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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Delivering a message on and off the ice

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Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s been kind of a week in women’s hockey. On Thursday, Budweiser teamed up with the PWHPA to bring more visibility to their mission and try to attract more support both at the grassroots and the corporate level. What is otherwise an excellent video is somewhat marred by the presence of Don Cherry.

Hockey Hall of Famer Jayna Hefford, who was the Interim Commissioner in the final season of the CWHL and is now the Operations Consultant for the PWHPA talked to Tim and Sid following the launch of the campaign.

The Women’s National Teams for Canada and the USA spent a week practicing at the Penguins’ practice facility and played a pair of games. The games were sold out, Canada swept the series, and streaming was pay only so you probably haven’t seen much of it. The Ice Garden has the goal by goal breakdowns of both games for you.

Goal by Goal: Canada beats USA in first exhibition series meetup in Pittsburgh, 4-1 - The Ice Garden
Bach and Poulin dominate while Knight gets on the board

Goal by Goal: Canada takes game two of exhibition series over USA, 5-3 - The Ice Garden
Canada sweeps USA on the weekend ahead of their December rivalry series

If you only watch one goal, watch this one:

While they had the media there and paying attention, the players took some time to talk about the PWHPA, their goals, and the current situation. Hilary Knight made waves in an AP interview where she referred to the NWHL as “a glorified beer league”. Knight has said the same thing of the CWHL, and she’s not the only player to have used the term or similar descriptions.

NWHL fans don’t like to hear this, but it’s not an insult, it’s a fact. Knight is using an image many hockey fans will relate to in order to convey the situation that players faced in both leagues and that the members of the PWHPA found unacceptable. Lack of resources as basic as enough stick tape or pre-game meals, lack of personnel, lack of promotion, lack of pay, and an expectation that where things fell short, the players would step in to cover the gaps themselves.

Both the NWHL and the CWHL presented themselves as professional leagues but the term was more aspirational than accurate. When it was founded, the CWHL provided the most elite level of play in women’s hockey and calling it a professional league was a way of insisting that these players be given the respect they deserved. A sort of “if you build it they will come” idea. Yes, by the end of the CWHL both leagues were paying players to a certain extent but at no point in either league’s history have players been paid a living wage, and both leagues would absolutely fall apart without the support of many volunteers. The NWHL has occasionally pointed to the ECHL as a parallel but the idea that the best players in women’s hockey should be treated only as well as players in the third best North American men’s hockey league is appalling — and even then the NWHL can only compare themselves on a per-game rate of pay not an annual salary rate.

Having that reality expressed bluntly after so many years of a fake it til you make it mentality is shocking, but it illustrates just how done with the old system many of the players are. If you want prettier quotes, look back at what players were saying at the PWHPA showcase in Toronto. The PWHPA was formed for the express purpose of demonstrating that existing conditions are not good enough and pushing for something better. They’re not always going to care if you like what they have to say.

Meanwhile, heads-up to Toronto fans! On Saturday November 23 there will be a game between GTA East and GTA West, known as Team Larocque and Team Fortino (don’t ask me which is which). Tickets are 20 bucks, it’s an afternoon game at York University. Plenty of former Furies and former Thunder will be on the ice, it should be a fun game. Come out and support!

International hockey

Snap Shots: Canada 4, USA 1
Thoughts, musings and observations from Canada’s 4-1 win over the U.S. on Friday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

New U.S. hockey forward Sophia Shaver shares her recovery from grief after brother’s suicide
This weekend, Sophia Shaver suits up for Team USA in her first senior call-up. It’s an opportunity for her to share how she coped after the death of her brother.

Marie-Philip Poulin: Captain Clutch
”The style of player (Marie-Philip Poulin) is, she’s obviously high skill, but she plays the game the right way. She plays a hard game. She doesn’t mind going to the difficult areas. She likes the physical side of things. She’s a leader. The way she approaches the game - she’s such a professional, she takes care of herself and looks after people.”

Damkronorna lost in the first match after the boycott | Aftonbladet
It was a positive first match, the speed was very high, says head coach Ylva Martinsen.

Head coach Pasi Mustonen saw both good and bad in the Naisleijonat against Russia: “In the last two games we had nothing to worry about” | Yle Sports | yle.fi
Cowboy striker Susanna Tapani opened the goal mixer at the last minute after getting used to playing with women again.

Slight defeat for female lions - “We made Russia as a whole” Yle Sports | yle.fi
According to head coach Pasi Mustonen, Finland had complete control of the match. According to the pilot, the team does not yet have enough scoring skills.

Comment: Womens Hockey was Forgotten Forgotten Immediately After World Championship Drug - JYP’s example is worth gold | Yle Sports | yle.fi
JYP’s decision to retire Riikka Sallinen’s number in the men’s Finnish league is exactly what a Finnish hockey player needs, writes Kirsi Teiskonlahti of Yle Sports.

PWHPA

Top women’s hockey players resolute in fight for new league - GreenwichTime
Hilary Knight has a gold medal. What she would like is a full-time job.

PWHPA taps Stompin' Tom Connors in campaign for women's pro league | CTV News Windsor
Women striving for the professional hockey league of their dreams want to stay visible during a gap in their Dream Gap Tour.

PWHPA, Budweiser take another step in partnership - The Ice Garden
Chelsea Purcell talks about their partnership

STINSON: NHL has to finally step up as women’s hockey stars sit out season | Toronto Sun
Recent public-awareness campaigns about the CWHL’s demise are great, but they only need to be directed to one place: NHL corporate offices

Professional women’s hockey players fight for future and hope to ‘leave this sport better than how we found it’ - Chicago Sun-Times
After the CWHL folded this spring, more than 200 of the world’s best female players decided enough was enough. They banded together and formed the PWHPA with the goal of creating an economically viable league.

HHOF

Goyette on Wickenheiser: The player, the person, the competitor and now the Hall of Famer – The Athletic
When Hayley Wickenheiser and Danielle Goyette first met the only thing they had in common was the universal language of hockey.

Q&A with Hayley Wickenheiser on becoming a doctor, working with the Leafs and her Hall of Fame speech – The Athletic
From winning gold medals to keeping patients healthy, to helping grow the game, Hayley Wickenheiser can soon add HHOF member to the list.

Media

Breakaway: A story about hockey, visibility, and hope | Hockey in Society
In a world where Tilda Swinton was cast to play a Tibetan in Doctor Strange, and Scarlett Johanssen was cast for a Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell, it is an understatement to say that there is a lack of Asian visibility in Canadian and American popular culture.

NCAA

Polls: USCHO - USA Today - The Ice Garden

Weekend Wrap: November 11 | College Hockey | USCHO.com
Boston College suffered their first lost of the season and Harvard upset Princeton with their fifth win in a row to start the season.

Women’s Hockey: Daryl Watts’ journey from Boston College transfer to Wisconsin star · The Badger Herald

She's a real showstopper - Winnipeg Free Press
Ten months ago, Ste. Anne’s Raygan Kirk made a major statement at the world under-18 women's world championships.

Wisconsin’s Daryl Watts wins women's hockey National Player of the Month Award | NCAA.com
Wisconsin’s Daryl Watts has been named the Women’s Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Player of the Month for September/October 2019 after leading the nation in points (28.)

European club hockey

Behind the Glass: Hiirikoski’s Hard Luck and the Rise of HV71 - The Ice Garden
An all-SDHL edition of BtG

U Sports

Top 10 Tuesday — U SPORTS
With perfect starts, Concordia and UofT are one and two in this week’s top 10.

Gee-Gees beat Ravens to nab Alerts Cup – The Charlatan, Carleton’s independent newspaper
The annual crosstown rivalry game between the Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees was underscored by high tensions and high stakes.

Une soirée remplie d’émotions pour les Gee-Gees - La Rotonde
Après avoir été informé que l’en­traî­neur-chef du programme, Yanick Evola, avait démis­sionné de ses fonc­tions quelques heures avant la rencontre, l’équipe d’ho­ckey fémi­nin de l’Uni­ver­sité d’Ot­tawa (U d’O) (2–3–1) l’a emporté face aux Cara­bins de l’Uni­ver­sité de Montréal (3–1–1) par la marque de 2 à 1.

AWIHL

2019-20 AWIHL season: Round 3 | Ice Hockey News Australia
Round 3 of the 2019-20 AWIHL season has finished with the Adelaide Rush defeating the Perth Inferno in both games at the Cockburn Ice Arena.

NWHL

NWHL releases Twitch viewership data for first month of 2019-20 season - The Ice Garden
According to the NWHL they have an average of 67,000 viewers per game and 6,700 of those are from the UK. If you think those numbers pass the smell test... good luck. Note they didn’t release the “Average Unique Viewers” just the “Average Viewers”. Learn the difference.

Beauts’ Army Captain Ashley Birdsall Is Helping Veterans With PTSD
Buffalo Beauts forward-defender Ashley Birdsall speaks with THW about her role with 23rd Veteran - a non-profit organization that helps veterans with PTSD.