Friday Read: New York Riveters move to Brooklyn, Boston Blades new managment

The NWHL Signs Janine Weber

“Janine is a big power forward, who has a great net-front presence and knack for scoring big goals,” [Rylan] said. “The New York Riveters are thrilled to welcome Janine to the team and we are excited to watch her game continue to grow.”

NWHL Moves New York Riveters Home Rink to Brooklyn

The NWHL founder and commissioner Dani Rylan, who also serves as New York Riveters GM, announced to media Thursday morning that the League had recently signed a contract for the Riveters with Aviator Sports and Events in Brooklyn, New York.

CWHL ANNOUNCES BOSTON BLADES’ MANAGEMENT TEAM

The CWHL announced today that it has appointed the team of Krista Patronick and Michelle Clement-Billingsley to lead the management and operations of the Boston Blades. Patronick assumes the role of general manager, while Clement-Billingsley is director of operations.

Janine Weber First Player to Sign with NWHL

This morning, the NWHL had a press conference to announce that Janine Weber is the first free agent to sign with the NWHL. She will be playing with the New York Riveters come October! The contract is for one year, and an undisclosed financial amount, but remember: there’s a $270,000 salary cap per team.

This was quite a surprise to me, as I’d heard that Weber was signed with HC Linköping-Dam, the Swedish women’s team that Florence Schelling recently signed with. Weber was in attendance at the Connecticut Whale’s free agent camp previously.

Janine Weber has played for the Austrian National Team, and for the Providence College Friars during the 2013-2014 season. She also played for the Boston Blades during the 2014-2015 season, where she won the Clarkson Cup. She is listed as a forward, but we’ve seen her show up on the back-end occasionally. While she’s not always a flashy player, Weber is a really excellent and complementary player. Mike Burse found her to be the fourth best player in the CWHL to have on the ice in a close game.

All in all, exciting news!

NWHL Announces International Player Camp

All four NWHL team player camps are done, and there was some speculation on why we hadn’t seen more international (i.e., non-North American) players at these camps. Camps were filled, in fact, by largely American players. After the attention the NWHL got over announcing that they would sponsor visas for non-American players to play in the league, it was a bit of a let down. Sponsoring players is an essential move to growing the non-American player base. Non-American players can’t play in the league without a visa, as they’re getting paid a salary, however small it may end up being. Some players, as we’ve seen with some players in the CWHL, are able to get a visa through other employment or education, but with the latter, the rules around student employment can be very strict.

Thus, we’re very excited to see the NWHL announce a player camp for international players! It’s a opportunity for international players to come out, play a little hockey, and get seen by teams. The camp will be held in Wilminton and Marlboro, Mass. and will be on July 23rd and July 27th, 2015. It will be coached by recently announced Boston Pride head coach Bobby Jay, and his staff. The league said they are expecting players from Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Japan. (Sadly, probably not Florence Schelling or Janine Weber, as both appear to be going to play for HC Linkoping in Sweden this next season.)

The camp, notably, is just for free agents– not college students, who can go into the Entry Draft. Free Agency ends on August 17th, making this one of the last chances a player will have to be seen by teams. The camp will consist of a skills session on July 23 at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Mass., as well as participation in the AAA Division of the Beantown Classic at NESC in Marlboro, Mass., where international camp attendees will play against a group of prospective NWHL players.

“As we become the premier destination for women’s hockey, it’s our goal to not only attract the best talent from here in the U.S., but also around the world, and we are making it a priority to welcome women from all nations to play in our league,” said Dani Rylan, NWHL Commissioner. While welcome information, this is a bit of tonal shift from some of the league’s earliest releases, which focused heavily on the need for an American league for American players.

A Clarification of the CWHL Player Equipment Situation

Over the past season, we’ve seen a lot of incomplete and sometimes contradictory information on what the CWHL players get from the league, in terms of player equipment. Things on Twitter and other spaces came to a boil when Janine Weber, who won the Clarkson Cup for the Boston Blades in overtime, was asked to donate her stick to the Hockey Hall of Fame. This put Weber in a bit of a quandary– if she donated her stick, she’d only have one left when she went to play at Worlds for the Austrian national team.

Weber’s story has a happy outcome– STX, a hockey equipment company, reached out to her on Twitter, and sent her several sticks and a pair of gloves. Weber will take the ice with Team Austria at the Div. I Group A Women’s World Championship on Sunday in Rouen, France.

So, why did Weber have only one stick left? What, exactly, is the equipment provided to CWHL players?

We reached out to the CWHL, and were told that the league provides helmets, pants, and gloves to players, in addition to team jerseys and socks. Notably, those are skater helmets, pants, and gloves. Goaltenders, whose equipment is notorious for being much more expensive than skater’s, appear to be on their own. Players also had the option buy sticks and skates as a discount from Bauer, a league sponsor. I was kind of surprised to hear that Bauer was a player equipment sponsor– I feel like I never see them mentioned by the league, nor have I seen Bauer mention the CWHL. Digging in the archives, I found a couple brief mentions of Bauer as a sponsor, but not a lot.

When we reached out to Bauer for some clarification, we got a lot more information. Turns out, Bauer provides the league with the aforementioned helmets, pants, and gloves, but also bags. All of this is at no cost to the league.

According to the rep I talked to, they work with the players to make sure that they have the best gear for them from Bauer’s various lines. If you’re not familiar with the intricacies of buying hockey equipment, it’s exactly like buying clothes– everyone has their preferences for how they want things to fit, according to their specific body and the needs of their specific style of game. The way Bauer handles this kind of thing is by having different lines of equipment with different cuts. For example, there are three lines of pants– Supreme, Nexus, and Vapor– each with their own cut– an anatomical fit that is tighter at the waist, a classic fit that is looser through the waist, and a tapered fit that is tighter at the hips. It works similarly for the rest of their gear, for gloves, etc.

gloves
Bauer’s fit guide for gloves [Bauer]

Bauer's fit guide for pants [Bauer]
Bauer’s fit guide for pants [Bauer]
Bauer has had this program in place with the CWHL for the past three seasons, and plan to continue this partnership in the future. What they get out of this deal is that they are the league’s equipment supplier– the CWHL mentions them sometimes, and in league advertisements, Bauer can be the only featured brand. Under the terms of their contracts, players have to wear the provided Bauer gear unless they have a paid endorsement with another manufacturer. If a player does have a paid endorsement for equipment, such as Hilary Knight’s deal with STX, the league does ask that the supplier attempt to keep the product consistent with the team’s branding. No custom red, white, and blue breezers for Hilary Knight. 🙂

So, Bauer, one of the biggest and most well-known hockey equipment companies, is supplying some, but not all, of the equipment for skaters. Goaltenders are apparently on their own, answering the question of why Britany Ott is still rocking those baby blue pads from her time at the University of Maine.

Brittany Ott, in her baby blue pads, playing for the University of Maine. [University of Maine]
Brittany Ott, in her baby blue pads, playing for the University of Maine. [University of Maine]
Aside from goaltenders, this still leaves a lot of gear uncovered. What about shin-pads, chest protectors, and elbow pads, among others?

In a little experiment, I went to HockeyMonkey, a large online retailer for hockey equipment, and pulled together a cart of what I would consider a full set of equipment for a skater, including two sticks. I stuck within the Bauer line when possible, and tried to pick not the cheapest but also not the most expensive options. In addition to the typical protective gear, I also included a mouth guard, a neck guard, and a jill.

Retrieved from HockeyMonkey on 4/10/2015
Retrieved from HockeyMonkey on 4/10/2015

The total price of the equipment all together was $2,069.87. The total of what Bauer/the CWHL covers entirely is $489.97. We’re not sure what the discount on Bauer sticks/skates is, so we did a couple different scenarios to calculate possible cost to the player.

  • If the player bought similarly priced sticks and skates from a non-Bauer retailer, the total equipment cost to the player would be ~$1500.
  • If the player didn’t buy sticks or skates (not really practical, but maybe they have a deal with someone else) the total equipment cost to the player is $600.00.
  • If the discount on Bauer sticks/skates is 20%, a number that we totally made up, the equipment cost to a player is $929.92.

Now, that’s not going to be the cost a player faces every season, but a full season of professional-level competition and practice is going to put wear on gear, FAST. Also, two sticks for a season is possibly optimistic for some players, depending on how they play.

Some players have a stipend from their national team for gear and training, but most non-Team USA or Team Canada players don’t. Hockey ain’t a cheap sport, and while the Bauer equipment deal is a start, I sincerely hope the CWHL expands what player equipment is covered in the future.