Still waiting on Brampton Thunder, and Les Canadiennes, but it’s nice to see some of the player churn on paper! Boston obviously has the most roster change, but Toronto and Calgary have both picked up and lost some interesting pieces.
In the NWHL, the Buffalo Beauts/Boston Pride opener just got an added dose of star power! Manon Rhéaume, two-time Olympic gold medalist goaltender with Team Canada, and the first (and so far only) woman to play in an exhibition game for the NHL, will be dropping the puck at the game. First 500 to the game get Manon Rheaume trading cards!
Located in Buffalo, and got some pipes? The Beauts are looking for an anthem singer.
Interested in seeing how Noora Räty trains? She’ll be broadcasting her training session with goalie coach Andrew Kent on Periscope. Follow @Nooraty41 on Periscope and tune in Thursday, October 8th, at 3:30 PM CT.
Mid-Week Link Round Up: All-Star roster, Räty interview, and early hockey specialization.
Remember, the players for the CWHL All-Star Game will be announced tomorrow, at 9 AM EST! Keep an eye out for that. 🙂
Noora Räty, former Finnish Olympic goaltender who made waves by retiring from the national team for financial reasons, was interviewed about her season so far with Kiekko-Vantaa, a men’s pro team in Finland’s Mestis league. She has some interesting comments on adapting to the men’s game, and on the process of how she got invited to try out with Kiekko-Vantaa.
Mid-Week Link Round Up: Räty, and the Kaz, and Sportsnet, oh my!
The three Patty Kazmaier finalists have been named! You can see the announcement over at USA Hockey. You can check out their stats, along with the other top ten finalists, over at Women’s Hockey Stats. Stats are, as always, not the only thing that goes into the Kazmaier award, but they’re pretty important.
In case you haven’t heard this, Noora Räty has entered an agreement for next season with Kiekko-Vantaa, a team in the second-tier Finnish men’s league Mestis. We don’t have a ton of info about this, and what we have has been pieced together with Google Translate, but here’s a very short article about it from the official Mestis site (in Finnish), and a slightly longer article from Yle, a Finnish new site (also in Finnish). We are now hastily trying to find good apps/websites to follow the Mestis league, and I’m cursing the day I took German instead of Finnish. I’m really hoping she gets some playing time. 🙂 Mestis is also the league where Hayley Wickenheiser played briefly.
With Sportsnet unveiling their “new” line-up of top talent for Hockey Night in Canada, there’s been some scuffles on Twitter and elsewhere about the diversity in their selection (or rather, lack there of). One of the best and most balanced articles we’ve seen on this is over at SBNation’s Silver Seven Sens. It hits on the big issue that what women there are in the analyst pipeline (and they are few) are poorly used, and often only trotted out for “the pretty” value, or when a regular cancels. In our view, it’s a lot of the classic issues of getting women into male-dominated fields, with the extra cheery on top of “but you didn’t play the game“, with the game always meaning, of course, NHL hockey. We’d love to see more recognition of this, and, as always, more women in our hockey coverage.
In other NCAA news, on Sunday the eight teams who will play for the NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship were announced! You can check out that announcement over at the NCAA website. Keep an eye out for more on this! The quarterfinals will be kicking off on March 15th, and the semifinals and championship games will be streamed live on the NCAA website.
The Minnesota Gophers visited the White House as part of an event recognizing 19 different collegiate champion teams. You can read more about it over at the Star Tribune and MN Daily, but one of the things I’ve seen mentioned in multiple places was how much emphasis Obama put on the importance of women’s sports, and the growth of women’s athletics. Nice to hear. You can also check out the Storified tweets from various Gopher twitter accounts, collected by the official Gopher’s Women’s Hockey twitter, over here.
Mid-Week Link Round Up: Still mostly people being upset about women’s hockey.
I know, I know, very surprising.
The Pink Puck did an article about what Noora Räty’s retirement from women’s hockey means for the sport. Now, either you’ve already read this, because it’s been linked from hell and back again, or you skipped it because you went “oh, another annoying article that will either enrage me or make me otherwise upset.If you’re in the later category like I was, I’d encourage you to give it a shot and read it. It’s probably not going to have anything new per se in it, but it does have an attitude I find generally lacking around discussions like this, and that is that women’s hockey is not men’s hockey and shouldn’t ever have to be.Look, I’ve done it too, I’ve joked about how the Wild should get Räty a try-out, because after all we have A Goalie Situation and we love our Gophers– but that doesn’t solve the actual issue, which is that women shouldn’t have to play in men’s leagues to be respected as good players.
The Globe and Mail did a profile piece about Shannon Szabados and Carey Price, the starting goaltenders for the Canadian women’s team and the Canadian men’s team respectively, and how they both started out as teenagers trying out for the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. It’s not a rare story, but it had some background I hadn’t heard before, including the following from Bob Tory, the Tri-City GM who was responsible for her WHL tryout.
“I’ve had players on my team, boys, named Shannon, so I didn’t know I was watching a girl – and she was outstanding,” Tory recalled. “It was only after the game, when she got selected game star, I knew it was a girl.
Clare over at the Puckologist talked about women as invisible sports fans. That’s not just an issue in men’s sports, like the NHL, but is, as Clare points out, generally the first stumbling block to discussing seriously how to market women’s sports.
“I’m not sure whether it was a back forward or backward, but at least we managed to reshape the team so it can play offensively. We did a step for the future, and we managed to close the gap against teams like Finland and Sweden.”
I found this interesting because Russia has been the team that, so far, has had the best Corsi besides Canada and the US. We’ve got some plans to run the numbers after the Olympics, see what pops out with more data and analysis and ideally having run some numbers from Worlds, but that in itself is interesting. (How many more times can I say “interesting”, WHO KNOWS)
Today USA whaled on Sweden, and if you follow any hockey writers on Twitter, you probably saw people talking about how uncompetitive and boring it is. Yes: Sweden got beat. After about 6 minutes of being clogged in the neutral zone, USA’s offense broke out and was rarely stifled after that. USA drew the Swedish defenders in, Sweden left passing lanes wide open, and the score ended 6-1. If Kelli Stack hadn’t lost a faceoff, it could’ve been a shutout for Vetter.
As always with women’s hockey (for me), the commentary for this game was somewhat maddening. Yo, did you know the Blackhawks are good at hockey? This apparently warrants discussion during one of a handful of Team USA games that will receive professional commentary in the course of 4 years. What doesn’t warrant professional commentary, apparently, is the fact that there is a North American women’s league – the CWHL – and they are hoping to pay their players within five years.
So, earlier today, after Finland’s 2-4 loss to Sweden, Noora Räty let slip in an interview with Finnish media that she’d be retiring from the Finnish team after this tournament, and possibly from hockey unless she could find a paying job playing hockey. In the article we initially read on this from the IIHF, it was stated that she would be trying out next season with Kiekko-Vantaa, a team in Finland’s second-tier men’s league, Mestis.
In a later statement from Räty on her twitter account, she expanded on this a little further. She cited financial concerns, also saying that, while she’d considered playing in Russia’s women’s pro-league, currently the only women’s league that pays its players, she felt the level of competition wasn’t high enough to challenge her. (I’d also note, the salary figures we’ve seen for the better paid non-Russian players in the league work out to under minimum wage in the US.) She didn’t mention any possible tryout with Kiekko-Vantaa, or any other team, in this statement.
Personally, I’m heartbroken at the idea that Räty may not be playing somewhere in the world this time next year. I’ve followed her with a huge amount of interest starting from her time on the Gophers, and she’s one of my favourite players. That said, I’m pretty recently out of college myself, and I really understand the desire to not live hand-to-mouth anymore.
I really hope she gets a contract somewhere. I think hockey will be the poorer to lose her.
CWHL Weekend Preview: No Olympic break here! Toronto v. Boston (x2), and Brampton v. Montreal (x2)!
This weekend, if you’re looking for less insanely early game to watch live, the CWHL’s Streaming Game this weekend is on Saturday, February 8th, at 6:30 PM CST, Brampton playing Montreal. Much better than getting up at 2 AM to watch the US play Finland, right? Montreal and Brampton are currently only separated by one point in the league table, but Montreal has the best power play in the league right now at a 22.8% success rate. With Brampton taking some of the most penalties in the league, their penalty kill, currently one of the worst in the league, is going to have to step up big time. The other game on Saturday is Toronto v Boston, at 11:40 AM CST.
On Sunday, February 9th, Toronto and Boston match up again, playing at 11:05 AM CST. Brampton will also be playing Montreal again, at 11:30 AM CST.