Retirement announcements — Coaching news — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, June 9, 2023

Happy Friday, folks! My name is Alyssa Turner from The Ice Garden and I have the pleasure of bringing you up to date with all things women’s hockey news including key retirement announcements, head coaching changes and must-click links from around the web!

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Czechia captain Alena Mills announces national team retirement 

For the first time in 19 years the Czechia national team will be without Alena Mills on the ice with them. Mills announced her retirement from the national team via Instagram. She experienced the highs and lows of the program and leaves the team better than she could’ve ever dreamed. Alena Mills donned the “C” for Czechia for the first time back in 2010-11 when the team was competing in the Division 2 World Championship. Since then the Czechia program has experienced endless promotion and relegation.

In her historic career, Mills has played in 79 games for Czechia between the World Championships and Olympic Games. With her retirement, Alena Mills might not wear that Czechia jersey ever again, but she’s contributed considerably to the Czechia program fabric as it is today. Team Czechia has medaled in back-to-back World Championships and is set to host the 2025 event. The longtime captain has no plans to hang up her skates entirely with this announcement; Mills has been linked to several teams in the PHF as she looks for a new pro home in North America. Congrats on her national team retirement!

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Harvard’s Katey Stone retires amid investigation

Harvard women’s hockey announced that after 27 seasons, head coach Katey Stone (57) will be retiring from the program. Stone’s retirement announcement comes amid investigation of the program and Stone’s behavior following articles from The Athletic and The Boston Globe that involved alleged maltreatment, bullying and hazing of several athletes in the program during her time at Harvard. The March story in The Athletic detailed gruesome details of allegations from 16 former players that included disturbing hazing and initiation rituals. Other allegations against the program include Stone being accused of downplaying injuries and mental health issues across the team.

Through her 27 seasons as the Harvard women’s hockey head coach, Katey Stone created an environment where players were curated to hate each other. Harvard failed to mention anything involving the investigation or the status of the review. It seems like Harvard is taking the “let’s sweep things under the rug” approach. Harvard University has continued to let down its past and current players in the women’s hockey program. They have continued to only focus on Stone’s “positive” influence in the sport and have continued to ignore the harm and damage she has caused. 

Coast to coast updates 

Mercyhurst women’s hockey will be heading to Sweden this summer as part of an international trip. The Lakers are set to be the only Division I women’s hockey program to be going overseas to compete this summer. The Lakers have their eyes on Stockholm where they will play a slate of games against the Swedish national team and the Swedish developmental team.

The Hill-Murray Pioneers in Minnesota announced their new girls hockey co-head coaches, Natalie Darwitz and Jake Bobrowski. Darwitz and Bobrowski have a rich history of coaching together at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University where they have an impressive track record on the ice. They both will bring a vast amount of knowledge and development to the Hill-Murray girls hockey graph that will help many young players shine. Natalie Darwitz is a three-time Olympian and two-time NCAA national champion. She has over 15 years of coaching experience.

Keeping up with coaching announcements, let’s head to the PHF where the reigning Isobel Cup Champs have announced their coaching staff for the 2023-24 season. The Toronto Six announced earlier this week that they are bringing back head coach Geraldine Heaney. The Six named Heaney head coach at the start of last season where she helped lead the team to their first championship in franchise history. During the regular season she had a 17-5-2 record and a playoff record of 3-1-0. Heaney became just the third woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame back in 2013, where she joined former teammate and Toronto Six GM Angela James and U.S. Olympian Cammi Granato. In addition to the Heaney news the team also announced that they have named Jessica Turi and Mark Joslin as associate coaches for the upcoming season. Joslin makes his return to the Six after he led the club as head coach for their 2021-22 season. Turi was a member of Toronto’s coaching staff during their Isobel Cup run.

We finally have movement in the 716! With the Buffalo Beauts head coaching position still vacant, the lack of free agency movement was beginning to become concerning. The team announced that forward Emma Nuutinen has agreed to terms for a second season with the Beauts following being named to Team World for the All-Star Showcase in January. Buffalo-born Allison Attea will also be returning home for her third season as she has agreed to terms with a new one-year contract. The defender was selected by the Beauts in the fourth round of the 2021 draft and heads into her third pro season looking to continue to make a difference on the Buffalo blue-line.

The Beauts have also announced their first move that has come from outside their previous roster. Tatum Amy is set to make her pro debut with the Beauts at the start of the 2023-24 PHF season. Amy was the captain of the 2022-23 Mount Royal University Cougars who recently brought home their first U SPORTS national championship in program history.  Amy was named the 2022-23 Canada West Female Athlete of the Year when she led all Canada West scorers with 31 points. The Mount Royal’s all-time leading scorer in program history brings both her skills and her incredible work ethic to Buffalo where the Beauts look to bounce back into a competitive team once again. 

Kaity Howarth is looking to make an impact in her hometown of Thunder Bay. The Montreal Force defender and former Saint Mary’s University player announced her new development camp for university and college-eligible players. For The Girls is an all-women, women-led camp that is looking to provide more opportunities for those in the Thunder Bay area. According to their website, FTG is committed to delivering the tools that these young female competitors need to succeed in a team environment and individually. It’s a camp with very limited spots as only 20 players and 3 goalies will be accepted as they look to have it as a highly competitive skate that is designed to develop young women through focused coaching. 

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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Written by The Ice Garden