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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Meeri Räisänen, the star without a net

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She backstopped Finland to a World Championship bronze in 2015 but has yet to find a place to play for 2018-19.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 2 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Story of the week

CWHL Draft in Review: Worcester, Toronto, and Markham

Why the Connecticut Whale should pursue Meeri Räisänen - The Ice Garden

At the CWHL draft we got answers to most of our questions about player destinations. We found out where Alex Rigsby would end up (Calgary), if Toronto would be able to snag both Mellissa Channell and Julia Fedeski (yes, and they picked up Emma Greco too!), and who Worcester had as their pre-signings (Lauren Williams and Morgan Turner). At the end of the evening, though, one big question remained: what the heck is going on with Meeri Räisänen?

As mentioned by Kirsten Whelan in her draft wrap-up for The Victory Press, first Räisänen was selected by Markham in the eighth round. Then the Worcester Blades, who are the only CWHL team with an opening in their top two goalie slots, picked her two rounds later. Thunder GM Chelsea Purcell clarified after the draft that she’d selected Räisänen either as possible trade leverage with Worcester, or if that didn’t work out, they’d tell her to play somewhere else this season—Räisänen wants to play, not sit on the bench as a third goalie—and keep her as an option for next year when Markham might have more room in goal.

(Note: While drafted CWHL prospects are usually considered free agents after a year, that’s only if they’re not kept on the 40-player roster by the team that drafted them, a lesson Purcell said she learned with Russian goalie Mariya Sorokina, who the Thunder drafted last season. Point is, with the right paperwork, the Thunder can hold onto Räisänen’s CWHL rights through to next season).

Räisänen, who is very good, would be an excellent acquisition for Worcester and a way to take some of the load off Lauren Dahm’s shoulders. Worcester also drafted the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Jessica Convery in the fourth round, though, so they do have options. As Meredith Foster points out in her piece for The Ice Garden, she’d also be a great fit for the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL, who are in even direr goalie straits than the Blades. The fact that Worcester left her until the 10th round and no other teams have jumped at the opportunity to sign her since is frankly ridiculous. The woman has made the IIHF World Championship All-Star Team twice! The only reason she isn’t Finland’s starter is because Noora Räty is Noora Räty! She’s world-class, and deserves playing time on a pro team.

Whether it’s with Worcester, Connecticut, or somewhere in Scandinavia, I hope we find out Räisänen’s destination soon—and, selfishly, I hope it’s one of the first two options. I’d love to be able to watch her play professionally.

CWHL

CWHL Draft in Review: Calgary, Shenzhen, and Montreal

Les Canadiennes add 12 players in CWHL Draft - Eyes On The Prize
Six defenders, four forwards make up the team’s 2018 class

2018 CWHL Draft: Toronto Furies Markham Thunder select rookie prospects - Pension Plan Puppets
Both teams will have some hard choices to make as they bring in a strong rookie class.

Women’s pro hockey arrives in Worcester - News - Worcester Magazine - Worcester, MA
While Worcester’s collective renaissance punditry fell over themselves to herald the Pawtucket Red Sox deal last week, another major sports announcement took place that further solidifies Worcester not just as a sports town, but more specifically, a bonafide New England Hockeytown.

Mélodie Daoust en bleu, rouge et Bleu-blanc-rouge | ICI.Radio-Canada.ca
Contrairement à plusieurs athlètes olympiques, Mélodie Daoust n'a pas l'intention de ralentir dans l'année qui suit les Jeux de Pyeongchang... bien au contraire.

Makela putting in off-season work | Local Sports | chroniclejournal.com
Amanda Makela realizes there’s a lot of work to be done if her Toronto Furies are to return to glory. She’s doing her part this summer to deliver the goods

Cherie Piper joins the Markham Thunder coaching staff - Pension Plan Puppets
The reigning Clarkson Cup champs add some hardware behind the bench.

2018 Training Camp - Markham Thunder

NWHL

The troubling reluctance of women’s ice hockey to combat prejudice | Sport | The Guardian
Several of the NWHL’s stars have posted tweets that have alienated many of the league’s fans, but concerns have been largely ignored

2018 NWHL Free Agency Tracker - The Ice Garden
Your convenient one-stop shop for all the NWHL signing news.

Champions Cup moved to United States - The Ice Garden
From Norrbotten to the NY-NJ Metro, is shock Champions Cup relocation a red flag?

Fins up, Anya! - The Ice Garden
Anya Battaglino announces it’s time for her to hang up her skates

Bray Ketchum calls it a career - The Ice Garden
The star winger and founding member of the Riveters franchise has retired.

Mike Murphy’s RITSAC Presentation on Women’s Hockey Analytics - The Ice Garden
If you missed Mike’s presentation at RITSAC, you can watch it here!

Para ice hockey

Local teen headed to USA sled hockey tryouts - WXYZ.com
The 13-year old found a love for sled hockey while trying to find a sport to play during her physical therapy.

Women’s sledge hockey team holds tryouts as group looks to gain national recognition | CBC News
Windsor, Ont. athletes Jessica Matassa, Ashley Goure and Dani McPhee are gearing up for another season of sledge hockey with tryouts this weekend. But what the players really want is to take their sport to the next level.

Women’s national sledge hockey team coming to Amherstburg | Windsor Star
Jessica Matassa has spent years trying to get the Canadian Women’s Sledge Hockey Team to Amherstburg. This weekend, she finally will.

International hockey

Monika and Nina Waidacher will no longer play for the national team - swisshockeynews.ch
Monika and Nina Waidacher have decided to focus on the ZSC Lions for the rest of their career and will thus no longer suit up for the Swiss national team.

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica Ayala, August 31, 2018
Lara Stalder interview

Women’s Hockey Update: August 28th, 2018 | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
We have hockey games to talk about! Both Russian women’s national teams (Senior and Under-18) played their first tournaments of 2018-19 late last week, and, well, fortunes were mixed.

Finns win women’s EHT event
Women’s Euro Hockey Tour debut in Czech Republic

Asian tournaments set
Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi to hold events

A Guide to Women’s Hockey After the Olympics: Part I
In Part I of this series, we’ll look at the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States women’s national hockey team and how you can watch them during the 2018-19 season.

Camp in Beijing
First IIHF Asian Women’s Training Camp held

NCAA

Miller seeks up to $3M more from UMD | Bemidji Pioneer
Attorneys for Shannon Miller believe the former University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey coach should be reinstated to her position or awarded up to an additional $3 million to compensate her for future lost wages and benefits.

RIT chooses former Adrian women's coach Davis to lead Tigers' women's program | College Hockey | USCHO.com
RIT announced Wednesday the hiring of Chad Davis as the new women's hockey coach.

Chad Davis named RIT's Bruce B. Bates women's hockey coach
Lou Spiotti Jr., Rochester Institute of Technology executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, recently announced the hiring of Chad Davis as the Bruce B. Bates women’s hockey coach, effective immediately.

European club hockey

SWHL (Switzerland) First trans woman in Swiss hockey to play for EHC Basel - swisshockeynews.ch
The SIHF allows transgender people of both sexes to hit the ice. They added a corresponding passage to their set of rules.

Ladies Lugano to be independent from HC Lugano - swisshockeynews.ch
HC Lugano has announced that their women’s team, Ladies Lugano, is to become an independent association. This will come into effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 season.

WHL (Russia) Tatiana Rafter signs in Russia - The Ice Garden
The Isobel Cup Champion will be playing hockey on the other side of the globe next season.

SDHL (Sweden) Swedish Women’s Hockey- SDHL 2018/19 Pre-season Preview - Eurohockey.com
Swedish Women’s Hockey League starts it’s 11th year and the previous five seasons have been dominated by two teams - Linköping HC and Luleå HF. But things maybe about to change.

SDHL tv-sänds på C More | Aftonbladet
Twelve SDHL matches will be broadcast live on TV this season.

Kan spela hockey på heltid – tack vare sin bror i NHL | Aftonbladet
Fanny Rask is one of the few in SDHL who plays full-time hockey. She makes a professional effort thanks to financial support - from her brother.

U Sports

UNB women’s hockey holds first training camp in a decade | CBC News
The UNB women’s hockey team is back on the ice for its first training camp in a decade. It will play its regular-season opener next month against Mount Allison.

IN PHOTOS: Panthers women’s hockey squad hits the ice | Hockey | Sports | Hockey | The Guardian
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The UPEI Panthers women's hockey squad took to the ice for the first time Monday as they prepare for an important 2018-19 hockey season.

Harassment lawsuit names University of Lethbridge, hockey coach and athletic director | Globalnews.ca
”I do not think that this is normal behaviour that should be condoned across Canada for elite coaches at a post-secondary institution of learning,”

AWIHL (Australia)

AWIHL news: 3 September 2018 | Ice Hockey News Australia
Adelaide Rush - The Rush have announced Jamie Holland as their new head coach ahead of the 2018-19 season.

2018-19 AWIHL season schedule | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League have released the schedule for the 2018-19 season.

Perth Inferno 2018-19 roster | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Perth Inferno have announced their roster for the upcoming 2018-19 season.