The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, April 5, 2019

In Mourning — Interview with Loren Gabel — must-click women's hockey links

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In Mourning

On Sunday, March 31, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced it would fold effective May 1, 2019. Days later, and I still don’t know what to write.

I have lots of thoughts and even more questions. However, they all circle around the same idea: Women deserve better.

The players, coaches, staff, and volunteers (formerly) of the CWHL deserved better than a morning conference call on a Sunday. Why Sunday? Why the same day United States and Canadian players flew out to Finland for Worlds?

Some wonder why the timing matters. Why people questions the motives of a league announcing its dissolution at the time of an International Tournament. Well, for me, it boils down to respect.

At a time the world should be celebrating a great Germany win, Shannon Szabados’ 50 International win, and much more, national team players and pioneers are being asked for comment on one of the most devastating professional moments of their career.

I’ve never been a fan of the #OneLeague and I have even more difficulties wrapping my mind around #NoLeague or #TheRightLeague. However, I think what we’ve heard from those players who’ve raised their voices so far is, there is much to be improved in women’s hockey.

I think what is also telling is that players are, and have been, dissatisfied with the state of women’s hockey. I keep playing in my head something Liz Knox told me after the last (ever?) CWHL All-Star Game:

“I think the thing people fear is that somebody is going to come in and turn this into something that it hasn’t been. Or turn this into something that it’s not. At the end of the day, it just won’t happen because the players will not play for something that they don’t believe in.”

I still want to believe Liz. Especially because, I think #OneLeague has always been more of a rebel cry than most gave it credit for.

That said, I am still not sold on the NHL being the better choice from a women’s hockey culture perspective or even from a players right perspective. To begin, I have no reason to believe from my conversations with Commissioner Gary Bettman he wants anything to do with women’s hockey, his actions have proven such.

I respect that players want the NHL, but I hope they have long, hard conversations with WNBA players, or the Canadian and U.S Women’s Soccer Teams. Both will tell them the grass ain’t always greener on the other side. Especially not for those who won’t make top tier money (WNBA rookies and non-Federation NWSL players, for example).

But, I do agree with something Caroline Ouellette told the Associated Press, along the lines perhaps of what Knox was saying,

“I think 100% the players know they are the ones holding the power. They know the game is going to take the direction that they want it to take.”

Below are a handful of takes on the closure and what has come since. I’ll have more on this soon, but let’s not ignore the other amazing stories coming out of the women’s hockey world.

We can do both, women are good like that!

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second, Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, & webmasters. Third, I’d love to hear from YOU email me!

Natalie Spooner pens a piece about the CWHL folding.

Emily Kaplan on the NWHL plans to expand to Montreal and Toronto next season.

Despite it all, please take a moment to sift through the hot takes and the hard news.

Wisconsin Badgers fans, walk down memory lane and relive the 2018-19 season.

Michelle Karvinen, Finnish hockey player and graphic designer honors former teammate Riikka Sallinen.

Hefty Raises, Olympic Gold, and Then Crumbs for U.S. Women’s Hockey. A glimpse into just how far gold will take women’s hockey in America.

I wrote about Megan Bozek returning to USA Hockey ahead of the IIHF Women’s Worlds Tournament in Finland.

Liz Knox, Courtney Szto, and Kirsten Whalen join The Current. There was also an emotional conversation with Tracey Tanner, the creator of Glory, a play about Preston Rivulettes.

In 1987, the best women in hockey hailed from Canada (and Ontario)

Shannon Szabados is one of the top goaltenders in all of women’s hockey. Hear the Canadian netminder relive her first Worlds and whether Canada is sweating their Women’s World’s gold medal dry spell.

The 2019 IIHF Women’s Worlds are already underway, but it’s not too late to catch up on The Ice Garden team previews: USA, Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, and Russia.

Eileen Meslar talks USA Ball Hockey.

Tweet of the Week

Please provide the time & date, Buffalo Beauts!

Five at The IX with Loren Gabel

Loren Gabel got scoring started for Team Canada in their 6-0 opening win over Switzerland. Here is a conversation of the reigning Patty Kazmainer Memorial Award Winner. Photo credit: Matthew Raney (@MatthewRaney)

Nicole Hasse: You were pretty emotional last night, obviously. Is this a nice way to not have that be the last memory you have?

Loren Gabel: Yeah, for sure. I mean, obviously, we really wanted to win another national championship. [But], couldn’t have gotten here without my teammates and coaching staff. And, you know, it’s just this amazing honor.

Erica L. Ayala: Your coach [Mike Derosiers] just talked about how you’ve been a mentor to some of the Clarkson women, what does that mean to you, hearing that?

LG: It’s amazing, you know, leading our underclassmen every day, day in and day out and leading them in the right direction to, you know, pursue that hard work and dedication and kind of sort of leave a mark in the Clarkson hockey program is amazing. And for me to be one of those players is a complete honor.

ELA: And you’ll be with Team Canada [for the 2019 Women’s Worlds] are there some players that you’re looking forward to being mentored by?

LG: Yeah, for sure. Laura Fortino is definitely one of them. She’s definitely been my little buddy when we go to camps and stuff. She’s really supportive of me, and I think encourages me every single day to keep working hard.

Reporter asks Gabel about her community work

LG: Yeah, for sure. [I] obviously like helping out in the community. [It’s] definitely a privilege to have what we have and helping other people and doing community outreach is definitely amazing and something that obviously helps with the resume as well.

Nicole Hasse: You talked about how when you went to Clarkson, you kind of weren’t even aware of that national champion. There’s a chance that could have been a one off, but like, obviously, it’s not. And you guys … not only showed what you guys are capable of, but I think like sort of any smaller school that it’s not just sort of those big names.

LG: Yeah, for sure. Especially making it to the Frozen Four for four years straight. Definitely an honor for our team. And obviously, my senior class has been through it all. You know, winning those two national championships, I never would have thought of winning one, let alone two. And it’s just amazing honor and an unbelievable accomplishment that it’s very indescribable.

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