The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, June 12, 2020

WoHo Spectrum of Demand Pt. I - Interview with Liz Knox - Must-click links

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What is the WoHo Spectrum of Demand for Change?

I didn’t plan to transition to “normal” women’s hockey talk this week, but a certain explanation of why a non-National team athlete is continuing in the PWHPA caught my attention.

Two things stood out reading this tweet: 1) That what Richards was about to share was something she almost didn’t attach her name to and 2) that although she wrote this to originally discuss gender inequality, she now believes, “we cannot separate this discussion from racism as the PWHPA moves forward.”

I tweeted my thoughts after reading Richards’ reflection, so I won’t repeat them here. I will add the following:

  • I don’t agree that NWHL players forfeit their right to speak fairly about the WoHo landscape.

  • I think it’s true some (not all) PWHPA players feel they can express support for the NWHL, but I’m not sure all would feel 100% comfortable publicly critiquing the PWHPA.

  • There is an interesting reference to the NWHL creating a divide upon its arrival. While Richards agrees the NWHL was created for players who wanted more (in relation to the CWHL at the time), she also implies the WoHo divide began back then.

    I agree the lines seemed to be drawn back in 2015 — some CWHL fans/players will automatically be critical of the NWHL and vice versa. It’s also worth noting the most elite/recognized players in WoHo led both exoduses. There is more to unearth there, but we’ll save that for another day.

As loyal readers should know by now, I thoroughly enjoy discussing the Midwest Academy Spectrum of Demand for Social Change.

Kristen’s reflection got me thinking: What would a WoHo Spectrum of Demand for Change look like?

From the Pembroke Pandas to the Minnesota Whitecaps (pre-2018), there have been many WoHo teams and leagues that challenged what existed at the time for women. Post-graduate leagues have also come and gone. We have seen social media campaigns like #BeBoldForChange and #FörFramtiden.

But, what do they all mean within the larger movement to elevate women’s hockey?


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!

Kristen Richards’ reflection can be found here.

More on Kristen’s thoughts, including quotes from Jayna Hefford.

VIDEO: This week, Saroya Tinker joined me on Social Justice in Women’s Hockey. We discuss white gaze, the superwoman trope, and much more.

‘Enough is enough’, says Brigette Lacquette. Time for Canada to put discrimination on ice.

Some NHL players are putting together a Hockey Diversity Alliance to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey”. No women were announced. WOMEN PLAY HCOKEY TOO! According to Saroya Tinker, she has heard from Evander Kane and women’s voices will be heard. There’s a history of Black women being forced/asked to wait for later. So, I’m disappointed, but not surprised.

Our Vision: Hockey Is Indeed For Everyone by Kim Davis

But the NHL doesn’t have Kim Davises everywhere. The NHL twitter account posted (and has since deleted) a cringe-worthy video focused on some dude name Tyler Seguin. Never heard his name in anti-racism circles, even though that was what the video was supposed to be about … it was freaking bad. Hockey in Society and FTW! wrote stories tackling why the video was so poorly received.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Liz Knox, PWHPA

Liz Knox was one of the captains at the last CWHL All-Star Game. She is now on the player advisory for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association. If you read nothing else in this newsletter, please read the answer Liz gives to the third question.

We touch base here and there. But how have you been dealing with Coronavirus, and now there’s a lot of other things that have made the news cycle that we’ll get into. How are you doing during all of this?

Um, you know, not bad. I think I’m one of the unique situations. I’m actually busier than I ever was before quarantine. My day job is in commercial renovations and we work a lot in the hospitals. So we been doing a lot of renovations just in terms of if there were a second wave or if we saw, you know, a surge in cases like we did in Italy, making sure that the hospitals are prepared that their structures are prepared for that, that they can you know, have enough patient beds and that sort of thing. And then I’m a volunteer firefighter on the on the side so obviously making medical calls and stuff like that. I’m very fortunate I mean, I have work so I’m very fortunate for that I have you know, good family at home and while I’m at work, I have lots of PPE and and I feel well protected by my employers so there’s certainly worst cases in the world so I you know, I just kind of count my blessings.

Amid a worldwide pandemic, once you started seeing the news, particularly of George Floyd, what were some of the first things that crossed your mind?

If you had a told us that 2020 had this pandemic in store for us, and then arguably, that wouldn’t be the biggest thing that we self-reflect on — or that we have to kind of change and interrogate in our own lives — I think most people at the beginning of the pandemic would have thought you’re off your rocker!

It’s, it’s terribly tragic. What happened to George Floyd, what is happening to Black people — not just in the States, but as you said in n Canada, as well — and Breonna Taylor, another very tragic example. I think I’ve conjoined the two and I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think about it. I just think we’re, in an interesting way, kind of in the perfect scenario to sit and think about our lives. Think about our privilege or you know, think about our lack of privilege. Think about what kind of mark we want to leave on history … like any good change, it takes the right group of people to do it.

As I said, it’s, it’s unfortunate to see it as an opportunity because so many lives and so many tragic events had to lead to it. But, you know, the optimism is says to find the silver lining and hopefully we find the stage to really make a difference moving forward.

And have you been having conversations about what has been happening with other people? What are some of the questions or the challenges that has presented?

I was a sociology major in university. So fortunately, or unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that I’ve looked at my own life. But I think I’m realizing that that’s a school of thought that a lot of people haven’t really had the taste of, and especially white people.

So I think my first instinct was to reach out to my Black friends and you know, check-in on them make sure that they are okay. People like Sarah Nurse come to mind as somebody who not only has had to deal with the discrimination of being a Black woman in hockey her whole life, but now has this huge spotlight on her of, you know, ‘What do you think of this?’ And her friends coming to her being like, ‘What do we do? How do I say the right thing?’ And that’s not a spotlight she’s ever asked for, same as Saroya Tinker, Kelsey Koelzer, Blake Bolden. You know, these women are powerful and empowered women who are using their voice but it’s not something they’ve ever asked for. So, my first reaction was checking with my friends and you know, make sure that they’re okay. Obviously, a very, very traumatic footage that came out of the George Floyd murder.

And then of course, my next thing is to talk to my white friends and have those conversations that I’ve honestly never had with them because race is not something that we often talk about, especially in the hockey world. Separate politics and sports, that’s what we keep hearing. But I had a few tough conversations honestly, [asking them] the same sort of thing. What kind of mark do you want to leave on history?

And, part of those conversations was reaching out to people with big platforms that maybe in the past have made some comments or done some things that — I’ve met them in person and I don’t honestly believe that’s the kind of people that they are. And so I think the best thing I can do is just offer the conversation. You never know where it’s gonna go. But, if you don’t reach out, if you don’t lend the olive branch, then the conversation stops there. And I think that is on my shoulders. It’s part of my purpose to have tough conversations with people that maybe have never had to have them before.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala