Mariah Fujimagari makes history — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, October 20, 2023

Friday, more like Friyay am I right? It’s Alyssa Turner from The Ice Garden and once again I have the pleasure of bringing you everything around the women’s hockey world from the week. 

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Mariah Fujimagari earns ECHL win

Mariah Fujimagari, a former PHF goaltender, made history by becoming the first woman to secure a victory in an ECHL game. The former Beauts and Whale netminder signed a PTO with the Kalamazoo Wings back on September 18. The Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL were facing off against the Toledo Walleye in a preseason game when Fujimagari got the nod in between the pipes. 

Heading into the third period, the Markham Ontario native replaced Jonathan Lemieux in net. She made a total of 14 saves, including five in overtime, securing the win when Erik Bradford scored five-hole. She was also named the third star of the game for her efforts.

Mariah Fujimagari is the first woman in between the pipes in an ECHL game in over two decades, but she isn’t the first to do it. American goaltender Erin Whitten had a stint, playing four regular-season games for the Toledo Storm in the 1993-1994 season. While Manon Rheaume, another hockey legend, played eight games in the 1993-1994 season for Knoxville and Nashville, and a game for Tallahassee the following season.

Sadly on October 16, the ECHL club announced that they had released Mariah Fujimagari from her PTO. Despite the disappointment of being released, Mariah Fujimagari will forever go down as the first woman to grab the win for the Kalamazoo Wings. 

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Boston College pays tribute to Doxie McCoy, school’s first Black woman player

Boston College recently held “Doxie McCoy & Alumni Day” as part of its 50th anniversary of women’s hockey at the Chestnut Hill campus. McCoy was a founding member of BC’s women’s hockey team in 1973 and is widely recognized as the college’s first Black woman athlete. During BC’s game against Connecticut, McCoy dropped the ceremonial puck. 

“It’s very exciting, I’m very honored, I’m very humbled,” McCoy said during an intermission interview on ESPN. “I want to thank Katie Crowley, the coach, thank the team, thank Boston College. And I want to give props to the women who really were with me at the beginning… I’m just a Black girl who decided she wanted to play hockey, so I’m very fortunate to be here.”

McCoy, who had no prior experience in hockey and was recruited from Boston College’s field hockey team, took on the role of goaltender for a women’s club ice hockey team formed by students a year after Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal assistance, came into law.

Other Black women followed in McCoy’s strides at BC, including Blake Bolden (2009-14), a pro scout and Growth and Inclusion specialist for the Los Angeles Kings, and Kaliya Johnson (2012-16), who went on to play for Connecticut and Boston Pride in the former NWHL from 2016-19.

The PWHL unveils rosters for its upcoming training camps

On Monday morning, the PWHL released the training camp rosters in preparation for the league’s November camps. Each team will host a camp. During this period, they will engage in training while finalizing the selection of their final roster. These camp rosters include each team’s 3 free-agency acquisitions, 15 drafted players, and 10 to 17 invited camp participants. These invitees are unsigned players competing for positions on the team.

After two weeks of training camp, the six PWHL teams will trim down their rosters to 29 players. Those released from camp will have the opportunity to try out with other PWHL teams. On November 30, a list of released and eligible players will be distributed to all teams, followed by a second list of released players on December 8. Following the second round of camp invites, the six PWHL teams must solidify their rosters with 23 signed players, with a deadline set for December 11.

Out of the 184 players listed in the PWHL roster announcement, 78 were invited to the camp. This subset will be competing for approximately 30 available roster positions. As stated in the league press release, the waiver period, during which released players can try out for other teams, gives players “numerous chances to secure a contract.”

PWHL team home rinks revealed 

On Thursday afternoon Dan Lauletta announced each PWHL’s home rinks for their inaugural seasons. PWHL Toronto is planning on calling the Mattamy Athletic Center in Downtown Toronto their new home. Michael Hirschfeld, the general manager of the Ottawa PWHL team, became the first to provide insight into the team’s home arena plans by revealing that they would practice and play their home games at TD Place Arena. PWHL Monteral is expected to play and practice out of Centre 21.02 at Verdun Auditorium. Established in 2020 as a specialized high-performance hockey training center for women’s hockey, this facility was also founded by Montreal’s general manager Daniele Sauvageau. 

In the United States, Minnesota is expected to train at TRIA Rink and play home games at Xcel Energy Center, a deal first reported by John Shipley at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Boston will primarily host their games at the 6,500-seat Tsongas Center located in Lowell, as reported by Mark Divver of New England Hockey Journal.The PWHL named New York as one of its original six cities, but that is looking to be more like PWHL Connecticut as the league is planning to play at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, home of the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders.

While the PWHL named New York as one of its six original markets, that geographic descriptor is a loose one. A source familiar with the league’s planning said most home games will be played at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, home of the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders.

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Written by The Ice Garden