The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, September 13, 2019

Back to the Beginning - Interview with Meghan Duggan - Must-Click Links

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Back to the beginning?

By now, you’ve read at least one Q&A with Dani Rylan, founder and commissioner of the NWHL, laying out her reactions to the PWHPA and more.

Rylan confirmed the numbers for the salary increases reported in The Hockey News in the spring. She also discussed the league relationship, or lack thereof, with the PWHPA.

Now, in some ways, the lack of a relationship is not surprising. Essentially everyone is calling the current situation a boycott, except the PWHPA. However, the boycott or opt-out is more than just low salaries. There is a fundamental belief that the NWHL is not a viable professional league. However, it remains unclear to me what that actually means and how the #DreamGap tour is the solution.

Well, part of that is on me. As Alyssa Gagliardi mentioned last week, the PWHPA is not a league. For Gagliardi, conversations of salaries for #DreamGap players (who will not be paid for their time) is premature.

“I think the important thing is when we get into salaries, we get into talking about the we’re a league, then. This isn’t a league this year, specifically,” she told The IX last week.

In my conversation with Rylan, she reiterated that the NWHL is the only professional post-collegiate playing option in North America. Of course, when the PWHPA claims otherwise, they are alluding to being treated like professionals. So, on the one hand, it is true that the NWHL is once again the only women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. On the other hand, claims for lees-than-professional working conditions should not be overlooked.

And in this way, the post-college women’s hockey landscape sounds like an old tune. This will be the third time where two women’s league led to animosity or a taking of sides (more history here by The Victory Press). So, now what?

For NWHLPA director Anya Packer (née Battaglino), she hopes to work on the topics that lie in between. Professional treatment of players is at the top of the list of things she wants the league to work on, she told me in a recent phone conversation.

More from Packer and the NWHLPA next week!

Announcing The IX’s Civil Boost!

We’re extremely honored that Civil chose us for its first Boost, a fundraising pathway to help fund vital newsroom projects. This one is straightforward: travel costs to send me to the WNBA Finals. You’ll get daily podcasts, behind-the-scenes extras and both original reporting and the amplifying of others doing the good work on the scene. More details, and how to give, are available here:

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

“It’s hurtful to know there are some players who are advocates for our destruction”, Dani Rylan told Hailey Salvian.

Kirsten Welsh discusses being one of the first women officials to work with the NHL.

Could Julie Chu be one of the next players of color to enter the Hockey Hall?

Hockey players in Wisconsin using virtual reality to sharpen skills, reduce injuries on the ice.

Marisa Ingemi talks to Dani Rylan about her relationship, or lack thereof, with the PWHPA.

Anya Packer joined The Steve Dangle Podcast to talk about the state of women’s hockey.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Dani Rylan told ESPN.

THE Ohio State University women’s hockey program is celebrating 20 years! Here is a look at the OSU program history.

Taylor Accursi re-signs with the Buffalo Beauts.

Kelsey Koelzer named head coach for new Arcadia women’s hockey program.

Tweet of the Week

Things not getting any better in Sweden

Five at The IX: Meghan Duggan, PWHPA

At the time I was setting up this interview, a bit of news came out, and congratulations are in order, with you and (wife) Gillian Aps expecting. What are some of the things you both are excited about, and things your still working through on this whole parenting journey?

Meghan Duggan: Yeah, yeah, no, we’re, we’re super excited. Obviously, right now, we’re just kind of enjoying the pregnancy, I think and everything that that brings each and every day. And obviously, you know, a lot of great resources in our life and family and friends and teammates, like the leverage ones that I’ve just gone through, you know, starting to raise kids. So definitely learning as much as we can, and just enjoying the excitement in it all as well.

I am curious, you know, where does that kind of leave everything when it when it comes to hockey? Especially with your involvement and how we connected through the PWHPA.

Being involved with the PWHPA, it takes a village and it takes a whole group to move that thing along. So a lot of exciting things there and proud to be a part of such a strong movement. And then for me, obviously, I’m going to be out this season, still training and everything through my pregnancy with modifications. But, you know, the plan is to be back when I’m ready.

I’ve seen you play. You’re pretty tenacious out there. It’s fun to watch, except for when you’re playing against a team or maybe even a particular player that I happen to be rooting That intensity, I think that really a hallmark of your game. How do you view how you play the game and what you’ve been able to add to the game?

I’m definitely a physical at type player, I definitely leave it all out there. And, I know that I can be difficult to play against sometimes, but I think that’s just, you know, that’s part of just how passionate I am about the sport and wanting to give it all and do whatever it takes for my teammates. And obviously, you know, and I’m a highly competitive person and the big games bring out the best in me, from an intensity standpoint. So I’ve been super fortunate in my career to be a part of some amazing teams and, you know, contribute as a group.

I think that there are still a lot of hockey fans that are not sure what to make of the current landscape of women’s ice hockey. What are some things you’d like for them to understand about what will be happening in women’s hockey?

Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely the landscape of women’s hockey right now is, you know, there’s a lot of different directions, and there’s a lot of different balls in the air. I think that it’s exciting that, you know, a large group of top players in the world have taken the bull by the horns and tried to guide it in a different direction and in a direction that we see fit and see worth it. And so while like I said, there’s a lot of balls in the air right now, I think it’s also a really exciting time for women’s hockey. I think a lot of people are talking about women’s hockey, a lot of people are interested in seeing what happens. And really, you know, the players want to train hard, compete hard, and continue to grow the sport, from the grassroots level all the way up. And that’s what the mission has always been, and is. And now with the PWHPA, it’s just kind of an organized group that’s taking that to the next level.

I had a conversation with Alyssa Gagliardi who reminded me that the PWHPA, at least for right now, is not a league. When you think of the direction the PWHPA is going in, what makes you confident this is what’s needed at this particular time?

What makes me confident is the group behind it and the trust that everyone has each other. The transparency, the communication, the advisors that we’ve had, the sponsors and people that are wanting to get on board and help out. I think it’s the right group to be making change. And I think, you know, it’s headed in the right direction.

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Written by Erica L. Ayala