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

The Final Countdown–Interview with Kendall Coyne Schofield–Must-click women's hockey links

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The women’s hockey season is coming to a close. We are entering the final week or so of NCAA action, both North American leagues are closing in on the 2019 playoffs, and the Top-10 Patty Kazmaier Award Finalists have been announced.

It was another trying week for the Metropolitan Riveters, as they dropped an 8-1 game at home against the Boston Pride. The team seems to be taking measures to figure out where to go from here. The team had a players-only skate on Tuesday and a series of meetings ahead of their road trip to Buffalo this weekend.

Tensions are still high regarding coach Randy Velischek and some of the criticism is warranted. However, it is also true that the players have some decisions to make individually and as a team. It’s hard to imagine any coaching changes will happen with only two games left. So what will the coaches and players draw up to close out the season? A turnaround at this point seems a high mountain to climb, especially given the congestion of talent at the top of the standings.

Last weekend, a series split against GTA (greater Toronto area) CWHL rival Markham kept the Toronto Furies playoff hopes alive. Calgary and Montreal have locked in the top two spots. The Inferno can play spoiler for the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays – who currently sit in the fourth and final playoff spot – as they look to sweep a three-game series in China concluding tomorrow. The Inferno took the first game 2-1 amd won the second game just this morning 4-3 in overtime.

Finally, I want to weigh in on media members offering an opinion about professional athletes while also criticizing said athletes for responding to criticism. From Liz Cambage, to Yael Averbuch, to Liz Knox, to Kelli Stack, I’m here for players setting the record straight on social media.

As media members, of course we are entitled to an opinion. Being a journalist, I strongly believe, should not mean one must curb their opinions on any number of things. Similarly, just as journalists can respond to a critique via the comments section or an article thread, the same should be true for a player offering a clapback.

All parties tweet at your own risk!

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: The underlined words are the links. CLICK these! Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, and webmasters. If you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

“If I can’t continue playing because of location, then I won’t,” said Lauren Williams (Worchester Blades). The Daily Cardinal shares the experiences of several professional hockey players.

“I think that we know that wasn’t one of our finest moments, but you learn from that and you keep going.” NHL VP Kim Davis on the decision to have Kid Rock perform at 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa.

Congrats to Katie Million, current women’s commissioner and vice president of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) on her appointment as director of women’s national team programs for USA Hockey.

Jillian Dempsey made NWHL history on Monday. That and more in this edition of Behind the Glass.

Randy Velischek on his goalie rotation, includes audio and transcript.

“One of the best games ever”:An oral history of the 2014 Sochi gold medal game (paywall)

Another women’s team struggling to get wins in Worchester. A look a Holy Cross in their first Division I season.

The Top-10 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Finalists have been announced. Who do you think the Top Three finalists will be?

Photo essay Celebrating The Anniversary Of The U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team’s First Olympic Gold.

University of Maine suspends four players, one arrested.

Mike Murphy on whether Ann-Sophie Bettez and Jamie Lee Rattray did enough to stay on Team Canada.

Why I Love Women’s Hockey, but hate the CWHL” is the name of this article. Worth reading with an eye on the broader WoHo community.

Michelle Jay with Off Ice Observations from the #RivalrySeries

Host country Russia announced 2019 FISU Winter Universiade roster.

Tweet of the Week

The Ohio State University shows off the figure skating skills of some of their players

Five at The IX: Kendall Coyne Schofield – Minnesota Whitecaps

I spoke with USA Hockey & Minnesota Whitecaps forward Kendall Coyne Schofield yesterday about the one-year anniversary of the 2018 Winter Olympic gold medal game, fighting through the fatigue of the 2017 #BeBoldForChange boycott, and what she hopes the next 365 days will bring. Photo credit: Matthew Raney (@matthewraney )

Erica L. Ayala: If I’ve done my math correctly tomorrow (February 22nd) is the one year anniversary of the 2018 Olympic gold medal game. Can you take me back to your routine the day before a big game like that?

Kendall Coyne Schofield: Yeah, so my routine wouldn’t change. Even though the game is bigger than any game I’ve played in dating back to the 2014 gold medal game, as an elite athlete, you can’t change your mindset, your preparation, or your mentality because there’s more on the line. You have to stick to your strengths stick to your routines because you know that’s what works.

So, going into the 2018 gold medal game I didn’t change much. I continued to prepare the way I would prepare for a game. And I would say the same was true for my teammates. When we got to the rink on that day, everyone was was a lot looser than 2014. Everyone just seemed to be themselves and prepare the way that they would prepare and no one changed because the moment was was a big moment. Everyone was pretty consistent with their preparation.

ELA: I want to just go off of what you just said about there being a little bit more relaxation than what you felt and perceived in 2014. We just discussed your preparation for the game being the same. So, what do you think was the difference there?

KCS: I think it was the confidence [for] each other. Our team was closer than any team I’ve been a part of. And I think we went through a lot as a team and we bonded together dating back to the 2017 boycott. We’ve been through a lot together and I think the confidence within the players who haven’t been to the Olympic Games brought more confidence to the players who have been to the Olympic Games and who have lost in the past.

To see them as loose as they were, to see them as confident as they were — and most of them have never lost an international competition to that point because we did go 4-4 in World Championships up until that moment. So, a lot of those players have never even lost an International competition. A lot of us that have been there and lost and knew that heartbreak feeling looked to those players who didn’t know what that feeling was like. Their confidence was just oozing out of them and I think a lot of us veterans who have been to the Olympics were able to pull that confidence out of them and really contain confidence throughout the entire room.

ELA: Going off of that, there were a lot of conversations, as you mentioned, leading into the United States hosting Worlds in Michigan in 2017 . It seems like everything was out on the table, some of the veteran players were talking to the players within the pipeline — some that have made their way back to the national team now others that are making their way to the senior national team for the first time.

I can only imagine that that brought a lot of stress. What do you remember about that and having to fight for what you knew and believed to be best for the future of the game while also preparing for the immediate future which is you know the Worlds and then the Olympics coming up?

KCS: It was a stressful two weeks. But it was an amazing two weeks. We were able to come together as players and take a stance that we knew was going to impact the game forever. And while the focus was on twenty-three players that were playing in World Championships to the cause and the reasoning was much greater than twenty-three players. It just took twenty-three players to put their foot down and say we won’t play unless significant progress is made. So you know, what I remembered was was the strength in the pack. And by the pack, I mean the women’s hockey community.

ELA: Absolutely. And so far its paying dividends. Of course, now we know that the NHL was one of the supporters of the team financially. I should say, by way of making funds available to USA Hockey. Have you seen more involvement with the National Hockey League since those negotiations? What has that looked like?

KCS: The National Hockey League has always been a supporter of women’s hockey. They embody Hockey is for Everyone. They always say that and they always prove it. Their involvement has always been strong within the women’s game and they continue to support us and they continue to help grow our game and it’s just exciting.

ELA: Kendall finally, you’ve had this whirlwind of a year. 365 days jam packed full of amazing hockey feats. You have the Isobel Cup Playoffs and Worlds. For you, what has stood out most in the last 365 days and what are you looking forward to in the next year?

KCS: I think what’s really fueled me in the last 365 days is seeing the impact that doing something I love so much has had on others. It’s been an absolute honor to be considered a role model for so many young people and especially to see the spike in growth in the game of hockey, specifically girls hockey, has been unbelievable.

I mean talking about 365 days ago, winning a gold medal and coming back to the United States and seeing how many people were inspired through that game. And then just talking about three weeks ago, how many people around the world were inspired by my skate at the All-Star Skills Competition.

It’s been an amazing 365 days and I think in the future I’m looking forward to continuing to do what I love and also trying to impact others along the way in a positive manner.

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