The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, May 5, 2023
Iranian forward Fatemeh Esmaeili is pictured in Iranian women's hockey uniform at the 2023 IIHF Women’s Asia and Oceania Championship. (Photo Credit / Hockey Worldwide Twitter Page)
It might be May, but there is still women’s hockey happening; just maybe not the way you’re used to. I’m Holly Morrison from the Ice Garden, and I’ll be taking you through some of this week’s must-click links in women’s hockey — but first, let’s talk about development.
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Thailand is dominating the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s Asia and Oceania Championship being held in Bangkok. The hosts are undefeated in Group A so far. Tomorrow, they’ll be playing India, who upset Malaysia in their quarterfinal. In Group B, Iran has been beating opponents with double digit scores. They beat Kyrgyzstan 26-0 on Wednesday and followed it up with a 14-0 victory on Thursday. They’ll be moving on to the IIHF semifinals to play Singapore.
There are a handful of people in the stands watching the IIHF games live, and a couple thousand tuning in for streams, but the tournament doesn’t draw a huge audience. These games matter a great deal to the teams and countries participating; at the end of the day, that’s who they’re meant to serve: players, staff and federations, not fans like you and me. This championship has always been intended to give IIHF members in Asia and Oceania more opportunities to play meaningful hockey games and to develop.
The idea behind development is a simple one: every game provides the opportunity for learning and improvement. The more games someone gets to play, the more opportunities they have to learn and develop. The same is true of coaching or even managing the event. Increased repetition against teams of relatively equal skill is what leads players and entire teams to improve.
Contrary to what you might hear around the Olympics or Women’s Worlds, not every game of women’s hockey needs to be the most entertaining thing that anyone’s ever seen to be important. Sometimes the point of a game, or a tournament is just to play it, and to get a little bit better in the process.
It’s a slow news week over here in North America. The PHF offseason is in full swing, and while the rumor mill continues to churn, few signings have been confirmed by their teams.
There is however, confirmation that more players than before are choosing to work with agents this offseason. Quartexx Management in Montreal has set up a women’s hockey division, headed up by Karell Emard.
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