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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: What is the NHL doing?

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Links and recaps from all over. Also Lara Stalder is really very good.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Story of the week

So, about that AP report - The Ice Garden
Breaking down yesterday’s report that once again has us all talking about #OneLeague

Well, that was quite a bombshell. In an AP article that seemed to believe its biggest news was that Dani Rylan had finally admitted what anyone with any sense knows — that one professional women’s hockey league in North America is inevitable — the real scoop came in one particular paragraph:

The NHL’s support of women’s hockey included the league stepping in at the last moment to end a wage dispute between USA Hockey and U.S. National team women players threatening to boycott the 2017 World Championships on home ice. Two people familiar with the situation said the NHL agreed to pay USA Hockey to help fund the four-year agreement. The people spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity because the league and USA Hockey have not made that information public.

This was indeed information that had not previously been public knowledge, and anyone familiar with women’s hockey would have understood that this was something to go after. This is another reason that mainstream outlets need to include more experts in women’s sports — the AP reporter could have put together a much different article if they were familiar with the subject matter and politics surrounding it.

There are a number of layers here, not including the one where we’re all very generously assuming there’s something else behind Rylan finally acknowledging reality and not that the NWHL might be on shaky financial ground and she’s prepping for the end.

Greg Wyshynski actually followed up on the article, getting official confirmation from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Greg would not have been my first guess at the person to get more details, but he covers women’s hockey when the story is big enough and he does have NHL connections, so I guess it makes sense.

In Erica Ayala’s Hockey Friday column she very astutely points out this shows USA Hockey has no real longterm plan and explains the lack of sustained promo post-Olympics. USA Hockey didn’t budge until the NHL brought in extra funds, those funds went directly to the players and not towards any of their other goals like promo and development... and from the quote those funds seem to only be for the four years of the contract. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

This isn’t the first time the NHL has contributed to USA Hockey — the funds for the USNTDP boys program pretty much come exclusively from a contribution from the NHL. The league investing so much money in one country’s hockey program might have made sense as a grow the game initiative when the American hockey program was still very much a kid sibling to Canadian hockey, but it seems to have contributed to a situation where US development is dependent on the NHL now and that’s not ideal for either the US or Canada.

I’m not sure that I want Hockey Canada dependent on the NHL but if someone in Hockey Canada isn’t making their displeasure officially known to the league they should be. The optics on this are absolutely terrible. Yes, the NHL is a US-based company and a US-based company should be able to support a US-based hockey program if they want to. Except it’s the only league of its level for both the US and Canada and the NHL just picked a side.

What the NHL provided is $575,000 US or more — if the USWNT contract is similar to the Canadian arrangement the contract likely includes all players in the senior women’s pool, not just the 23 who won gold at Pyeongchang. That’s more than the combined salary caps of all 5 North American CWHL teams. It’s galling that they feel okay throwing that money towards USA Hockey but not towards the women’s leagues. In the AP article, Daly talks about not wanting to support one professional women’s league over the other because “we don’t believe in their models”. This would be a somewhat reasonable argument except the league threw well over half a million dollars at an organization because “it was the right thing to do”.

I still believe that an NHL-supported women’s hockey league would come with strings that might not be worth the cost. But the whole thing pisses me off.

I absolutely do not begrudge the USWNT for taking the money, they earned it and they deserve it. And certainly when a fairy godmother offers you a way to untangle your budget without cutting anywhere, you take it. But it shows USA Hockey still isn’t prioritising its premiere team, and it certainly does not clarify where the NHL stands in respect to women’s hockey.

International hockey

Women’s Hockey Update: October 17th, 2018 | CONWAY'S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
Ok, time to start getting caught up on things here, and we will start with international action from earlier this month.

Markham Thunder’s Megan Bozek joins Team roster at 4 Nations Cup - Pension Plan Puppets
Bozek will be one of five CWHL players to suit up with Team USA.

WIH: Five Eagles Named To US National Team Roster For Four Nations Cup - BC Interruption
Four current eagles and one alumna make the US squad

CWHL

Inferno Report: Calgary’s dominating weekend over Shenzhen; breaking barriers – Flamesnation
Let’s check out this past week in Inferno news.

Les Canadiennes roll over Thunder in weekend sweep - Eyes On The Prize
It was a statement weekend for the Fabs against the defending champions.

CWHL Toronto Furies beat Blades 2-0 Markham Thunder lose 7-1 Montreal - Pension Plan Puppets
Shiann Darkangelo gets her first two as a Fury, Amanda Makela with the shutout. Jamie Lee Rattray scores one in the loss.

CWHL Recap: First win! Toronto Furies beat Shenzhen Rays 3-1
Allen, Nurse, Prévost score, Tiley makes 29 saves to give the Furies their first win of the year

Behind the Glass: the CWHL’s 12th season is underway - The Ice Garden
News, notes, and rumors from the world of professional women’s hockey

Canadiennes Notebook: Unconventional systems and a bunch of firsts - Eyes On The Prize
A look back at the first weekend of the season.

Q&A: Furies GM Sami Jo Small on weed, co-founding CWHL, more - Sportsnet.ca
Small talks about her new job, the possibility of one women’s pro league in North America, her desire to play and the legalization of cannabis.

NCAA

Polls: USCHO - USA Today - The Ice Garden

Photo Gallery: Northeastern vs Colgate - The Ice Garden
Shots from Friday night’s contest at Matthews Arena

2018-2019 NCAA Women’s Hockey KRACH Calculator - BC Interruption
Hockey Math!

Minnesota Gophers Blast By Ohio State Buckeyes With Shutout WCHA women - Hockey Wilderness
Taylor Williamson nets 2 of Minnesota’s 3 goals in dustup on the ice against Ohio State.

Women's hockey: New No. 1 Badgers continue early season dominance against Princeton, move to 8-0-0 · The Badger Herald
There’s a new No. 1 in Women’s College Hockey.

Women's hockey: St. Lawrence knocks off No. 1 Clarkson | NCAA.com
Nadine Edney one-timed a pass from Justine Reyes through a Clarkson defender and into the net 34 seconds into overtime to lead the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team to a 4-3 win over No. 1-ranked Clarkson in a non-league game at Appleton Arena on Friday afternoon.

Ohio State Women Penalized For Illegal Jerseys - SB Nation College Hockey
On Friday night, the Ohio State women’s hockey team unveiled new black jerseys for their game at Minnesota. And by black, I mean, like really black.

NWHL

Photo Gallery: Pride Home Opener vs Riveters - The Ice Garden
Pride Win Battle Of The Katies (Fitzgerald / Burt)

Women’s hockey weekend recap: Blades, Pride off to opposite starts - Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Pride remain undefeated, and the Blades remain winless.

Minnesota Whitecaps Win on Road Metropolitan Riveters NWHL - Hockey Wilderness
The Minnesota Whitecaps win their first road game 5-3 against the Metropolitan Riveters.

Minnesota Whitecaps Complete Season Sweep of Metropolitan Riveters NWHL - Hockey Wilderness
Whitecaps win 6-2 against Riveters, putting their overall record at 4-0 and showing off the vast depth of their team.

Nicole Hensley Finds Opportunity in Buffalo
Buffalo Beauts netminders Nicole Hensley and Shannon Szabados are arguably the NWHL’s strongest goaltending tandem this season.

Alexa Gruschow talks expectations for herself, Riveters - The Ice Garden
The NWHL’s reigning MVP remains confident team will get season turned around

Stecklein and Boulier are one of the best D-pairs in hockey - The Ice Garden
Minnesota’s top pair has had an exceptional first quarter of the 2018-19 season

SDHL (Sweden)

"She's in a class by herself" | Aftonbladet
Lara Stalder has scored 30 points on 9 matches.

Leksand streak breaks, fall to HV71 after nine straight wins | Aftonbladet
Nine straight wins. Then Leksand fell off against HV71.

SDHL: Luleå broke Modo's impressive streak | Aftonbladet
Chiho Osawa, Marion Allemoz score for their respective teams.

Modo's Adam Göransson shut down three matches and gets a fine | Aftonbladet
Modo's goalkeeper trainer Adam Göransson - also SDHL communicator - threw a water bottle that hit Luleå's Zsofia Jokai-Szilagyi after finishing the match.

AWIHL (Australia)

Brisbane Goannas 2018-19 roster | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Brisbane Goannas have announced their roster for the upcoming 2018-19 AWIHL season.