The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, February 28, 2020

Black Hockey History Tour - Interview with Renee Hess - Must-click WoHo Links!

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Black Hockey History Tour – California Edition

Hello from sunny So Cal – is anyone keeping track of all the places I’ve filed from.

Anyway, I’m here in California working the Black Hockey History mobile museum. For the second year, the NHL and NHLPA have partners with American Legacy Network to celebrate Black Hockey history.

We spent time at a local Anaheim elementary school on Monday, lounged with the Ducks on Tuesday, and made a stop at the Staples Center Wednesday. The truck is currently headed up to San Jose for a day outside the Shark Tank, and another community event.

It’s been amazing to see the reception of the exhibit and special guests Blake Bolden and Willie O’Ree on this leg of the tour. From fans going to enjoy an NHL game to passerby, its been great to spread the good word. The weather here is an added bonus.

The only downside to the truck itself is that we don’t get it all year round. I might also add I’d like to see more women featured… but that would mean we’d need more Black women playing. We are getting there, though!

As you will see in the links, there are more Black women and women of color making their way through the ranks! Blake Bolden was the toast of the town this week in So Cal. Kelsey Koelzer also continues to break barriers, now as a coach. Both will be playing in the Philadelphia stop of the Dream Gap tour this weekend. If you’re like me and can’t make the games, we have some news on that front in the links.

Overall, I’m thrilled I got to spend the final days of Black History Month celebrating Blackness in Hockey! This is the community that ushered me into the sport, this is the community I belong to, this is a community that continues to thrive and celebrate each other.

I am also a proud Black Latina and have met members of mi familia here in California equally proud to celebrate our history. Now, I must admit, I don’t know how many people from the Latinos community are in the hockey space, but with Hispanic History Month coming up, I look forward to finding out!

Countdown to Worlds!

Hi everyone! We are 31 days away from the 2020 IIHF World Championships in Canada! We have put together a Civil Boost to help fund travel expenses for The IX to cover the elimination rounds.

This will be my first Worlds and I am so excited! I’ll be coming straight from the NCAA Frozen Four, to the NCAA Final Four, to Worlds. That is why we’re asking for some help! We are so thankful for our subscribers, but sometimes we need a little BOOST to cover women’s sports in the manner deserving of these amazing athletes.

Subscribers and followers will get additional women’s hockey content during my time in Canada.

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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!

PODCAST: Blake Bolden chats about her role with the L.A Kings, the Black Hockey History museum, and making WoHo inclusive.

The Color of Hockey profiled Blake Bolden.

Blake will participate in the sold out PWHPA showcase in New Jersey this weekend. The action will be streamed on the EPSN app and Monumental Sports App.

Rachel Llanes goes from role player to star, writes Mike Murphy.

I wrote about Willie O’Ree for NHL Seattle.

Darnell Nurse comes from a family full of women who ball!

Sarah Nurse named one of Sportsnet’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Hockey!

The wild, crazy, and hella-exciting life of Kimberly Sass as told by The Victory Press.

WGBH Radio: The Boston Pride — Top Team In The National Women’s Hockey League — Faces Pivotal Season

Saint Anselm survives EIGHT periods of hockey to make the NEWHA championship game. This is for all those who don’t like the shootout!

PWHPA postpones weeklong hockey tour in Japan due to coronavirus

Tatiana Shatalova discusses why she wears #17 for the Riveters.

Blake Bolden continues to make history as a scout, writes Helene Elliot.

Melissa Burgess joins WBFO/NPR for the final Beauts recap before the playoffs.

USA Hockey names roster for Women’s Worlds in Canada.

Renee Hess recounts the Black History celebration in Pittsburgh. Hess is the founder of the Black Girl Hockey Club, and our Five at the IX guest this week.

Tweet of the Week

First season, check! First Championship, check! Congrats to the LIU Sharks.

Five at The IX: Renee Hess, Black Girl Hockey Club

Renee Hess is the founder of the Black Girl Hockey Club. She is an academic living and working in California. In addition to conducting this meeting (and a planning call for BGHC prior), I got to attend my second Pittsburgh Penguins game with Renee while here in Cali. Note: Responses have been editing for brevity. Photo from

This has been the second full season of Black Girl Hockey Club meetups. You have one more coming up in Columbus, but what have been your takeaways from This season so far?

We did a lot in five weeks! Six clubs in five weeks. My takeaway is there is a audience for these types of events, that the (NHL) clubs need only to put the effort to engage and people will come out.

One of the cornerstones of our meetup, is that … we’re not asking for free tickets. Free tickets are great. Please give us free tickets that’s nice! But we’re fans that are coming to your arenas to spend money, all that we ask is that we have a place to do that.

That’s something that was reinforced in this last season, is that Black Girl Hockey Club has the opportunity to be that entry point for so many of those different groups of people, because we’re welcoming you know? If you’re cool we’re cool. We’re cool with you. It’s all about uniting the community, under something that we all love.

Has there been a specific engagement that you’ve had that has really resonated with you and has made you feel positively about the future of BGHC?

I’m going to keep coming back to the Pittsburgh meetup because that was incredibly inspiring for me. I didn’t know that we could do so much. I had hoped and wanted to, but to see what we were able to accomplish in Pittsburgh — not just in terms of getting 50 women together again — but being involved in a community activation with the Penguins, that was just amazing for me.  I was so glad that they had allowed us to be part of that.

It was something that we had just briefly spoke about. And it was so inspiring to work with Tracy (McCants-Lewis) and Delvina (Morrow) in Pittsburgh. Just their commitment to their community and to engaging the Black community in Pittsburgh. It was just really inspiring to see how well they work in the community and how passionate they are about their community and integrating Black folks into hockey. Then being able to have a real academic panel, to sit down and talk frankly about race and hockey and how those things that made me spoiled for it! I want to do that everywhere we go now … having Tracy and Delvina, having Black folks working on this project, just made it that much more special.

When will you start ramping up again for for 2020-21?

You know what, Corinne (Douglas) and I and now you’re going to be helping out on that, we’ll be working on that starting in May. In all honesty, we’re already thinking of where we’re going to go. We already have two cities for next season. There were a number of clubs that I talked to (in November) that were interested in having us come out. What I would like to do takes more than just a couple of weeks of planning.

Take Pittsburgh: It took us six months to get that together. August to January, that’s how long it took us to get that together. So, we’re already planning for next season and the meetups for next season. And, ideally this would be something that is ongoing. That’s why last year I was so adamant about doing something in the summer in June for Pride.

I think that … we’ve got to engage all year round. It can’t just be during Black History Month or Women’s History Month … it was a challenge, but I wanted to make sure that we were letting our BGHC family know that we still care.

Are there any things that are on your bucket list or your whiteboard when it comes to things that you’d like to see for BlackRock Hockey Club down the road?

Well, I mentioned to you guys (on a programming call) having chapters in the various NHL cities, that’s something that I would like to see happen. Having a Black Girl Hockey Club chapter in every NHL city, let’s do it! We’re working on a scholarship program that I would love to get off the ground next season, knock on wood, where we can identify Black girl hockey players who have a financial need, and help them subsidize the costs of seasonal hockey. I think this is something that is so important, and can be a gateway to increasing visibility for the scholarship.Yeah, let’s let’s go with those two things (laughs)!

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 High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell,
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala