Hockey culture will change for the better, with inclusive leaders — Interview with Tera Black

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, September 24, 2021

Brianna Decker is an amazing hockey player and deserves so much more than she’s been afforded. 

That being said, I will not be watching her compete in the Barstool post-Olympic tournament.

I want to see women’s hockey thrive as much as anyone. I do not think a partnership with Barstool is worth all the publicity or all the money. It continues to blow my mind that hockey players (generally speaking) don’t see this.


Instead of giving this more of a platform, let me talk about a diverse group of hockey loving people who are committed to making the sport accessible, equitable, and inclusive.

I volunteer with the events committee and the #GetUncomfortable policy subcommittees of the Black Girl Hockey Club. The GUC campaign is celebrating one year. To honor the next year of work, BGHC has launched and has selected #GetUncomfortable in the workplace as the theme for the 2021-22 hockey season.


“Black Girl Hockey Club continues to work at shaking up the hockey world with our Get Uncomfortable Advocacy Campaign theme that focuses on what allies are doing in the workplace to support our campaign tenets of ‘EncourageEmploy and Educate (3Es).’” Renee Hess said in the official press release. 

The theme will address the disparities Black women and other marginalized groups endure at work and address hiring practices, training, mentorships, and networking as ongoing problems and the solutions to representation in hockey.

Today’s Five at The IX features Tera Black, a pioneer in the hockey space. This interview is part of a longer discussion that will be made available next week.

The excerpt for today is Tera talking about Willie O’Ree, the man who broke the NHL color barrier. I hope you enjoy.

As I close, I want to say this. For me, The IX newsletter is not just about giving women’s hockey more coverage. It’s about changing hockey culture by strategically choosing to uplift voices and stories that are untold. (Editor’s note: this is a mission statement for The IX as a whole.)

So no, I will not be covering the Barstool tournament or any league that may arise down the road.

For every backless chair activation, I will continue to promote and donate to Black Girl Hockey Club. I hope you’ll join me. Here are some thing you can do TODAY!


Hey everyone, I’m going to the 2022 Winter Olympics!!! Here are a few ways to can help support my work.

  1. Donate through my GoFundMe campaign
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Week in Women’s Hockey

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORE COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS?

Good, click these links and show decision-makers that if you post it, we will read it! If you have any hot tips for great stories or voices you’d like to see in The IX, email me: erica@ericaLayala.com.

Must-Click Links

Beijing Olympic schedule is out.

UMaine is rolling deep!

Christine Chao signs with Toronto Six.

Familiar Faces, new places with Dan Rice.

Washington Capitals hire Dr. Aimee Kimball.

The PHF rebrand is coming:




The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to youby The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.

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Tweet of the Week

Chanel taking the lead!


Five at The IX: Tera Black, COO Charlotte Checkers

Here’s an excerpt from my conversation with Tera Black. She’s sharing her favorite stories about former San Diego Gulls player Willie O’Ree. The full interview with Tera can be found on Locked on Kraken next week.

What was it like coming across Willie O’Ree while working for the San Diego Gulls?

He’s one of my favorite people in this business. You would never in a million years know when you have a conversation with him that he has the history that he does because he is that humble. He is funny, he’s a remarkable human being from from the moment you meet him … every experience you have is good.

I think it was my 30th or 32nd birthday randomly like he came to the birthday party and I would have never expected Willie O’Ree to do that … more importantly, he was the head of the NHL diversity task force for a very long time and what he did for for educating the universe on how important diversity was in our game is second to none and he will he’s legendary for that, he’s legendary for his career in this sport, he’s legendary for his genuine love of this game and how well he treats everybody around him. I have never heard him say one negative thing about anybody or anything ever that’s that’s just the type of guy he is.

Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah, you know, always dressed to the nines with his hat. I love it. I love it!

He used to wear a fanny pack like back in the day … that he took so much grief from everybody that saw him with his fanny pack. It was so funny, he just didn’t care.

That’s hilarious cuz you know, the fanny pack was in for a moment there, and then it died …

I want to say the fanny pack was a part of my my birthday party or something and you put it on here can’t remember but the fanny pack was legendary … having an 80s night here and we are in the process of ordering Charlotte Checkers fanny packs

Conversation moves on to Willie O’Ree being able to win faceoffs at 80. Watch him OWN Blake Bolden!

He’s a really good example of a body in motion stays in motion and the more social interactions and doing new things that you do, you sort of stave off the aging process. I feel like Willie looks, he’s always looked young. He’s looked young his entire career and and so is his mindset and you just you kind of feel invigorated after you’ve been around him for a little while.


Mondays: Soccer

By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer

Tuesdays: Tennis

By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer

Wednesdays: Basketball

By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next

Thursdays: Golf

By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellamLPGA.com

Fridays: Hockey

By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 Host of Locked on Kraken Podcast

Saturdays: Gymnastics

By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Erica L. Ayala