Is it an All-Star exhibition if we don’t get to see it? — Sharon N. Williams interview — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, October 15, 2021

Ah, another cool idea in women’s hockey stuck behind the vail of the best kept secret (pun for sure intended) in all of sports. Here’s another episode of great idea, failed execution.

The PWHPA did an awesome thing in creating an All-Star team to compete against the United States and potentially other national teams headed to Beijing for the Olympics. The last time we saw something like this is when 2018 Isobel Cup champion Michelle Picard captained the then-NWHL team in an exhibition series against USA Hockey.

It was a great event and I was lucky enough to catch the second game live in Tampa. The issue then was a horrid broadcast that botched the names of Olympians and All-Stars alike. It was brutal and sadly not the last we’d hear awful announcing. The PWHPA had a similar issue during their first showcase.

And yet, awful announcing and even a home security camera — looking at you, IIHF — would be better than nothing! Apparently, USA Hockey requested closed scrimmages — okay, I guess. But it’s a hard sell to grow the game when we can’t see the game.

Overall, this is more about USA Hockey than the PWHPA, but why should it be?

The reality is sports is entertainment. The sooner women’s sports leans into their unique value proposition (UVP), the better off we’ll be. That would require the leaders in charge of leagues, national teams, colleges and more to stop being lazy and believing what white men tell them and find their UVP.

The harsh reality is even that won’t work, not right away.

Overall, this is how I feel about the PWHPA. Drama aside (play nice, people), the PWHPA is a lesson that as much as we want change, it takes time. Alternatively, the NWHL … ahem excuse me, PHF is an example that money doesn’t buy happiness, especially when that money is tied to people who have no qualms about being bigoted, racist, and sexist very loudly.

Although, the PWHPA and USA Hockey should have a reckoning on their hands, too. After all, isn’t that Briana Decker in the promotion for the Barstool Women’s Hockey Tournament?


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This 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.

More about the PWHPA All-Stars.

Daryl Watts is good at hockey.

#GetUncomfortable in the Workplace event moderated by me (Erica L. Ayala). Register TODAY!

The PHF announces Transgender Policy, more on this to come.

Slovenia defeats Great Britain, #RoadtoBeijing.

Join me and the Everett Public Library for Kraken 101! Register TODAY!


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Tweet of the Week

Chanel said, “Release the Kraken!”


Five at The IX: Sharon N. Williams – Storyteller

“One of my mentors used to say, ‘If you really love something you have to be willing to fail.'”

Sharon N. Williams

I wanted to give The IX subscribers a taste of my hella dope interview with Sharon Nyree Williams, the storyteller and voiceover artist featured in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft video. I get actual chills when I hear her voice, a Black woman, talking about hockey.

We spoke for over an hour about hockey, Seattle, North Carolina, hush puppies, Black culture, and so much more. I hope you enjoy this first look! The interview will come out later this month on the Locked on Kraken YouTube page.

Storyteller Sharon N. Williams from her website www.sharonnwilliams.com/

When did you fall in love with hockey?

it’s funny because I know exactly when I fell in love with hockey it was when the Kraken organized – right before COVID hit it was early March before everything closed down – they had brought in the Black Hockey History tour. It was myself and other arts leaders at the Northwest African American Museum and they brought in the filmmaker from Soul on Ice and, and they had some good black restaurant food.

They allowed us to have conversation and ask questions about how they were going to get involved with the community. And when I went walked through that, I walked through that that Museum, which is an 18 Wheeler trailer, and it was just like, We out here for real this is Oh, so all of that energy, the cracking brought me to hockey, no doubt.

How did you get connected with the Seattle Kraken for the expansion draft video?

It was a really quick process. Being an artist community here in Seattle, (I’m connected) to one of our arts leaders Margarita who was on the Arts Commission with me … told (the Seattle Kraken) they had asked about like an arts leader or something, I could also do voiceovers. She brought me to the table. she was like, you won’t get this gig. I’m just going to introduce you to two fellows that are doing it, and that’s it. And, and you go from there. And so when they, they like my voice, we did a zoom call. They had like my voice that went on my website and saw and listen to some of my pieces.

What are the lines from the script that stand out most to you?

The line about or First, the line about? Wait, we ain’t just on the roster with a whole damn show.

I have it right here: We’re not just a stop on the schedule, we’re the whole damn show!

Radical inclusivity. Can you tell me what that means, and why you feel that that is what is needed. When we’re talking about uplifting, and promoting and protecting black culture?

You got to go outside of what most people may call ‘the box’ and you have to really do the work to include people here in Seattle. When we do events at at Langston (a BlackCultural Center) or anywhere else … it’s a whole thing of making sure that everybody that comes to that door, no matter what they look like, and feel welcome. And that they can engage.

That’s all we want for us and our community, and people throughout the world to embrace us … everybody always says, we got to wait until we do this and we got to wait until we do that. And we can’t do this until we just do it, try it out and just make it happen.

One of my mentors used to tell me, if you really love something, you have to be willing to fail. So if you really want to be inclusive, you have to be willing to fail at it. Try it, don’t get it right, try it again.

When did you fall in love with storytelling?

Wow, I fell in love with storytelling as a kid. I’m from originally from North Carolina and my grandparents. My grandma lives in a town called Parkton, North Carolina. We would sit … on the floor because there was no room to sit on the couches, kids sat on the floor. And they would just tell one story after the next and they will be laughing so hard. My grandmother always keeps her tissue so she can dab and try to try to keep her makeup on.

I have no clue what they talking about but I missed those moments because we don’t get a lot of those anymore and just to watch the older folks that usually discipline us, like cut up and laugh and say, “Shut up, girl! Hahaha! You lyin’!”

Come to find out it was our family history and I should have been recording those stories. But that’s when I fell in love with storytelling.


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 NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Erica L. Ayala