Morin makes moves with Minnesota, PHF — Tori Charron talks Metropolitan Riveters — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, May 20, 2022

Welcome back to Hockey Friday. Last week, we talked about momentum — what it means in this space, and if the momentum established for women’s hockey by the Olympics has passed all of us by.

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2018 Olympic gold medalist Sidney Morin doesn’t think so.

After four years with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and a silver medal with Team USA’s U-18 squad, the defender headed overseas to compete in the SDHL. She would spend five seasons in Europe, and two tournaments with the American senior national team in that timeframe.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Whitecaps announced the veteran blue liner, who took home the SDHL’s Defenseman of the Year Award and finished her time in the SDHL with two defensive scoring titles, would be returning Stateside on a two-year deal in the State of Hockey.

“I have seen the growth of the [PHF] from afar and felt that the timing was right to move back to the place I was born and raised in,” Morin said in the Whitecaps’ release. “Minnesota is a special place and I am excited to return home and play with the team that has meant so much to young girl hockey players here in Minnesota.”

The move comes, of course, just days after the Whitecaps announced program founder, general manager, head coach, and hockey legend Jack Brodt would be pursuing a new opportunity with PHF ownership and would not be returning to the helm of the franchise. The Ice Garden’s Dan Rice has also reported that Brodt’s daughters, Chelsey and Winnie, who have been staples of the Whitecaps since the team’s inception, are also likely to hang up their skates.

Nevertheless, the addition of Morin is a strong one considering the direction the Whitecaps are heading. Rumors that franchise star and 2019 Isobel Cup champion Allie Thunstrom received a better offer out east means that the franchise’s on-ice future was murky at best…until, maybe, now.

While many national team players in North America have opted to play in the PWHPA since the organization was founded with the mission of creating a sustainable league, Morin joins the ranks of players with national team ties in the PHF, like 2018 Olympic teammate Amanda Pelkey, who joined the Metropolitan Riveters last week, and Melissa Samoskevich, a 2019 World Champion and veteran of the American U-18 team. While we’re unlikely to see any current Team Canada players make the jump to the PHF — after all, there is only one PHF franchise in their country despite rumors of a Montréal expansion — there have been rumblings around the league of other players potentially attracted by the organizational changes and promises made by league management.

One of those such names is Minnesota Duluth alum Sydney Brodt, who was teammates with Samoskevich at 2019 Worlds and who has split her professional career between the PWHPA and the SDHL. Brodt would be a massive addition to the Whitecaps offense and would certainly have a hand in filling the role left by Thunstrom’s departure. That is one player you’ll want to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

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This Week in Women’s Hockey

The Ice Garden’s 2022 Top 25 Under 25 | The List (The Ice Garden)

St. Cloud State names Brian Idalski head coach (Grand Forks Herald)

USWNT alum Silverman named head coach at Post University (USCHO)

B.C. 15-year-old makes history as first female skater selected in WHL Bantam Draft (Global News)

PHF announces 2022 Awards winners (The Ice Garden)

Five at The IX: Tori Charron

The IX sat down with newly-appointed Metropolitan Riveters general manager Tori Charron to discuss all things Riveters as we approach season eight in the PHF.

Question: Talk to me a little bit about your first year in the PHF — one that took place on the ice instead of in the front office. How did it feel to get back in the game after a handful of years off?

Tori Charron: It was a surreal opportunity that fell in my lap. Mark Joslin had approached me and asked, ‘Have you ever considered playing pro hockey?’ and honestly I had not until then! I’m grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was certainly difficult to get back into the swing of things having not played at that level since I graduated in 2014, but I worked hard and I found my role with the team. I think this past year is when I realized that it wasn’t just being on the ice that I loved, it was being at the rink in any capacity – and that helped steer me to this role.

Q:Tell me a little bit about this new opportunity in the front office. How did the opportunity arise, and has working in hockey operations always been an interest of yours? 

Charron: This opportunity was certainly a unique one. About halfway through last season I began seriously considering my future in hockey. I enjoy being at the rink and am naturally geared towards business, so a management position was very attractive. I spoke with Digit Murphy throughout the year about my background in business, and after the Six were sold and BTM Partners moved her over to the Riveters we stayed in touch. When the GM role became available I had it in my mind that I was going to make it happen.

Q: What are your priorities in terms of roster configuration heading into the upcoming season?

Charron: We’re entering this season with two amazing coaches now that Olympian Venla Hovi will be taking over the bench with Ivo Mocek staying on as an assistant. Having two European coaches, we feel we have an opportunity and an advantage over other clubs to break into international markets and secure top-end talent we can get the most out of.

Q: Do you have any plans to continue the initiatives spearheaded by your predecessor, Anya Packer (such as Black Rosie, the Pride celebration, Mental Health Awareness night, etc.), or do you have any different plans?

Charron: Building on the outstanding work that the Riveters did last year as leaders in sport in DEI – especially in discussions around gender, mental health, and race – is one of the most exciting parts about joining this team and was highlighted during the hiring process. My focus for now is on player acquisition to fill out our roster, but we have a great team in place including staff, partner organizations, and advisors that bring great ideas to the table. Every single person I’ve met on the Riveters thus far has been extremely welcoming and supportive, which matters to me as someone who identifies as non-binary. There is a great culture here from top to bottom and I’m looking forward to us showcasing that over the course of the season.

Q: Do you have any messages for fans of the Riveters and fans of the PHF as we head into season 8? 

Charron: We are building a franchise comprised of returning players and staff as well as new talent, and I feel this combination is going to lead to a very successful year. We have good, high-character people who aren’t afraid of hard work and putting in the effort it is going to take to continue to elevate this organization to new heights. So much work goes in day-to-day to make this operation go, and all the people who make it happen and will make my life easier deserve recognition! We want to be continually moving forward on an upward trajectory, and we are well on our way thus far. 

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: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Anne Tokarski