 8-14 is the most intriguing. First, it gives us a clue that regardless of how late it starts or if it includes the rumoured Olympic break, the CWHL season will still be over before April. Approximately half of each of the two expansion teams (also known as the Chinese national team) will be off in Italy competing. They’ll be competing against Kazakhstan and CWHL prospect Bulbul Kartanbayeva, as well as Latvia, Italy, Poland... and South Korea. Yes, South Korea, due to their ranking, will participate in both the Olympics and the Division IB Worlds.

The Division IA tournament will be held at the same time over in France, featuring Canadiennes 2016-17 rookie Marion Allemoz and new prospect Lore Baudrit on the French national team. They’ll be the only players to face off against NWHL competition, as (to date) Austria’s Janine Weber is the only current national team member in that league.

Mexico’s Claudia Tellez didn’t make it onto the Inferno roster last year but spent time in Calgary as part of their reserve team. If she makes to the roster this year she’ll be the lone CWHL representative in the Division IIA tournament in Slovenia which starts March 31.

Depending on how the draft goes, the Division IIB tournament could turn teammates into foes as New Zealand’s Anna Goulding will go head-to-head against Turkish captain Refika Yilmaz, one of the first players to sign up for the draft this year. They’ll be playing in Valdemoro, Spain starting on St Patrick’s Day. If both of them make a CWHL team they’ll likely have to miss at least the playoffs in order to prepare.

This year there are players from nine different countries in the CWHL draft. As the league continues to attract international talent, tournaments featuring countries other than Canada and the United States will have more of an impact on the season’s schedule.

UPDATE

A couple weeks ago, our Article of the Week focused on the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s new crowdfunding campaign, and this week we have an update for you fine people. Yesterday, the WCHA announced that next season their weekly awards will be sponsored by GoodWood Hockey, a hockey apparel company out of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Five of the WCHA’s seven teams are based in Minnesota, so sponsorship by a company that makes this T-shirt is good business sense by everyone involved. The WCHA’s twitter account confirmed that the crowdfunding campaign helped them gain this new sponsor; hopefully, GoodWood is the first of several.

International Hockey

New coach for Norway’s women
Thomas Pettersen signs two-year contract

FOCUSED ON GOLD: Danvers' Duggan set to begin training for Olympic Games with US women's hockey team | Sports | salemnews.com
The red carpets, celebrity parties and fun with friends during the past few months have certainly been enjoyable.

Sledge hockey

Seen and Heard: Hughes isn't letting her sled hockey skills slide | Entertainment | postbulletin.com
Rochester native Hanna Hughes is heading to New Jersey at the end of August for tryouts with the USA Women's Sled Hockey Team.

CWHL

2017 CWHL Draft Preview | Standout Forwards
The CWHL draft registration has closed and there are a few names of interest listed.

2017 CWHL Draft Preview | Standout Goalies
Registration for the 2017 CWHL Draft is now closed. The draft itself will take place on August 20.

CWHL goalie Noora Raty shows off her agility skills - Sportsnet.ca
Noora Raty is getting ready for the new CWHL season by stopping pucks in an unusual fashion.

Noora Räty got a new goalie mask and it's amazing - The Ice Garden
The Finnish netminder got a new mask for her 28th birthday and SURPRISE, it has minions on it.

NWHL

NWHL releases 2017-18 schedule - The Ice Garden
Neutral site games in Rochester, Pittsburgh highlight third year of NWHL.

Harrison Browne delays retirement, signs with New York Riveters - The Ice Garden
Isobel Cup Champion joining New York for third season with the NWHL.

New York Riveters Have An Abundance Of Local Talent
The New York Riveters roster for next season is beginning to take shape.

Women’s hockey goaltender Kelsey Neumann wears pads to brother’s wedding rehearsal - SBNation.com
"Who needs a dress when you have leg pads?"

NCAA

WCHA.com - WCHA Partners With GoodWood Hockey To Power Women's League Weekly And Monthly Awards
Two Minnesota-based, community-driven organizations team up to provide 'WCHA Women's League Player(s) of the Week/Month, Powered by GoodWood Hockey'

Alum McMillen Joins OSU Coaching Staff :: University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site
Golden Gopher women's hockey alumna Milica McMillen has been named an assistant coach for Ohio State's women's hockey program.

From The Ice To The bench -- A Trend Of NWHL Players Turning Coach
There have been a few former NWHL players who have moved on to join the coaching ranks this season.

2017 NWHL Draft preview | Defense
As NWHL free agency hurtles toward a close, the league’s draft is swiftly approaching.

AWIHL (Australia)

AIHL announces Women in Ice Hockey Summit - The Ice Garden
The first ever Women in Ice Hockey Summit will include speakers from AFLW and the AWIHL.

AWIHL news: 2 August 2017 | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Melbourne Ice have announced the signing of Canadian Jessica Pinkerton for the upcoming 2017-18 season.