The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, May 7, 2021
Worlds Rescheduled — Interview with Hilary Knight — Must-click women's hockey links
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We’re finally getting a women’s hockey tournament! At least, the 2021 IIHF Tournament has been scheduled.
The IIHF came under pressure on social media after they announced the postponement of the tournament a couple of weeks before the puck was set to drop in Halifax.
The tournament is scheduled for what can only be called tentatively from August 21-30th “with a venue still to be determined”. IIHF President René Fasel said the new dates were not reached by consensus among the participating teams.
“In our meeting with the teams, unfortunately, we were unable to achieve a full consensus on the dates, with some teams preferring to play in early September and others in late August. But we need to respect as much as possible the start of various women’s leagues around the world, and also recognize the needs of the four teams that must prepare for the Women’s Olympic Qualification tournament in November.
We haven’t heard of any teams withdrawing and are still awaiting the final location. Given all that has happened, it feels premature to celebrate the latest update.
Here’s a quick refresher:
No 2019 Four Nations
No 2020 Worlds
Who knows what for 2021 Worlds
USA Hockey coach quitting due to strict COVID protocols
Regardless, Canada will finally get women’s hockey for the first time post-COVID. The PWHPA will host a three-team tournament to crown its Canadian Champion. Last week I mentioned we’ve yet to see the Calgary, Montreal, or Toronto teams hit the ice. The tournament appears to be the best way to get Canadians involved in the Dream Gap Tour and go ahead as planned with crowing an inaugural Dream Gap Tour winner.
Scroll down to my interview with Hilary Knight Part II, where the USA Hockey star shares insight on the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour point system.
Vaccination roll-out has been slow in Canada, but could the PWHPA Tour and the Women’s Worlds news be a sign our comrades to the North are turning a corner?
I sure hope so!
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Week in Women’s Hockey
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Buffalo Beauts announce Deb Cresanti Award, a memorial to a superfan
NWHL MVP Mikyla Grant-Mentis on giving back, making sacrifices for hockey
Holley Tyng joins 5 others in filing an equal pay complaint against Colby
The Dream Gap Tour announces Calgary tournament to crown Canadian champion
The Ice Garden posts an Overlooked Performances series:
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Five at The IX: Hilary Knight
The Dream Gap Tour returns in both the United States and Canada. Earlier this year, we spoke to Hilary Knight between the New York and Chicago stops.
Here are some questions we didn’t run in the March 5 newsletter.
I asked Amanda Kessel this but with the restructuring of the PWHPA, you now have set rosters which wasn’t the case last year. What’s your take on how that might create unique rivalries?
I think there’s a lot of pride online. Minnesota is first New Hampshire, you’re gonna see another amazing game. But yeah, I think in year one we were just trying to try to put it all together. Looking back. we’re like how do we make this more competitive? Having set rosters and set regions as best you can we thought would really be a differentiator for us and I think we’re starting to see that.
The Dream Gap Tour is trying a new scoring model. We’ve seen stuff like this before in women’s hockey during the Aurora Games. Angela Ruggiero and Athletes Unlimited are other innovating sports. Does the scoring model play into your approach or prep for PWHPA games?
First off, I love what Angela’s doing. I think we’ve had a handful of conversations, she’s my mentor, we’d go back and forth like, how do we deliver traditional sports in a non-traditional way?
Obviously, the Athletes Unlimited model has had such an extreme amount of success in such a short time already, which is awesome for women’s sports. To be honest with our points system we’re trying to get creative with, you know, potentially having an even number of games. We don’t know what the total number of games is quite yet because we are still (working through) scheduling constructions. So, I think we’re just trying to figure out a creative way so nothing ends in a tie.
It’s definitely interesting. I like to just show up and play hockey, I mean that’s like the best part of my job … I can assure you from a player’s standpoint, even though we technically Minnesota won the weekend (in New York), it didn’t feel like that, winning after a loss. So we’re coming back training hard this week so looking forward to the next time we can hop on the ice.
Finally, we’ve seen people like Kendall Coyne Schofield or Renee Montgomery get into ownership. Sue Bird has worked with the Denver Nuggets (and now started a company). I wonder if you’ve given thought to, even while you’re still playing or down the road, the impact that you hope to have in the women’s sports landscape?
I mean, you know, women’s sports, in many ways, feel like we’ve never had the platform, we need to help them help us, or of all of us kind of get to the next level and sort of always been chasing this elusive visibility thing that we can never get to our sport even though we know it’s a fantastic sport and we want to share it with everyone who wants to turn on the TV or listen.
I mean there are so many great things that are going on and whenever we can cross-pollinate amongst different sports (Author’s Note: I call this a Strong Crossover), I think it’s gonna reap a lot of rewards as we move forward.
I gotta pry a little bit here … what excites you right now about the possibilities that are open to you? Give me some clues, what are you thinking about? Are you going to go back on SNL?
Oh man, I feel like I should host SNL at some point. That would be amazing. No, I’m quietly dipping my toes into different things and figuring out, you know, what really ignites that passion … I love the space where technology and sports merge and to be able to deliver a different way to look at sports to the consumer. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m somewhere in that space in the future.
As long as I can, you know, wake up and health have a positive impact specifically in hockey and other ways and be able to train full time and do that stuff. You know that’s kind of my main focus right now, but I definitely have a lot of side passion projects that are coming up so that’s exciting.