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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Bruins and Pride form fourth NHL-NWHL partnership

It sounds good, but what does it mean for the league?

2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Women’s Hockey Classic Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Story of the Week

Bruins strike partnership with Boston Pride to spread the word about women’s hockey – The Athletic (subscription)

NWHL’s Boston Pride Announce Partnership With NHL’s Boston Bruins- Forbes.com

Neely: Bruins 'Committed to Growing' Women's Hockey

The NWHL announced last week that the Boston Pride had formed a partnership with the Boston Bruins, and jaws dropped everywhere, mostly at the idea that Jeremy Jacobs was giving anyone money for anything, much less women’s hockey. (One of us—we’ll leave it up to the reader to guess who—wondered aloud who shoved Jacobs in a closet to get this deal done. Considering the Bruins’ historic resistance to any sort of partnership with either pro league — remember the Blades were in Boston for five seasons, won multiple cups and were chock full of Olympians before the Pride came along — it seems a valid question.)

However on second blush this is yet another NHL partnership where no one is willing to talk money and the support for the team appears to be more in the way of gestures like sending the Bruins mascot to a game and providing hats for a giveaway than anything that looks to improve the lives of the players, like a pay raise. We’ve seen these in both the NWHL and the CWHL; “partnerships” that are opaque and nebulous, with marketing help that slowly peters out over time. It almost reads like the Bruins decided they should get into supporting girls’ hockey and decided that it would look bad if they did that without at least being able to provide pro women’s hockey players to show up at the sessions.

That said, this is Boston. The only area in the States that can be said to be their rival in terms of women’s hockey development and availability is Minnesota, although as is true most places, that outreach would be valuable towards poorer girls and girls of color who face greater barriers to entry. The locations selected for the Learn to Play clinics do not give confidence that this is something the program is going to emphasize, and there didn’t seem to be a stated commitment to helping girls who couldn’t otherwise afford it attend — $100 is pretty cheap for four weeks of hockey instruction and new equipment, but it’s still a bit of an ask for families who aren’t well-off.

There’s also deputy commissioner Hayley Moore’s claim in The Athletic that:

“Anytime we can align one of the teams with an NHL team, it’s a step in the right direction for a merger with the CWHL,”

This is blatantly bullshit. It’s so blatantly bullshit that I’m having trouble breaking down how bold-faced a lie this is. The only angle I can see this being remotely true from is if Dani Rylan needs to profit or at least break even from the NWHL before she can let it go and allow it to dissolve in order to create a new entity that encompasses teams from both leagues. If whatever the undisclosed amounts of money the Sabres, Devils, Wild and Bruins are providing to the league gets her closer to that goal I could see this being sort of true. But the statement implies that somehow the more NHL teams support the NWHL the more likely it is that a merger will take place.

The decisions the NHL teams make together as a league are certainly influenced by owners and there’s some thought that Jacobs in particular was a very influential voice behind the most recent lockout. But to imply that the voices of four owners (or nine if you include the three teams partnered with the CWHL plus the Penguins and the Predators) will somehow convince the other 20-plus owners to taken on a money-losing proposition anytime soon is preposterous.

To Forbes, Dani Rylan said this:

“It’s a multi-year deal and their support will help us offset various costs,” said NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan. “A lot of the focus will be on marketing and promotional support and a commitment to grow the game in the Massachusetts area, from the grassroots all the way to the pros.”

Again, Massachusetts does not exactly need the game grown, unless the Bruins and/or Pride are willing to invest real time and money into outreach towards kids who aren’t automatically presented with hockey as an option already. But a multi-year deal that offsets league costs in some way is at least something.

Interestingly, the most positive, and in some ways the most substantive quotes come from Bruins president Cam Neely.

“I think if young girls see opportunities, not just at the collegiate level - there are players right now playing collegiate hockey that probably say, ‘I can extend my hockey career to a degree.’

We’re going to help [in] solidifying ice time for them and paying for ice time for them, which is a good thing for us to be doing.”

He also suggests that a Bruins / Pride doubleheader could be in the cards at some point. Fingers crossed.

The Athletic was told that any raise in salary that might result from this would not be implemented this year and would come league-wide. So there’s some hope that this deal will improve things for all the players next season and I really hope it does. But experience tells us that however shiny “an NHL partnership” sounds, the proof will be in the execution, and for that we’re going to have to wait and see.

NWHL

NWHL Weekend Wrap: Week Eleven
For the first time in league history, all five NWHL teams were active in league play in the same weekend. The Buffalo Beauts and Metropolitan Riveters met, while the Minnesota Whitecaps traveled the east coast to face the Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale.

Hal Gill, Chris Mason Named Honorary Coaches for 2019 NWHL All-Star Game
The Nashville Predators and National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced Thursday that former longtime NHL players and current Predators broadcasters Hal Gill and Chris Mason will serve as the Honorary Coaches at the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Cody McCormick named as Buffalo Beauts GM - Die By The Blade
From skills coach to head coach, McCormick takes on front office role

The Beauts are moving forward without Sarah Edney - The Ice Garden
Buffalo has lost a valuable defender and it will be tricky to replace her in the lineup

Why the Beauts are the top team in the NWHL - The Ice Garden
Despite being third in the standings, the Beauts are the current “team to beat”

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica Ayala, January 11, 2019
Interview with Denisa Krizova of the Boston Pride.

Randy Velischek on the state of the Riveters - The Ice Garden
“The systems don’t change a lot. If you watch an NHL game there really isn’t a lot of variation. What we do is basically the same thing that the Devils, the Maple Leafs, and the Beauts are doing.” - This man is batshit crazy and has no business coaching anyone.

Amanda Leveille Making Her Home in MN
From the North Star State to the Queen City, Amanda Leveille has proven herself to be a spectacular goaltender in the National Women’s Hockey League

CWHL

Coaches, puck drops, and singers released for CWHL All Star Game - The Ice Garden
It’s been one ... year since the last CWHL All Star Game

Geneviève Lacasse returns as Les Canadiennes split series with Shenzhen - Eyes On The Prize
With three points out of four, Montreal closes gap on first place Calgary.

CWHL Recap: Calgary Inferno beat Toronto Furies 4-1 - Pension Plan Puppets
Shea Tiley saved 50 and Renata Fast scored one, but it wasn’t enough.

Furies douse Inferno 3-0 - Pension Plan Puppets
Elaine Chuli gets the shutout as the Furies split the weekend series.

International hockey

Pernilla Winberg was celebrated for over 300 national team games | Aftonbladet
Pernilla Winberg, 29, debuted for the Damkronorna as a 13-year-old.

Women’s U-18 World Championships

IIHF - Canada wins gold in OT
Wheeler scores the golden goal

Team USA Takes Silver at Women’s U18 World: A Post-Mortem - SB Nation College Hockey
Team USA took the silver medal at the Women’s World U18 championships over the weekend after a heart-breaking 3-2 overtime defeat against rival Canada.

IIHF - Finns claim bronze
Two quick goals in the second did it

IIHF - Swedes take 5th place
Maurer shines again in 2-1 loss

IIHF - Czechs stay up
Valiant Japan demoted after 3-1 loss in deciding game

IIHF - Kirk named MVP
All-Star team announced

U-18 Div 1A

IIHF - Slovakia makes history
Slovak U18 women’s team beat Germany to reach top level

U-18 Div 1B

IIHF - Goalies impress in Dumfries
France takes gold, allows 1 goal in 5 games

NCAA

Polls: USCHO - USA Today - The Ice Garden

Women’s D-I: Morgan building new program at LIU-Brooklyn, looks for quick success | College Hockey | USCHO.com
Rob Morgan will be the first coach at new program LIU-Brooklyn, and he is using his previous experience building a program at St. Norbert and coaching at Yale to look for quick success.

NH college hockey: Rochester’s Wenczkowski, Wildcats find their game | Sports | unionleader.com
ONCE Taylor Wenczkowski found her stride this season, so did the University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team. Wenczkowski, a redshirt junior from Rochester, said she mentally put everything together

GOAL BY GOAL: BC Women’s Hockey Earns Statement Win In 7-5 Decision Over #3 Northeastern - BC Interruption
FINALLY

Levy Lets in Six for Gopher Women Victory - Hockey Wilderness
Minnesota beats Minnesota State 6-3, completing the sweep

NCAA Fantasy Hockey Week 15: Post Weekend Standings - The Ice Garden
We have a new leader! Also, SNODGRASS

The Takeaway: Highlighting the women’s Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees - The Ice Garden
Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees include Jessie Eldridge, Annie Pankowski, Jacyn Reeves, Samantha Ridgewell

AWIHL (Australia)

2018-19 AWIHL season: Round 8 | Ice Hockey News Australia

European club hockey

SDHL (Sweden) Karvinen scores four goals in Luleå's latest victory | Aftonbladet
Third match in three days.

Modo tricks extra points - after 24 penalty shots| Aftonbladet
Modo, second in SDHL, finally got a victory in the home meeting with the table sower Brynäs.

Brynäs Jennifer Wakefield forgot her skates | Aftonbladet
Oops, Jennifer Wakefield.

HV71's Fanny Rask full-time professional - sponsored by Victor Rask | Aftonbladet
Fanny Rask of HV71 has ice hockey as a full-time job.

The Nordic News: Welcome, 2019 - The Ice Garden
Let’s do that new year.

U Sports

TOP 10 TUESDAY — U SPORTS
This week UNB gets a vote!

Springdale native Abby Clarke named Canadian university female athlete of the week | Hockey | Sports | The Western Star
Fifth-year player for St. Thomas Tommies has more wins than any other netminder in the country

Western campus radio celebrates first all-female hockey broadcast | The London Free Press
All women, on air and on the ice. Western’s campus radio station is going live with an all-female broadcast crew when the Mustangs women’s hockey team hits the ice Saturday afternoon — a first in the station’s more than three-decade history.

Para ice hockey

Sledge Hockey Jamboree puts spotlight on growing women’s game | CHAT News Today!
It was a weekend that Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation could have only dreamed of a few years ago, with a large turnout at their first Sledge Hockey Jamboree.