PHF Championship recap—Women’s Worlds approaches—a Strongforecheck update

The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Mar. 31, 2023

Happy Friday! Kind of crazy for me, but I have to say, that’s the last time you’ll be reading that from me. 

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I want to thank Howard for giving me this platform, even if it wasn’t for a very long time. I really enjoyed writing here, and I really enjoyed covering women’s hockey as a media member or content producer or whatever you would have called me. I started out as a social media content coordinator for The Ice Garden and ended up here. I covered CWHL and NCAA and NWHL/PHF games, I did pretty much any form of media possible, I even ended up on local Canadian TV before I threw in the towel, which if you know me well enough is hilarious. The folks at The Ice Garden who are taking over this gig as a part of a partnership with The IX are my colleagues and more importantly, my friends. They’re talented, brilliant, funny and resilient, and I know that you will love reading their thoughts every week. 

But it’s time for something new for me. When I went to law school, I was motivated in part by watching the 2017 USA World’s team boycott USA Hockey in their push for equity. I was at that tournament to see them win gold after a historic win at the bargaining table. My day job isn’t in labor law, but I’ve grown more and more passionate about player-side issues the more I’ve learned about women’s hockey as a media member. The truth is, with an increased salary cap comes greater opportunity, but also greater need for the players to feel empowered to advocate for their needs on and off the ice. I want to help them do that — not advocate for them, exactly, but help them advocate for what they want, and I know that with my degree and my experience I’m equipped to do it. 

So I’m starting my own agency. It’s called Hecate Sports Group. It started as a joke but when I made it, nobody laughed. Actually, everyone I mentioned it to told me that I should do it, so I’m doing it. You can follow that adventure on Twitter @HecateSports. Keep an eye out for an interview in the near future with some more details.

In the meantime, here’s one last Hockey Friday roundup from me. 

Last weekend the Toronto Six won their first-ever Isobel Cup, beating out the Minnesota Whitecaps in an overtime thriller. I’ve never seen a game that made me more fervently believe that every championship should be a series. It was a blast. It was so stressful. Every second was wild. 

Toronto Six captain Shiann Darkangelo actually first won the cup in 2017 with the Buffalo Beauts, so it wasn’t her first rodeo. But for many of the rest of her teammates, it was their first Cup, and they partied hard (as they should). 

Tereza Vanišová scored the game-winner in overtime after a tough misplay in the corner by Minnesota. Vanišová joins Jillian Dempsey as the second ever PHF player to win three Isobel Cups, having won two with the Boston Pride before the other season. Six forward Michela Cava took home the playoff MVP award after finishing up with, ironically, six points (3G/3A) in four playoff games. I thought Cava went vastly underrated all season, probably because it’s hard not to talk about Brittany Howard and Elaine Chuli, which is understandable. Anyone who had watched Cava play overseas or in the NCAA, though, would not have been surprised at how clutch she was down the stretch. 

Speaking of Chuli, her playoffs were deeply impressive, too. I still think Schroeder is likely to win Goaltender of the Year if only because of the records she’s set, but you could make a significant argument for Chuli after this run. 

You can read a more detailed recap from Dan Rice at The Ice Garden here, with some quotes as well. 

If you’ve been keeping up with the allegations against Harvard coach Katey Stone, you may have noticed an update: Harvard has hired Jenner and Block to investigate. It’s a large law firm with lots of experience doing such complex internal investigations — in fact, it’s the firm that investigated the Chicago Blackhawks when the NHL team faced allegations regarding the homophobic and violent abuse of a former player, Kyle Beach. 

Women’s Worlds is on the way, so look for rosters to keep trickling in. The tournament begins on April 5, with the host nation Finland opening their tournament up against the United States. The US and Canada face off on April 10.

The official Worlds website can be accessed here and has all kinds of useful information.

So, that’s all from me. Thank you all for reading and following along, and caring about this sport. It’s a special community and it’s only going to keep growing and changing and getting better. Your support of The IX and The Ice Garden and publications like them doesn’t just make the publications better, it makes the sport better, more immersive, more connected, more diverse, more real. Keep doing that, and things will only get better.



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 Eleni Demestihas