What NWHL free agent camps mean to me — Jayna Hefford talks Dream Gap Tour — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, June 11, 2021

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That’s What I’m Looking For

There are two NWHL free agent camps coming up and I cannot wait to get to a rink!

  1. I miss my people

  2. It’s been hella hot and thanks to a fun watch party with Black Girl Hockey Club, I learned of the joys of cooling off at a rink (I’m a simple woman who grew up knowing not of hockey. Don’t judge me!)

The Connecticut Whale will have their free agent camp in Newark Saturday and the Riveters will hold theirs on Sunday. Here is a general list of what I’m looking for from the camps:

  • Attendance: In Buffalo, reporters like Angelica Rodriguez and Dan Rice reported the camp was a mix of rostered players and new faces — although not all were new to the NWHL.

  • Rosters: I will also look to see if rosters are provided for media. This was very helpful for the first NWHL Free Agent Camp I attended back in 2016.

  • Team Staff/League Personnel: I’m curious if Boston or even the T6 will have staff come to these camps. I don’t recall either announcing an FA camp. I am also curious to see if any NWHL staff will be present. Of course I will do my best to get interviews will folks from the teams and the NWHL, especially as we prepare for the NWHL Draft at the end of the month.

  • New Rosie? If you scroll below, you’ll see that there is a rebrand coming to NY/NJ. I’ll be on the lookout for #NewRosie. Either way, #BlackRosie will be there.

  • Power forwards and defenders with size is what both Connecticut and the Riveters need in my book. I will keep any eye out for any players that fit the bill.

Coming up on Hockey Fridays

In the coming weeks, I’ll be breaking down what team NWHL team needs and how/if their draft picks meet the brief.

Next week, I’ll attempt to answer something The Agenda host Steven Paikin asked me and other on a panel: How much does the highest women’s hockey player get paid? It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. Maybe it’s time to really focus on what the real answer is so we can get to a livable wage.

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Week in Women’s Hockey

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Must-Click Links

Angela James, Sarah Nurse, Renee Hess among founding Board Members of The Carnegie Initiative aimed at tackling discrimination & promoting inclusion in hockey.

USA Hockey announces new initiative for women in coaching and officiating. The coach-in-chief and referee-in-chief for “female development” are volunteer positions. Here’s hoping there are dedicated resources to level the equity playing field on the horizon.

Aerin Frankel wins the USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year award (Sidenote: This award is named after a man. I want to do more research here, but it’s something I’ve noticed).

The Toronto Six hire Mark Joslin as head coach.

We have an All-Star lineup for the Black Girl Hockey Club Juneteenth Event.

Mike Murphy (no relation) talked to Digit about the changes coming for the T6.

Angelica Rodriguez with the Beauts FA Camp notebook.

Renee Hess of Black Girl Hockey Club is a finalist for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.

I joined Meghan Chayka and Jaclyn Hawkins on The Agenda.

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Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Jayna Hefford reflects on 2021 Dream Gap Tour

I spoke to Jayna days after the Canadian leg of the 2021 PWHPA Dream Gap Tour concluded in Calgary. Here are excerpts from a forthcoming report of the financial investments to players from the most recent PWHPA cycle.

Jayna’s thoughts on the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour – Canada

It was a really great week. Obviously, I think it was a little, I don’t know if hesitancy is the right word, but the players have been through so much with postponements and cancellations and everything else. That was what it was all about. It was really good getting them on the ice, seeing the excitement for them to be back on the ice, and then the level of intensity and competition. It was really great from our perspective.

On whether Minnesota & Montreal will face-off for claim to the ultimate PWHPA champion title

As of now, no. It was always our goal to have a cross border championship, but now we’ve really run out of time with a number of players going in to the summer with their national programs. So the teams that we can put on the ice wouldn’t replicate the teams that competed all year. We would have loved to, but we’re gonna turn our focus to the next season.

On what are the plans for next season are looking like, especially given 2022 is an Olympic year

Yeah, of course. We always are looking towards what’s next and how do we continue to move the game forward. We had about 125 players this year on active rosters. I believe we have about 45 that will be centralizing. So that leaves a big number of players but we have a lot of depth in our organization.

I know it likes to be reported that it’s all about National Team players, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. We still have 80 members that were with us this year that we want to take care of next year, should they continue to play.

On the payouts to players for the 2021 cycle

We can’t disclose the the financials, but the one thing I can say is that for both the Canadian and the US tour, players were able to earn money every single game. There was the additional bit for the champions, on each side. So even though we didn’t have the cross border championship team, there was no money left on the table, we were able to redistribute the overall number over the games (played) and over the winning of each tour on each side of border.

On the range of the entire prize pool for players

Yeah, we’re not able to disclose that based on our contract with Secret. We obviously know there’s interest in knowing that but they haven’t given us the ability to disclose it.

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Written by Erica L. Ayala