The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, March 22, 2019

Luleå repeats as SDHL champs, will they defend their Champions Cup title? Interview with WCHA Commissioner Katie Million

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Champions crowned

Both the SDHL (Luleå) and NWHL (Minnesota Whitecaps) champions have been crowned. If the inaugural Champions Cup hosted by the NWHL becomes an annual showdown, those two teams will face off come the fall. If the tournament expands to include the CWHL, we won’t have to wait much longer.

The SDHL is the only league that will see a repeat, as Luleå defeated 5-1 in a five-game series (Ah, a SERIES! A FIVE GAME SERIES!). Both the 2018 Clarkson Cup champions (Markham Thunder) and the Isobel Cup Champions (Metropolitan Riveters) fell in the semifinal rounds of their respective leagues.

On Sunday, Les Canadiennes and the Calgary Inferno will face off in Toronto for all the glory. Montreal and Calgary have been the best teams all season. The Inferno hold the regular season series 4-2 . However, in a one-game playoff, it will be anyone’s game. The exciting news surrounding this final is, there will be a broadcast in French as well as on the NHL Network for American fans to watch.

What is mildly less exciting for me and other NCAA fans is the CWHL Final is happening at the same time as the NCAA Final in Hamden, CT — The IX will be on-site bringing you NCAA coverage.

However, between the broadcasting and media coverage of the NWHL Final, it almost seems like an embarrassment of riches I’ve never seen in women’s hockey before, so let’s go with it, eh?

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!

SN Q&A: Inferno’s Mandi Duhamel on Clarkson Cup Final, ball hockey and a ‘single, unified professional league’. Great work by my podcast co-host, Mike Murphy!

Luleå dominated in the fifth game to secure another SDHL title.

What Gender Equality Month means to me: Blake Bolden

The Ice Garden has NWHL team recaps, starting with the Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, and the Boston Pride.

Rheaume’s impact on women’s hockey still being felt: Goalie became first female to play in NHL game more than 26 years ago

It’s NCAA Frozen Four time! The field is set, but read how Cornell, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Clarkson advanced.

Nicole Haase is on the Minnesota Gophers beat this weekend, read her Frozen Four preview!

Over a decade ago, Jack Brodt started the Whitecaps so players like his daughter, Winny would have somewhere to train for the national team after college. Here is my on-ice interview with Jack shortly after winning the Isobel Cup 2-1 over Buffalo in overtime.

With a 5-1 loss to Minnesota, Miye D’Oench is officially retired. Listen to her speak about the game and her immediate reactions/reflections on her hockey career.

There is no love lost between Clarkson and Wisconsin, writes Nicole Haase.

Tweet of the Week

Like Katie McGovern, I too am weak over the belly flop. Congrats on a great tweet and a great championship win, Hannah Brandt!

Five at The IX: WCHA Commissioner Katie Million

Erica L. Ayala: Katie Million we’re here after the Whitecaps take home the 20 19 Isabelle cup and then of course Minnesota and Wisconsin we found out yesterday advance. What’s this weekend been like for you?

Katie Million: Oh my goodness what a what a weekend for women’s hockey. It’s just been really exciting. Obviously was here at the game on Friday night to watch the Whitecaps advance to today. Saturday, big Gopher game with the big win heading into frozen four which is so exciting. Along with our Wisconsin Badgers as you mentioned. And today holy cow what a game. So much fun. Such energy such a great game and just so proud of the Whitecaps for capping the season off their first season and the NWHL with the big win and the Isobel Cup, it’s just so exciting.

ELA: Absolutely and there’s still more hockey to come of course now Wisconsin and Minnesota will head out back where I’m from on the East Coast for the Frozen Four. But before we get there I want to talk a little bit about some news that came out about you transitioning from the WCHA to USA Hockey. Sounds like it might be bittersweet.’

KM: It’s definitely bittersweet Erica. It’s really been a crazy last couple of months. But yes, heading to USA hockey as the Women’s National Team Director. I’ve thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed my time with the WCHA and I look forward to capping off the my career with them as the commissioner with hopefully a national championship. But we’ll see what happens next weekend. But very excited for the future and to work with all the ladies on the U.S. national teams and to get started there. Very exciting.

ELA: And do you have an idea of what your directive will be in that position. I know that you and I spoke when you first joined up with the WCHA. And one of the things you really wanted to do is have people think differently about how to market and approach women’s hockey and I’m just curious if that’s some of what you hope to do with USA hockey as well?

KM: Yeah for sure I mean with the movement of women’s hockey and where it’s headed and events like today that’s definitely something on our radar is to keep that momentum going and keep women’s hockey on the forefront and keep it growing and you know get it to as many markets as we possibly can. So that little girls get to see it and get to be it one day.

ELA: And then finally as I said we’ll get back to WCHA. It’s been another great season of action and again you’ll have two teams out in Hamden competing for what you hope will be a national title. But, what can you say about the competition level this year, the 20th anniversary of the WCHA?

ELA: Well, we still have to find out. And you say now that it will take the pressure off, but I think you’d still be nervous!

KM: (Laughs) Definitely I remember last year feeling like a nervous mom. So I expect that again.

ELA: Well thank you so much and best of luck to you.

KM: Thank you, Erica.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala