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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Szabados signs with Buffalo

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Shannon Szabados tops another week of free agent signings in the NWHL. Meanwhile, Zoe Hickel moves to Calgary and Halifax considers a bid for the 2020 World Championships.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Story of the week

Buffalo is the perfect fit for Szabados on and off the ice - The Ice Garden

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica Ayala, June 29, 2018 (Szabados interview)

Rise of women’s hockey gives Szabados chance to keep playing

By now everyone knows that the Buffalo Beauts pulled off a shocker of a signing, bringing in three-time Olympic medalist and five-time World Championship medalist Shannon Szabados as a goalie.

It should be an interesting fit in Buffalo, where she’ll share the crease with current Olympic gold medalist and World Champion Nicole Hensley. Hensley’s had some experience with surprise moves — after being the starter for Team USA at the 2017 World Championships, coach Robb Stauber went with her backup, Maddie Rooney, for most of the Olympics. There are only 16 games in an NWHL team’s schedule and back to backs are uncommon, so we’ll see how the split works out. It certainly cements Buffalo as the team to beat for the upcoming season.

Szabados indicated that she’s interested in playing at the upcoming Four Nations tournament which will be held in Saskatoon in November, as well as Worlds next spring in Finland. If that’s her goal then staying with women’s hockey is probably her best move. Both she and Kunlun Red Star starter Noora Räty, who has also played men’s hockey, have talked about how different the women’s game is to the men’s, and having to make the transition back and forth quickly would probably be disconcerting at best.

Whether this is prep for the 2022 Olympics is another question entirely. NWHL contracts all carry a term of one year so Szabados isn’t committing to anything longterm, and she can take things year by year. Moreover, four years from now Ann-Renée Desbiens and Emerance Maschmeyer will both be 28 to her 35 and likely in the prime of their careers. That’s not even touching on the plethora of younger goalies in Hockey Canada’s stable. For now let’s enjoy this for what it is, a chance to watch the best goalie in women’s hockey for at least one year more.

NWHL

2018 NWHL Free Agency Tracker - The Ice Garden
Your convenient one-stop shop for all the NWHL signing news. You know about the big one, but Szabados wasn’t the only player the Beauts signed this week. The Boston Pride were the ones to finally kick things into gear this week, making multiple signings.

NWHL Free Agency: The first month - The Ice Garden
The Whale are watching while the Beauts are being bold

The Boston Pride sign defender Toni Ann Miano - The Ice Garden
”Toni from the Bronx” starts pro career in Boston

Isobel Cup Represents Peak Achievement for Inaugural Riveter Bray Ketchum
At the heartbeat of the Riveters core group of leaders, the thrill of the Isobel Cup stands as one of the greatest legacies in Bray Ketchum’s remarkable career.

How do you replace Kelly Babstock? - The Ice Garden
Spoiler alert: you don’t

Whitecaps to play home games at Wild’s practice rink - StarTribune.com
The NWHL’s newest team has a new home. The TRIA Rink in St. Paul can hold 1,200 fans.

CWHL

Women’s hockey: Shannon Miller returns to coaching as legal battle with UMD continues | Duluth News Tribune
Former Minnesota Duluth head women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller now makes her home in Las Vegas and like the many who visit the Entertainment Capital of the World, Miller was up late last week.

Calgary Inferno sign star free agent forward Zoe Hickel
The Calgary Inferno bolstered their roster this week as the club announced the signing of forward Zoe Hickel.

NCAA

Boston College Women’s Hockey Names 2018-2019 Captains - BC Interruption
No surprises here

The Readers Induct BC Women’s Hockey Alumna Katie Burt Into the BCI Hall of Fame Class of 2018 - BC Interruption
One of BC’s most recent alums is now in the BCI HOF

St. Lawrence University's storied Appleton Arena getting major redo with $11.5 million in donations | NorthCountryNow

Bemidji State men's, women's teams, Minnesota State women to play Hockey Day Minnesota 2019 | College Hockey | USCHO.com
The 13th Annual Hockey Day Minnesota schedule has been announced and Bemidji State's men's and women's teams, along with Minnesota State's women's team, will take part.

International hockey

After Losing Olympic Funding, Where Does Team Sweden Go From Here? - The Ice Garden
If this is rock bottom, how do the Damkronorna start to climb back up?

Halifax advised to bid on 2020 women’s world hockey championship | CBC News
Halifax’s special events advisory committee is set to decide Wednesday whether it will recommend regional council approve Hockey Nova Scotia’s request for $250,000 to help host the event.

Partnership for Progress
While in many other programs and projects the IIHF develops ice hockey around the world actively with its members, the Partnership for Progress will additionally bring bigger and smaller organizations together to form partnerships and help developing hockey countries not just at the level of national associations but also between leagues and clubs.

New Rule Book is here - IIHF
"Relaxed rules for goals scored when the net frame is displaced. As long as the posts are at least partially on the pegs then a goal will count if the puck crosses the goal line" Okay who's going to be brave enough to tell Noora?

European club hockey

WHL (Russia) Women’s Hockey Update: June 27th, 2018 | CONWAY'S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
It has been a little while since our last Women's Hockey update here, for the simple reason that with the off-season lull in full effect, there simply has not been much news

SWHL (Switzerland) EV Bomo Thun and the Brandis Ladies to work together - swisshockeynews.ch
The two Bernese teams EV Bomo Thun (SWHL A) and the Brandis Ladies (SWHL B) have decided to work together.

Men’s hockey

Hayley Wickenheiser assisting Maple Leafs in development camp
TORONTO -- Hayley Wickenheiser has been on a lot of benches during her storied career, but never before could she recall standing behind one.