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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Sweden cancels Four Nations Cup

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The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation may believe they’re protecting themselves, but are they doing long-term damage instead?

Erika Grahm #24 and Emma Eliasson #22 of Sweden react after losing to Switzerland 4-3 during the Ice Hockey Women’s Bronze Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics 
Erika Grahm #24 is one of the Swedish Women’s National Team players fighting for better support from the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation.
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

On Friday, just hours before the start of the SDHL season, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation announced that they were cancelling the Four Nations Cup tournament scheduled for November 5-9 in Luleå, Sweden.

The federation had met with the players’ union only days before in an effort to negotiate a new contract for the Swedish women’s national team. The union had presented a proposal, the federation had presented a counter proposal, and both sides seemed to think the differences were not insurmountable. Although the federation’s press release implied they had consulted with the Damkronorna players prior to the announcement, the players reacted with shock and anger, insisting they had not been asked and that they had wanted a few days to consider their response to the federation’s counter proposal.

The press release indicates that the reasoning for cancelling the tournament almost two months in advance was out of consideration for the travel planning of the other three national teams that would be participating: Canada, USA and Finland. This is particularly ironic, as one of the Swedish players’ issues was around not being given adequate travel time, including arriving at international tournaments the same day as their first game and not scheduling any pre-tournament warm-up games local to tournaments as many other national teams do.

Finnish national team head coach Pasi Mustonen may have hit on more pertinent issues for Sweden: cancelling the tournament saves the Swedish federation money. The host is responsible for expenses for the other three teams, and the Damkronorna has not been playing at the same level as Finland, USA and Canada for several years. The Swedish team has come in fourth several years in a row and there’s no reason to think they would have been able to do any better in front of their home fans.

Money is certainly a concern for the federation: Erika Grahm revealed that one of the issues in the most recent proposal was around bonuses. The Swedish federation had no objection to including bonuses for winning the top level World Championships or the Olympics, neither of which the Damkronorna are playing in this year (and if they don’t pull up their ranking in 2020 they will need to play in the qualifying tournament for a chance at a berth in the 2022 Olympics), but did not want to agree to what Grahm called a “small, symbolic sum” as a bonus should the Swedish team win the Division I World Championships this year.

It’s an extremely disappointing move by the federation, one that affects the World Championships preparations for Canada, USA and Finland. While Hockey Canada and USA Hockey are apparently working on arranging more Rivalry Series games this season, this was the only opportunity for either team to face off against 2019 silver medalist Finland prior to Worlds. By taking such drastic action, the federation may well have lost some goodwill not only from their own players but from the other hockey federations, something that may take time to earn back.

Sweden

Four Nations Cup

Four Nations Cup canceled by Sweden amid equal pay battle
The Four Nations Cup is the top annual women’s hockey tournament that includes the U.S. and Canada.

Swedish federation’s press release

Damkronorna furious after decision – Erika Grahm: ”Everyone is in shock” | Aftonbladet
The Damkronorna received the message - hours before the SDHL premiere (Erika Grahm does not mince words in this one, folks)

Naisleijonat head coach wonders Swedish decision to cancel national team tournament nearly two months before - also affects Finnish team | Yle Sports | yle.fi
Pasi Mustonen believes that the parties will soon reach an agreement.

SDHL

SDHL ready for landmark season - The Ice Garden
New sponsorships, TV details make league history

Do you live outside of Sweden? Watch the games here! - SDHL.se
Last week we presented which channels will broadcast SDHL, it will be C More and SVT. Today we will present how you can watch the games if you live outside of Sweden.

Historic million investment in SDHL - gets main sponsor | Aftonbladet
Money is about to be pumped into Swedish women's hockey. SDHL made clear with a historical main sponsor, something DN was the first to tell. The agreement should be worth over SEK 1 million. "It means a lot," says SDHL's commercial manager Angelica Lindeberg.

Jennifer Wakefield is the new star in Djurgården | Aftonbladet
An in-depth Q&A with the Canadian forward.

Leksands IF’s Betty Jouanny Is in a Very Good Place
French forward Betty Jouanny has a fresh start and a new team with Leksands IF. It will be a comeback season in the SDHL for this “steel butterfly”.

Vote: Goal of the Week - SDHL.se
The premiere week is over and it’s time to select the week’s best goals in SDHL.

SDHL standings week 1

Rank Team GP GD P
Rank Team GP GD P
1 HV71 2 6 6
2 SDE 2 4 6
3 Brynäs 2 5 5
4 Luleå / MSSK 1 3 3
5 Linkoping 2 1 3
6 AIK 2 -1 3
7 Gothenburg 2 -5 1
8 MODO 1 -3 0
9 Djurgarden 2 -4 0
10 Leksand 2 -6 0
https://www.sdhl.se/statistik/tabell

PWHPA

Alex Rigsby - What We’re Fighting For
The goal here is simple, as we’ve stated: Create a single, viable women’s professional league in North America.

Canadian women hockey players yearn for professional league | CBC News
Allie Munroe wants little girls playing hockey to be able to aim for more than the Olympics. The 22-year-old from Yarmouth is spending the year playing in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League, but was close to home this week for the Canadian women national team’s fall training camp in Liverpool.

Why the future of women’s hockey is at risk | Ottawa Citizen
”We’re trying to build or create something that’s bigger than ourselves.” (ed: the headline on this one is terrible but it’s actually a very good overview article for those that want to catch up)

PWHPA releases sponsors, roster for New Hampshire stop on Dream Gap Tour - The Ice Garden
It doesn’t get more New England than a Dunkin’ sponsorship

Details released for Chicago stop of PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour - The Ice Garden
Its USA v the World in the Oct 18-20 stop

International hockey

Ireland’s Current State of Women’s Ice Hockey
The Irish Ice Hockey Association is doing all it can to maintain interest in a Women’s National Team while not having a single ice rink in all of Ireland.

Driven by tenacity
Allie Munroe credits her desire to work hard and improve for her rise in the game

European club hockey

ZhHL (Russia) Defensively-Sound Dynamo St. Petersburg Look to Take the Last Step | CONWAY'S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
The Dynamo St. Petersburg women's squad, part of the eponymous club that includes teams in the men's VHL and MHL, spent most of 2018-19 establishing themselves as bona fide contenders in the Women's Hockey League.

Agidel Ufa Go for Three in a Row | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
The 2019-20 season of Russia’s Women’s Hockey League (Женская хоккейная лига -- Zhenskaya khokkeynaya liga, or ZhHL) is just a couple of days away now, with the first puck to drop this coming Friday, September 13th.

Off on the Right Foot: Biryusa Krasnoyarsk in 2019-20 | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
The 2019-20 season in the Russian Women’s Hockey League (the ZhHL) is now underway, with every team have played its opening two games.

Women’s League (Switzerland) Massimo Fedrizzi named head coach of the HC Ladies Lugano

Actualité - SIHF: informations relatives au début de saison | Planète Hockey
D’une manière générale, Swiss Ice Hockey entend poursuivre le développement et la commercialisation du hockey sur glace féminin. L’une des mesures prises à cet effet est la retransmission en direct des deux matchs de demi-finale et de la finale de la Swiss Women’s Hockey Cup sur MySports.

Naisten liiga (Finland) HIFK knocked out TPS in its home cave - Kiekko-Espoo continues clean game at the top of the series | Yle Sports | yle.fi
Serial winner HIFK finished second in the women’s hockey league with their third win of the season.

NCAA

USCHO Preseason Poll

Wisconsin’s Pankowski Named To NCAA Woman Of The Year Award Final 30

Spotlight shines on Wethington as Gopher women look to repeat in WCHA | Duluth News Tribune

Merrimack women's hockey to play in Belfast in January; open with BC in two weeks | Sports | eagletribune.com
The Merrimack College women's ice hockey program will compete in the Belfast Friendship Series this January against Quinnipiac University, taking on the Bobcats for two games in Belfast, Northern Ireland

You might see RMU alum Kirsten Welsh on the NHL ice some day | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The 22-year-old officiated games at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, a role she calls 'ironic' given her style of play with the Colonials

AWIHL (Australia)

Rush re-sign Malthaner | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Adelaide Rush have announced the re-signing of Kaitlyn Malthaner for the 2019-20 AWIHL season.

NWHL

2019-2020 NWHL Signing Tracker - The Ice Garden
Riveters sign Nichelle Simon, who last played competitive hockey in 2005.

NWHL’s Boston Pride become league’s only independently operated team
The Boston Pride will be the only independently owned and operated National Women’s Hockey League team during the 2019-2020 season.

NWHL sells Boston Pride to Miles Arnone - The Ice Garden
A team president, increase in marketing, and youth hockey initiatives among new owner’s plans

Dunkin’ Donuts returning as NWHL sponsor - The Ice Garden
Five seasons of running on Dunkin’

Connecticut Whale name Colton Orr Head Coach, Laura Brennan Assistant Coach - The Ice Garden
The Whale will be guided by an NHL veteran and an NWHL veteran

Men’s hockey

Gold On The Bench: Olympic Champion Flanagan coaching NCDC Cyclones
There is one particular player on the ice at Northern Cyclones practices for their National Collegiate Development Conference team that immediately commands attention.