Women’s hockey celebrates the anniversary of Title IX — Lexi Templeman on a whirlwind 10 months — Must-click women’s hockey links
The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, June 24, 2022
Welcome back to Hockey Friday. It’s been a great summer so far for women’s sports and women in sports…and yet, we would do well to remember that a lot of our wins and gains and successes today might never have been possible without the passage of Title IX in 1972.
Across women’s hockey, players, management, and fans alike have joined together to celebrate what this anniversary means to the sport. For some, it meant the opportunity to play hockey beyond a backyard rink, and it paved the way for the professional organizations we see today. For others, it meant equal opportunity on the ice and finding motivation off of it.
Anya Packer, former general manager of the PHF’s Metropolitan Riveters and wife to current Riveters captain Madison Packer, shared a thread on Twitter about what the legislation meant — and means — to her.
Clarkson Cup champion and retired women’s hockey goaltender Liz Knox shared her personal connection to the act on Twitter too, including a module from the legislation to which her own dad contributed (see the highlighted text in the embedded Tweet).
Billie Jean King, whose connection to women’s hockey can be found through her endorsement of the PWHPA and pretty much everywhere else, also shared a personal video to Twitter to express what the legislation meant to her and her career — and what it means for future generations of athletes all over the country.
Title IX means so much to so many people across the country. Without it, we might never have seen Minnesota or Wisconsin compete for the most national titles in Division-I women’s hockey, or schools like Ohio State win their first title. We might never have watched those national champions become professionals or Olympians.
I’ll admit that while I’ve never been an athlete (unless you count the three-month tap dance program and following recital I performed in when I was four), seeing what this legislation means to the people I admire, respect, and cover has been nothing short of eye-opening. If you have the time, look through the #TitleIX on Twitter or browse Instagram for more stories.
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This Week in Women’s Hockey
Friesen filled with Pride celebrating 2022 Isobel Cup championship (The Ice Garden)
On the success of TSN’s IIHF Women’s U-18 World Championship broadcast (The Victory Press)
U.S. women’s hockey trailblazer Abby Roque giving back to her roots (Just Women’s Sports)
Minnesota Whitecaps add free agent Olivia Knowles (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Five at The IX: Lexi Templeman
After the 2020-21 season, Robert Morris cut its men’s and women’s hockey programs. Captain Lexi Templeman had to figure out where she was going to play…but we’d say it all worked out pretty well for her. The IX sat down with 2022 national champion and Toronto Six signee Templeman to chat about her time with the Colonials to her time with the Six, and everything in between.
Question: It’s been a pretty intense twelve months for you, starting with Robert Morris cutting its hockey programs after the 2020-21 season. Tell me about how that decision by the school’s administration affected you personally, and then affected your career.
Lexi Templeman: Yeah, so personally like, it took a really big toll on me right away. Just because it came as such shocking news…and I didn’t really know what to think at first, and there’s so many different thoughts going through your head about like, Will I ever play again? What’s going to happen next?
And I think that for me and all of my teammates, it just…it was really devastating because we knew we all wouldn’t get to play together again. And some [of my teammates] kind of had to reach the conclusion that they may never get to play hockey again. So it was really devastating on a personal level.
And then as far as my career goes, everything, as you know, ended up working out very, very well for me, but in that given moment, initial shock kind of hit. I kind of found myself in like, a roadblock in my career. And I didn’t really know how to feel because I, again, had to make the decision whether I was going to transfer and go somewhere else or whether I was going to finish out my master’s program at Robert Morris that I had already started. I think that it felt like very dark there for like a few days and then once teams started reaching out, once I started getting a plan together for myself as to what I was going to do next, it all started to kind of come back and things started to work out a little bit. But it was very, very challenging, but I think that for me, it ended up working out very good. And I’m obviously still not happy with the decision they made but I think for me and my game, it ended up really giving me an opportunity to build and grow and kind of evolve and play in a national championship.
Q: You ended up transferring to Ohio State to finish out your final year of eligibility, but what convinced you that Ohio State was the right choice for you?
Templeman: So the day our program got cut, later that day, I entered the transfer portal and I was just kind of thinking like, Alright, like, I can make a decision from here, keep my options open. I’ll enter the portal and just see what kind of happens.
So the next day after entering the portal, there were quite a few coaches reaching out and [Ohio State head coach] Nadine Muzerall was one of them. And I think that when her name came across my email, I was like, Wow, like that’s incredible. Obviously, knowing [Ohio State women’s hockey’s] background and their success in the past, I was really pleased with that. So we had spoken on the phone and I could tell like, how passionate she was as a coach. And you can just tell stats-wise, how good the team has done since she took over so I knew that she’s a winning coach, and she was going to take the team to a national championship. And so athletics-wise, I was like, that would be the perfect fit for me.
But one big thing that I’m really like passionate about is my education and my academics. So before I could commit to anything, I wanted to make sure my academics were going to work out so [Muzerall] put me in contact with people that were going to be able to help me with academics and just see if, you know finishing a master’s within my time my 12 months or nine months or whatever, at Ohio State would even be possible. So once I was able to find out that it was going to, academically, work out and athletically work out. It made my decision a no-brainer to come to not only a successful team and athletic department, but also a really well0known school academically.
Q: After everything that has happened to you in the past year, what did winning that national title with Ohio State in State College, PA, feel like?
Templeman: Yeah, it was it was just unbelievable, really. It really left me speechless because like you said, like, only 10 months before we won, I was left without a team, with my hockey program being cut and so to bounce back, find a new team, move to a new city, start at a new school, and then to win a national championship…there was no better way it could have gone. It has just been the craziest 10 months of my life and I felt like it all came together at the end. So I was just speechless, but it was such an unbelievable feeling.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the decision making process behind joining not only the PHF, but specifically the Toronto Six.
Templeman: Yeah, so I’ve always dreamed of playing professionally. And I think that as the professional game continues to grow, it’s becoming a lot more of a reality for women to play professionally and actually be able to do it and get some money for it and get compensated for what you’re doing.
In years past like, girls were losing money playing professionally, like you weren’t able to make a living off of it at all. And I think that the game continues to move forward in a good direction. I think that it’s starting to become…I mean, people are making livable wages, as you know, and it’s just like going in the direction that I want to be a part of, and I think that I’m really happy to see the way it’s going. A lot of people are getting involved: sponsors and donors and stuff. The PHS just seemed like they kind of know what they want moving forward and have kind of sustained that league a little bit. And they have the teams and the locations and stuff for like what they want moving forward. So that really made me interested in playing with them, specifically for next year.
And then the Toronto Six, I mean, for me, it was kind of like a no-brainer to me. They’re the Ontario team and Toronto only being two hours from where I’m from back home. I’ve been away in the States; I’ve been six hours away from home for the past five years. So for me, having the opportunity to play professionally in my home province was just like a dream come true and kind of like a no-brainer decision for me. Obviously I’m really excited to have my family and friends there and in the stands supporting me.
Q: After everything that has happened in the past 10 months, what does it mean to you to see all your hard work payoff, not just with the national title but also with achieving your dream of playing professionally?
Templeman: It’s kind of…it’s just unbelievable. I can’t put into words how crazy it is. And I just I feel like I’m almost too young to be a professional athlete, as crazy as that sounds, but I’m just so honored for the opportunity and I’m really excited.
And obviously, there’s going to be roadblocks in everyone’s career. There’s not a single career, a single person, who’s gonna have a perfect career and have everything go the way they want it to go. And I think from the outside looking in sometimes, it seems that people don’t know everything that’s going on and it seems a lot easier than it’s actually been.
But coming full circle from my program being cut to then, you know, transferring and winning the national championship to now signing my first professional deal. I think that it just goes to show that hard work pays off and to never stop believing in your dreams. Last year when [our program] first got cut, I very easily could have just said I’m done, done with hockey. Like, I’ll just finish out my master’s degree [at Robert Morris]. It was just a really challenging time and to even think about transferring, like, that was a hard thought in itself.
I love Robert Morris and I love the people there and the thought of leaving it kind of it hurt. I could have easily just said I’m done, but I did all the work and got myself a new place and a new home and then put in all the work all summer training to be a Division-I athlete, and then all year from September to March to that final game and then I became a national champion. And now the work hasn’t stopped, I’ve continued to train since then. And I think that if you believe in yourself and chase your dreams and work hard, it’ll all pay off.
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