Wisconsin is your NCAA preseason favorite — WCHA Commissioner Jen Flowers — Must-click women’s hockey links

But what kind of league will they be coming home to?

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Back to this decade and what we hope will be a return to normal, although an establishment of the new normal is more apropos. Between the lingering effects of COVID and the implementation of NIL rights, this will be a college hockey season like no other.

However, to quote WCHA Commissioner Jen Flowers, having a WCHA team atop the national poll does feel “traditional” if not “normal”. Wisconsin won the 2021 NCAA Frozen Four and the 2019 championship before that.

Fifth year forward and preseason Player of the Year Darryl Watts called winning last March one of the most thrilling moments of her life. It was so good, in fact, she hopes to do it again!

“I’m so looking forward to getting back on the ice and working with my teammates and coaches to win our third championship, go for the 3-peat.”

The WCHA will follow NCAA COVID policy and Commissioner Flowers says the league is ready to play as many games as they possibly can. As for the games they can’t, well… those will not be rescheduled if the games is cancelled for COVID-related reasons.

Teams like Minnesota will want to play as many games as possible to increase their chances of making the postseason. The Golden Gophers were on the outside looking in last season in what some considered a raw deal. The shenanigans abound, perhaps, as COVID may still complicate things. And a proposal to expand the NCAA postseason field was tabled.

“I think it was a long shot to get expansion this year … so having it be tabled is not a no, it’s just a not right now,” Flowers said. “So, they’ll circle back and look at that. I think it just makes a lot of sense with five (automatically qualifying) … I’m pretty confident it’s gonna happen.”

Well, perhaps something to look forward to. So, let’s not return to “normal” or “traditional”! Cheers to expansion, a B1G network deal for the ONLY women’s-only hockey conference, and much more!

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Week in Women’s Hockey


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Must-Click Links

USCHO preseason poll has Wisconsin on top.

Congrats to Raffi Wolf, who will be inducted into the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame.

Casey suggesting Blake Bolden as the PHF silhouette is only one of MANY dope things coming from this Rebrad Roundtable.

PWHPA Canadian champions (Montreal) will be sponsored by Harvey’s.

Julie Chu tapped as guest coach for Tampa Bay development camp.

Marisa Ingemi with a women’s hockey notebook.

“To be able to have two teams with competing offers was something that was a new experience for me,” Boulier said. “Just shows the growth within our sport. I think just in having conversations with both organizations it sounds like the Pride are going to be a bit more accommodating.”

Amanda Boulier on signing with the Boston Pride

Tweet of the Week


Five at The IX: WCHA Commissioner Jen Flowers

Here are some takeaways from he WCHA Media Day. Click the link below to watch the full media day video.

Opening Statement concluded with:

“It’s been a long, it’s been a long year and a half or so and I can say with certainty that we’re very ready and we’re prepared to play as many hockey games as we safely can. We’re very excited and lookinf forwards to dropping the puck on our season next week.”

On whether this season will be easier regarding COVID and scheduling:

I want to be optimistic and say yes … thanks for the question. I think it feels … I hate the word “normal”, but a bit more traditional, a bit more what we’ve been accustomed to. Certainly there were advantages, if you will at times with seven teams (such as) the ability to reschedule as COVID forced us into a few of those things. That’s not going to be an option for us this year. In fact, it’s clear in our protocols for the year that if a game is not played specifically fro COVID reasons, it will not be rescheduled.

On COVID Protocols regarding forfeits, etc.

We will follow NCAA Sports Science Institute guidelines … and that relates to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. If a game is not played in the WCHA for any reason, it will be a no contest and if it is a COVID-specific reason for not playing it will not be rescheduled. If it is … weather, a travel hiccup or something like that, we will make every effort to try and reschedule.

On the WCHA statement and communication regarding vaccination:

Strongly encouraged, is the language we’ve used the entire time. We do have four institutions that as institutions are mandating the vaccine. Overall, our vaccination rate as a league – student athletes, staff, etc – is very, very strong. We feel like we are in a really, really good place.

On the change to a women’s-only conference for the first time:

We’re very excited, I guess. Obviously, its very unique and it’s been a bit of an interesting challenge to get to this point. But I think the one thing that I hope that we’re going to be doing our best at … is that we’re just the WCHA and we’re not going to refer to ourselves as the women’s league of the WCHA or anything like that. We’re trying to just step into that space and own it as it is our brand now and our name.

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By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer

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Written by Erica L. Ayala