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The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, June 17, 2022

Hello everyone and welcome back to Hockey Friday. As of 3:30 p.m. CDT on Thursday, June 16, the PHF has announced 47 players under contract for the 2022-23 season. Today, we’re going to take a look at those athletes’ playing histories.

To start off, let’s look at how each team compares to the others in terms of contracts announced for season eight. I’ve created a couple of handy charts for visualization purposes.

Figure 1

Now, you’ll notice that there are only five slices in this pie chart, but six teams in the league (for now…pending the announcement of the two promised expansion teams). That would be because, and you’ll find out why in this week’s Five at The IX, the Boston Pride have yet to announce any player signings for season eight. It doesn’t really skew the data all that much, so we’re just going to ignore that quirk for now.

The Buffalo Beauts lead the way in the PHF with 14 players under contract for next season. The Whale and Riveters are close behind, with 10 players each. The Six have eight, the Whitecaps five, and, of course, the Pride zero. Remember that the changes in the salary cap mean that each team can roster 25 players this year, so Buffalo is already halfway there.

Now let’s take a look at where each of those 47 players played last season. This is where things get interesting.

Figure 2

21.3% — or, more concretely, ten – of players who have signed contracts for the upcoming PHF season competed last year for the Whale. Now, that might seem like a bit of a weird statistic, especially when you remember that the Whale are one of the few teams who’ve signed a 2022 graduate. But former Whale Taylor Marchin signed with the Riveters for next season, so that’s why the numbers are the same in figures 1 and 2.

Anyways, you might be surprised to find that the next highest percentage of players played for the Beauts or in Europe (SDHL, Naisten-Liiga, EWHL, or ZhHL) last season. The European contingent is heavily bolstered by the signings of the Riveters and Beauts — between them, they have eight international players signed from Austria, Finland, Hungary, or Sweden.

Now, all of the players who played for the Beauts last season who have signed thus far have signed with their 2021-22 team (aka the Beauts). But, as The Ice Garden’s Holly Morrison reported at the beginning of the month, that little factoid is about to be moot, considering 2020 third overall draft pick and PHF superstar Carly “CJ” Jackson is headed to Toronto. Sources have confirmed to The IX that Jackson won’t be the only departure from the Beauts.

You might also be shocked to see the NCAA Division I contingent in the PHF is looking pretty small. While most players in the league did play college hockey, so far, only four (!!!) 2022 graduates have signed contracts to play in the league next season. They are Courtney Maud, Lexi Templeman, Antonia Matzka, and Caitrin Lonergan, along with one Division III player in Madi Nichols.

Three players also made the switch from the PWHPA to the PHF (Sydney Brodt, Brittany Howard, and Amanda Pelkey). I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some PHF athletes join the PWHPA for the next season, either — whether the organization launches its formal league or opts to continue the Secret Dream Gap Tour.

Finally, as a college hockey fan myself, I figured it would be fun to look at what conferences/organizations the most PHF players competed in during their university careers.

Figure 3

The fewest number of players competed at the NCAA Division III level or in U SPORTS, which is Canada’s university athletics organization. Taylor Davison and Autumn MacDougall are the lone U SPORTS players signed, while Madi Nichols is the only D-III player announced for next year.

I was really surprised to see that the ECAC tied with Hockey East for producing the most PHF players for season eight, and the WCHA was close behind. Honestly, I thought CHA would have more players represented, but it is pretty early in the off-season (and there’s a slight quirk, considering Lexi Templeman spent four years at Robert Morris, a CHA school, but spent her fifth year of eligibility at Ohio State in the WCHA. For the sake of my spreadsheet and the above charts, I have her down as a graduate of Ohio State).

Of the 12 ECAC alumni in the PHF, five of them graduated from Quinnipiac and three from Yale. The WCHA has four Minnesota-Duluth alumni and two Ohio State Buckeyes. Merrimack leads the way in Hockey East representation with three alumni, and New Hampshire and Vermont are both tied with two alumni apiece.

I’ve thrown a lot of data at you. I’m only kind of sorry for it, because I find this stuff really interesting. I’ll likely continue to track these stats as the off-season progresses, so if you’re ever interested in seeing some updated graphs — let me know. I’m happy to share.

Information from both The Ice Garden’s 2022-23 PHF Signing Tracker and EliteProspects’ database was utilized for this piece.

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This Week in Women’s Hockey

Mikael Nahabedian’s Top 25 Under 25 in women’s hockey (Part 1) (Part 2)

Laila Edwards leading the U.S. at U-18 Women’s Worlds (Color of Hockey/NHL.com)

Canada takes U-18 Women’s World Championship gold over USA, 3-2 (The Victory Press)

Toronto Six name Hockey Hall of Famer Geraldine Heaney head coach (The Ice Garden)

Former Canadian national team player Jessica Campbell joins NHL’s Rangers Development Camp coaching staff (NY Rangers)

Metropolitan Riveters sign 3x Finnish Olympian Minttu Tuominen (Riveters)


Five at The IX: Colleen Coyne

Olympic gold medalist and president of the Boston Pride Colleen Coyne sat down with The IX to chat about next year’s roster and what the addition of so many hockey powerhouses means for the growth of the league.

Question: With no draft this season, what has the recruitment process looked like for college graduates?

Colleen Coyne: Yeah, it’s been what you might expect where there’s incoming and outgoing phone calls, right? We’ve been reaching out to players that, you know, were on our radar to begin with, and then we’ve been fielding some calls from interested players that either, you know, live in the Boston area, have played in the Boston area, or just want to want to be in the Boston area and play, so it’s really sort of been a more…you know, organic type recruitment, I suppose.

Q: How much roster retention can fans expect from the Pride, given that this team has won two consecutive Isobel Cups with mostly the same core players?

Coyne: I think that our fans will find that the core of our our players I mean, it’s so hard to call them a core there’s such a solid team from top, you know, from top to bottom. But yeah, we’ll we’ll definitely see a familiar lineup next year.

Q: This offseason, the PHF has attracted a lot of talent from outside North America, with the Beauts and the Riveters leading the charge on that front. Are the Pride also looking to attract some international stars?

Coyne: I’d say we definitely have…we’ll definitely have some international flavor to the roster. And you’re right; I think that, you know, there’s been a lot of interest from from those countries and other European countries. But, you know, we’re, again, like, you know, a lot of our players will hail from, you know, either this specific area or at least the United States, but there will definitely be a little international flavor, which, you know, we’re sort of known for anyway. We’ve had we’ve had some international players on our rosters last couple years, so.

Q: Last season, the Pride surprised fans by releasing their entire roster at once instead of announcing player signings one-by-one. With no players announced for season eight quite yet, can you share whether or not the team is going to take that same approach this year?

Coyne: So ideally, right, like, we like the idea of sharing our entire team at once. I think it’s good for the team, it’s good for, you know…it makes it fun for the fans. So we lean in that direction. That said, you know if it takes us a little bit longer than we anticipated to get our final players signed, then we may start making those announcements sooner [rather] than later. But I do like the idea of, you know, kind of bringing everyone out together at once; but if it gets to be a little bit too late, then, you know, we’ll definitely start making announcements sooner.

Q: Earlier this week, former Canadian national team player Geraldine Heaney was appointed head coach of the Toronto Six. You played against Heaney at a couple of international events  — what is it like to be on the opposite side of the ice from her again?

Coyne: So interesting, right, so I saw that and I was so excited. I actually literally took a screenshot of it and I sent it in an email to Angela James and I was, you know, I was like, This is amazing.

And … I played against Geraldine for many years, actually. And then she continued to play and at that point, I felt like we were like, truly, like competitors, right? I mean, it was a bitter, bitter competition when when we took the ice against each other.

That said, I couldn’t have been happier to see [her appointment as coach] because I know the passion that she brings to the game and the passion that she’ll bring to our mission and the league. And I actually feel like we’re on the same team now, yu know, at least at least 80% of the time. And then the other 20%, when we play literally against the [Toronto Six], both teams are gonna want to win, but I think that bringing her into the fold and onto the bench in Toronto is just a fantastic thing for our sport and for the league in particular.

Q: A lot of women’s hockey stars are joining the ranks of the PHF in coaching, scouting, and executive roles — between you, Angela James, Mel Davidson, Geraldine Heaney, and Kacey Bellamy, how would you say the PHF is evolving off the ice?

Coyne: I was literally having this conversation with someone this morning…you know, Sue Merz actually was coaching with Connecticut last year; she was one of my teammates in ’98.

I think that like, for our generation of players — and Kacey [Bellay] obviously being a little bit younger — but Geraldine and AJ and myself and Sue, you know, it’s like we’re kind of at a place in life where we’re able to do it. For those of us who have kids, our kids are a little bit older and need a little less attention and so, you know, we realized we missed the game, we love the game, we want to continue to contribute to it.

And this league has presented that opportunity to us. So kind of going back to, you know, when Angela James got hired last year, you know, I thought that was pretty awesome. Obviously I had just gotten hired too, and then you know, to see Geraldine and Regan now and and Kacey, as you said, all get involved. I mean, I just feel like I’m hoping to see more right? I hope that it continues to grow in that direction because you’re looking at a group of women that have always had a passion for this game and you know, yeah, life sometimes takes you in different directions and might separate you from the game for a little while. But I think that passion, you know, is still there, and I’m really looking forward to working with all of them to make this league amazing.


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: Anne Tokarski, @annetokarski, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Anne Tokarski