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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Looking forward and stepping backward

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Women’s hockey is still struggling for some basic respect.

Nana Fujimoto #1 of Japan looks on in the third period against Switzerland during the Women’s Ice Hockey Classification game 
Japan’s legendary goalie Nana Fujimoto is in action with Team Japan in Calgary this week.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Some changes are coming to women’s hockey. Linda Välimäki is the latest member of the Finnish national team to retire. Team Russia has a new coach. Team Canada and Team USA are checking out their latest batch of prospects before their tournament next week.

Meanwhile, the fight for equal pay has a new frontier in Sweden. And the Top level Women’s Under-18 World Championships, a tournament that is already criminally under-publicized in comparison to its counterpart, the Men’s World Juniors... will take place at the same time as the World Juniors this year.

The two tournaments have the same start date of December 26th, and the Women’s Under-18s will finish three days before the Men’s gold medal game. Possibly worse from an attendance perspective, the two tournaments will take place about a three hour drive apart—the men in Ostrava, Czechia and the women in Bratislava, Slovakia. (For reference, if a country is hosting one IIHF tournament with two sites, like Halifax and Truro at Women’s Worlds this year, there’s a rule that the two sites cannot be more than three hours apart. So really, the U18 tournament is close enough to be geographically overlapping with the Juniors.)

To say that this is staggeringly unfair to the women who will be competing in this tournament is an understatement. It’s Feminism 101 levels of obvious that if you throw all the resources and spotlight and marketing at the boys and leave nothing for the girls, you’re not treating them at all the same. Normally the women’s tournament takes place shortly after the men’s, or starts just as the men’s tournament goes to the medal round. This year the site for the U-18 women’s tournament was announced late, which may have contributed to the issue. Is it likely that the IIHF (or the Slovakian Ice Hockey Federation with IIHF assistance) will provide some form of low-definition, somewhat reliable internet stream with little to no commentary for those of us wanting to watch from abroad? Yes, possibly. Will the coverage be anywhere near the level that TSN provides for the World Juniors? Fuck no.

Speaking of Halifax, that tournament ends on a Friday. Also, it’s two weeks earlier than the 2019 tournament, which was earlier than the 2018 tournament. In other words, the tournament conflicts more and more with regular season NHL games. Yes, the Friday in question is Good Friday, which is a stat holiday in Canada, and I suppose you might get more viewers during the NHL regular season than you would during the playoffs but ending the biggest women’s hockey tournament of the year on a weekday is beyond bizarre.

The IIHF and Hockey Canada talk a good game when it comes to the equality of women’s hockey and growing the game, but scheduling shenanigans like these, not to mention the fact that the IIHF does not award any prize money at all to the winners of the Women’s World Championships, show they’ve still got a long way to go.

sticktap to @nicktheiihffan who brought this to our attention.

International hockey

Team Finland forward Linda Välimäki retires - The Ice Garden
One of the country’s best

Linda Välimäki hangs up her skates: “Naisleijonat was the greatest team” | Yle Sports | yle.fi
Välimäki played a long career in the Women’s League and represented Finland at three Winter Olympics.

The retirement of older players gives young prospects an opportunity with the Naisleijonat | Yle Sports | yle.fi
The women’s ice hockey team opens up a number of seats for young players, as no fewer than four older players have moved on.

A New Era For the Russian Women’s National Team | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
The summer of 2019 is turning into a significant one for the Russian national hockey program.

Sweden’s sports world turmoil - discrimination ombudsman seeks clarification of paid fees, now hockey union accused of sex discrimination | Yle Sports | yle.fi
In the Swedish sports world, the unequal bonuses paid to national team athletes have been talked about in the summer.

Team USA announces 2019 Women’s National Festival details - The Ice Garden
The training camp will also be used to select the U18 and U22 teams for the annual series against Canada.

Hockey Canada Summer Showcase

Hockey Canada’s women’s Summer Showcase: schedule, rosters, streams - Pension Plan Puppets
Canada’s selection camp for the women’s Under-22 and Under-18 teams gets underway this week.

Les Bleues ouvrent leur saison au Canada | Hockey féminin | Hockeyarchives
L’équipe de France féminine débute sa saison 2019-2020 en ce début de mois d’août par un stage à 7500 kilomètres de l’hexagone, un stage qui s’annonce particulièrement intense et forcément enrichissant.

Q&A with Finland’s Susanna Tapani - The Ice Garden
The multisport athlete talks ringette, the SDHL, and more.

PWHPA

Amanda Kessel has new hockey life as face of Rangers’ initiative
Amanda Kessel said she sees the need for opportunities like Junior Rangers Girls Hockey. When she is coaching all-girls hockey camps, Kessel said she talks with young girls who have never been around so many female hockey players.

NWHL

2019-2020 NWHL Signing Tracker - The Ice Garden
10 signings over the past two weeks. Highlights include Emma Vlasic, Audra Richards, Marie-Jo Pelletier and the third goalie signing of the offseason, Allie Morse.

A closer look at the 2019-20 NWHL schedule - The Ice Garden
Every NWHL team faces unique scheduling challenges in season five

NWHL releases 2019–20 season schedule - The Ice Garden
Season five will have an expanded 24-game schedule

NWHL’s Beauts Find New Home
The NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts have found a new home rink for the 2019-20 season.

NWHL Roster Recap: 10 weeks of signings - The Ice Garden
Rosters, notes, and news from around the league

Riveters and Whale to host season openers during World Girls’ Hockey Weekend - The Ice Garden
The NWHL sets the date for the beginning of its fifth season

Boston Pride play through rough patch in women’s hockey – Boston Herald
More than 200 women’s hockey players declared they wouldn’t play in any North American pro league when the season rolls around this fall.

European club hockey

SDHL (Sweden) Damkronorna in a dispute with Luleå - refusing to release players | Aftonbladet
The Damkronorna will be without six Luleå players at the pre-season camp in the retreat before the Division IA World Championships.

Meeri Räisänen relocates Connecticut to Stockholm - new site found at AIK | Yle Sports | yle.fi
Goalkeeper Meeri Räisänen, who played in the NWHL last season, has signed an agreement with AIK Sweden.

Gothenburg HC invites women’s team from Saudi Arabia | Aftonbladet
A Saudi hockey team in Gothenburg? This will become reality in August, at the initiative of Gothenburg HC, which wants to build bridges between different cultures and broaden the ice hockey world.

Frölunda supporters become a sponsor for a women’s club | Aftonbladet
Goa Gubbar will support the women’s team Gothenburg HC both financially and in the stands.

ZhHL (Russia) Kunlun Red Stars Vanke Rays officially joining the Russian Women’s Hockey League - The Ice Garden
Chinese-based club finds a new home after closing of the CWHL

Mankato’s Rebekah Kolstad to play pro hockey in China, Russia | Local Sports | mankatofreepress.com
Rebekah Kolstad had a good relationship with women’s hockey coach Brian Idalski in her two seasons playing hockey for him at the University of North Dakota.

Women’s Hockey Update: July 24th, 2019 (Updated!) | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
Things are getting busier on the Russian women’s hockey scene, as the 2019-20 season approaches!

SWHL (Switzerland) German international Jessica Ujcik reinforces Bomo Thun - swisshockeynews.ch
The 23-year-old defensewoman arrives from the United States, where she has played for the Morrisville State College.

Four additions - Neuchâtel completes their roster - swisshockeynews.ch
The Neuchâtel Hockey Academy has signed the sisters Lina and Emma Ingold, as well as Nicole Andenmatten and Fiona Stehrenberger.

U Sports

Olympic champion Haley Irwin named Rams assistant coach - The Official Site for Ryerson University Athletics
The Ryerson Rams women's hockey team is excited to announce the appointment of Olympic gold medalist Haley Irwin as the team's new full-time assistant coach.

Les Carabins accueilleront le championnat canadien en 2021 - Hockey féminin
For the first time in their history the Carabins women's hockey team will attempt to lay their hands on the national championship banner in front of their fans in 2021.

NCAA

Best breakout performances of the 2018-19 NCAA season - The Ice Garden
Who took the biggest steps forward in NCAA play this season?

Kenzie Kent Joins Harvard Women’s Lacrosse Coaching Staff - BC Interruption
After completing an incredible career at Boston College, Kenzie Kent has joined the Harvard Women’s Lacrosse coaching staff, the Crimson announced this week.

Russia, Sweden, Italy ... hockey has taken new SCSU assistant coach around the world | Brainerd Dispatch

CWHL

Selecting the All-Time CWHL First Team - The Ice Garden
Six of the best to play in the CWHL

Selecting the All-Time CWHL Second Team - The Ice Garden
Another group of the best of the best to play in the CWHL

AWIHL

Inferno re-sign Scala | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Perth Inferno have announced the re-signing of American forward Elizabeth Scala for the 2019-20 AWIHL season.