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The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Oct. 14, 2022
Happy Friday! Things are starting to heat up a bit as the PHF preseason is officially underway and NCAA and ACHA hockey are in season. The Rivalry Series is right around the corner, too, so there’s lots to get excited about.
PHF preseason is well underway now. As I speak, the Beauts are on the way to play the Riveters in a two-game preseason series this weekend, which I personally am really excited to see the results of. Both teams are building almost entirely new rosters and it will be interesting to see where they find chemistry (and where they don’t).
The Whitecaps lost to the Minnesota Gophers and the Pride lost to Northeastern, but I don’t think either team has any reason to be concerned yet, for a few reasons. The Whitecaps are almost a totally new team from last year and had not played much together before that game which could not have helped them. Additionally, both Northeastern and Minnesota are top NCAA programs in the country, and I think, generally speaking, the best NCAA programs in the country could beat just about any pro team in any women’s league based on the amount they practice together alone. This weekend the Pride will also play a tier two junior men’s team, the Northern Cyclones, at their home rink in New Hampshire.
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Next weekend the Beauts will host the Whale and the Pride will play the Force in Vermont at UVM. In the final weekend of PHF preseason, the Riveters will drive out to Connecticut to play the Whale and the Force will host the Six.
We have also started to get some media day goodies on players’ social media accounts, so definitely follow your favorite players for fun updates like this:
The PHF also made an appearance at the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute and everyone looked great:
Last week Boston College swept Merrimack, scoring four goals in each of those two games and earning a shutout in the second. Not an unexpected result but games they might have lost last season, so it’s good to see them have those in hand. Northeastern swept UConn but I thought the second game was fairly encouraging from UConn given how strong of a team Northeastern is. Both NEWHA matchups were nice and close which I don’t think is unexpected in that conference at all, where the parity is much greater than any other conference.
The most exciting outcome to me was out west, where Minnesota State took University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to overtime on Friday. Although they ultimately lost and were shut out the next day, it’s encouraging for Minnesota State to be that close to UMD especially considering how good UMD was last season and how good they’re projected to be this year. Another result I thought was exciting was a non-conference series between Clarkson and Mercyhurst that they split, with Mercyhurst winning the second game 2-1 in overtime. I think Mercyhurst might be one of my picks for a team that’s genuinely underrated this season and I’m excited to see how things shake out for them.
The PWHPA made a couple major announcements this week as well. Thanks to CBC Sports, the Dream Gap Tour stops will be available to watch “worldwide on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app, CBC Gem and CBC Sports’ YouTube channel.”
This is a huge step for the PWHPA. There have been Dream Gap Tours where remote viewership was possible, but it’s never been centralized in one place like this before for all stops, and that will make a big difference in terms of getting the games in front of as many eyes as possible. This will be crucial for the PWHPA as they work on a potential league because sponsors care, mostly, about how many eyes they can get their ads in front of.
The Dream Gap Tour starts off this weekend in Montreal. The PWHPA also announced a partnership with Gatorade, and listed their head coaches:
Kori Cheverie & Daniele Sauvageau – Team Harvey’s
Dean Seymour – Team Scotiabank
Matt Leitner – Team adidas
Laura McIntosh – Team Sonnet
Cheverie was a longtime Toronto Furies player in the CWHL and has been coaching since the 2016-2017 season, where she was an assistant coach for the Reyerson Rams in USports. She coached for Reyerson until 2021, and has been with Hockey Canada at multiple levels since that time. Sauvageau is a longtime coach, for Canada at an Olympic level, in USports, and for the Montreal Canadiennes of the CWHL as well. In the 1999 season she was also the first-ever female coach in the QMJHL. So in short, I’d say Team Harvey’s is in pretty good hands. Similarly, Laura McIntosh coaching Team Sonnet is someone with a lot of professional playing experience (three seasons with the CWHL’s Brampton Thunder) and has six seasons of USports coaching experience as an assistant for Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.
I am less impressed by the remaining two coaches and their coaching experience. Seymour spent some time in the ECHL before going abroad, where he played in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. He has never been a head coach before, but has served as an assistant coach, a skills coach, and a scout in men’s junior hockey. Team Scotiabank is so stacked that I’m not sure it will make a difference, but there is kind of a stark comparison between coaching staffs at first blush. Matt Leitner similarly has not been a head coach before, and his only coaching experience so far was as an assistant coach in the 2018-2019 season for California State University (Long Beach). Again, with the structure of the Dream Gap Tour I am not sure how much coaching will really play a role, especially since the rosters do not actually play together, but I thought it was notable that there were two teams with very experienced coaches and two teams less so.
I wanted to share a few articles, tweets, and podcasts I’ve really enjoyed this week, to wrap up yours.
Mike Murphy at The Ice Garden wrote about the PWHPA’s Jessie Eldridge, which you can read here.
Twitter user sebihinet put together a handy translation guide for Finnish PHF players you can see here:
This week’s More Than Five Percent podcast was a great deep dive into getting to know Carly Jackson, the Six goalie:
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|By: Eleni Demestihas, @strongforecheck, The Ice Garden|
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