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The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, July 1, 2022
For the final time from me, Anne — welcome back to Hockey Friday.
I first started covering women’s hockey in an official capacity in September of 2019 (just three-ish months after graduating high school!) for SB Nation’s The Ice Garden. Two years later, in November of 2021, I took over Hockey Friday from the lovely and inimitable Erica Ayala. Since I started writing about women’s hockey, I’ve had the privilege of covering multiple World Championships, covering the transition of the National Women’s Hockey League into the Premier Hockey Federation, working a PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour stop in my hometown of Chicago, and even worked my first in-person NCAA national championship as media.
I’ve stayed up late and gotten up early with you to watch broadcasts from Espoo, Calgary, Beijing, Tampa, and pretty much all across the continental United States. I’ve walked a mile to the OSU Ice Rink in ballet flats in the middle of an extremely slushy winter to broadcast Ohio State women’s hockey games. I’ve ridden hours in a car from Pittsburgh to State College to sit in press row for the first time at Pegula Ice Arena. I’ve celebrated unprecedented seasons (that 23-1 finish by the Boston Pride, anyone?) and been outraged at cancellations (hello, 2022 U-18s) with all of you.
But all good things must come to an end, right?
When I attended the 2022 U-18 Women’s World Championship in Madison, I didn’t go as a member of the media. I went as a fan. And to get to experience the bronze and gold medal games from the stands, screaming and doing the wave and chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” with the massive crowd of friends and family and fans, I remembered why I love this sport so much. When I watched USA forward (and current junior at my old high school!) Kelly Gorbatenko attempt the Michigan, I fell in love with women’s hockey all over again…just from a different perspective. A perspective that I really, really missed being a part of.
(I also got to meet University of Minnesota captain and Olympic silver medalist Grace Zumwinkle in a Starbucks beforehand while I was wearing my USA jersey. She signed it. It was awesome.)
I am so lucky to have been a part of the women’s hockey writing community, and am so honored that so many of you have read my work. In elementary and middle school, I was so passionate about writing, and yet I still never imagined I would end up here.
It’s kind of funny, actually. At the start of the pandemic, I emailed my seventh and eighth grade English teacher (my favorite teacher, ever) to update him on my life, where I had decided to go to school, and how things were going for me. I told him I had started writing about women’s hockey and how happy I was, and, while I can’t find the email response from him for the life of me, I remember him being like, “Wow. I never would have imagined you doing that, but I’m so happy you kept writing.”
Anyways, I guess this is a really long-winded way (as per my usual) of saying thank you. To the readers, to the players, to the casual fans and to the not-so-casual fans, to the SIDs and coaches and event volunteers, to the media coordinators who have dealt with my media requests and all the follow-ups, to my peers and site managers and editors: thank you.
Women’s hockey can’t get rid of me that easily, so I’ll still be around, watching games and making memes and celebrating championships, maybe even sharing some more personal news in a few months.
I’d like to take my final few minutes on stage (uh…or my final few lines of the newsletter, sorry) to thank some people. Thank you to Michelle Jay, Mike Murphy, Howard Megdal for believing in me, to Carrie S. Allen (my first ever interview at The Ice Garden!), Carly Jackson (my first interview with The IX!), and all the players and staff (special thanks to Penn State SID Kevin Stoicovy!) and media members and fans who came in between for putting up with me and my questions, to Holly Morrison and Gabs Fundaro for being…well, themselves, and listening to me scream about Jesse Compher transferring to Wisconsin, to Dan Rice for always #scooping me, and to all of my colleagues past and present for offering words of encouragement and always being there to proofread. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
See y’all around!
(Editor’s note: It has been an absolute joy to work with Anne Tokarski every single moment. She is a star in this field, or any path she chooses. We are all lucky for the time she chose to grace us with her presence, and I will miss her immensely. That said: I sure am excited to welcome Eleni Demestihas to Hockey Friday starting next week — a vital voice in this space I am thrilled to amplify, too.)
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This Week in Women’s Hockey
U.S. U-18 coaching staff named for 2023 (USCHO)
U.S. senior national team assistant and goalie coaches named for 2022 Worlds (USCHO)
Finnish superstar Riikka Sallinen named to the 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class (The Ice Garden)
Many women deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s time to let more of them in (The Athletic) ($)
Amherst, NS, native Carly Jackson signs with the Toronto Six (Saltwire)
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