Five at the IX: Delaney O’Brien — NCAA news, international features and more!

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, March 29, 2024

Hey y’all! It’s Emma Sullivan from The Ice Garden back for another Hockey Friday! We’ve got some interesting content in the NCAA with round ups and breaking news, plus some PWHL by the numbers as well — there’s a little bit of everything to get you ready for the weekend. 

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Five at the IX with Delaney O’Brien

This week I had a chance to speak with Delaney O’Brien, an assistant director of athletic communications at Northeastern University in Boston. In her role, Delaney works closely with the women’s Division I hockey program, and so I asked her a couple questions about her job in the athletics communications world and some other hockey-centric things. In addition to her time at Northeastern, Delaney attended Penn State University and worked at Holy Cross in the athletics department as well.

What made you want to work in athletics communications? Specifically in hockey? 

DOB: I’ll be honest, I kind of got lucky in college. I was applying to a ton of different jobs just like on campus and in athletics at Penn State and interviewed in the ACom office there. To be quite honest, I had no idea what it was and ended up getting the job. Which, that’s an office of like 25 or 30 student interns probably, and I so was the women’s tennis contact there for two years. 

But my best friend growing up, her family is really into hockey, so that’s kind of how I got into it.

I started working hockey games in college just because Penn State was starting the women’s program at that point and was getting good at men’s hockey and Pegula [Ice Arena] was brand new. I worked most games my junior [year] and probably worked every single game my senior year for the men and then probably the same for the women. [There’s] not a better place to learn college hockey than Penn State — the atmosphere in the Peg is electric.

Do you have a favorite moment from your time in communications for Northeastern? At Holy Cross, or Penn State even?  

DOB: I think the women’s Beanpot this year, it’s gonna be pretty hard to top that. Just knowing how much effort went into it and how many years of effort went into it and then seeing the final product and then obviously getting to win — it’s pretty special. 

Getting to go back to Penn State for the Frozen Four with our women’s team here [at Northeastern] was also, personally, very special just to kind of return to where I started.

You talked about the Beanpot — can you go a little bit more in depth on what that was like for you to be a part of the winning team at the first ever final at TD Garden and what that meant for the athletes as well? 

DOB: Yeah, I mean, hearing them talk about it is so cool. Like, they all just were in awe of the crowd and I think when we did interviews afterwards just to recap it, [Lindsay Berman] said it best — all of those student athletes got to experience the Garden for the first time, but like, we get to look back and Northeastern was the first ever champion. So it’s fantastic that everybody has this really great memory of being at the Garden, but it’s just a little bit extra sweet to be able to say we were the first champions.

And again, just like knowing the background of how much time and effort so many people put into that was very, very special.

You mentioned the energy in the Pegula Ice Arena — Northeastern plays at Matthews Arena, the oldest arena in the United States. Do you have a favorite NCAA arena that you’ve been to?

DOB: Oh, easy, easy, Notre Dame.

Really?

DOB: Oh yeah. Obviously they don’t have a women’s team but I went there with Holy Cross men. I just think it’s the coolest rink I’ve ever been to. Like, it’s built for college hockey and it’s so unique — super, super nice and I loved, loved it.

Do you have a favorite one that the women’s team has played in? 

DOB: It’s a little bit tougher. I mean, I think the Gut [UVM’s Gutterson Field House] is pretty cool. It would probably be that… yeah I would say the Gut. 

Next season’s pretty far away — the NCAA championship just happened — but is there one thing you’re looking forward to in 2024-25? Any predictions? 

DOB: I mean, I think it’ll be exciting. I think it’s kind of like a true changing of the guard at Northeastern. So I think it’ll be exciting to see what that looks like.

Honestly, the thing I’m most excited to see is year two of the Beanpot. We hit 10,000 [fans]. I think that we can sell it out. 

Like the whole arena upper deck too?

DOB: Yeah. I think that the women’s Beanpot can look like the men’s Beanpot. I think that we can sell it out because I think people saw what it was this year, and so truly the thing I’m most excited to see is to see if we can sell that building out. And get the largest ever women’s hockey crowd, period — not like New England, but largest ever women’s hockey crowd and show people what hockey in New England is all about.


Stathead Stat of the Week

With the WNBA Draft in the books, here’s the list of the best rookie seasons by a No. 1 pick, by win shares:

1. Candace Parker, 2008 – 7.7
2. Aliyah Boston, 2023 – 6.0
3. Nneka Ogwumike, 2012 – 5.9

Stathead is your all-access pass to the Basketball and College Basketball Reference databases. Our discovery tools are built for women’s basketball fans like you. Answer your questions in a matter of seconds.


Team Trans Tournament hockey tickets are now available! 

The second ever All Trans Draft Tournament is set to run August 23 to 25 in St. Paul, Minnesota! Hosted by Team Trans Twin Cities Hockey, the tournament includes teams of only trans and non-binary players, and will be played at TRIA Rink. For more information on the tournament and ticket availability, be sure to check out Team Trans Hockey’s website, linked here.  

What’s new in women’s hockey: 

NCAA: Ohio State claims 2024 national title over Wisconsin in thriller — The Ice Garden 

The DI/II national title was handed out in Durham, New Hampshire this past weekend in a 1-0 victory for the Buckeyes of Ohio State. For more from the Frozen Four final, check out the recap above. 

Coomey named inaugural ice hockey head coach — Delaware Athletics 

The Delaware Blue Hens are coming to college hockey, as they’re set to play their first season in 2025-26. This week, they hired Penn State assistant Allison Coomey to be the first head coach in program history. For more from Coomey and the Delaware Athletics staff, the link above has you covered. 

P-Dub by the numbers: Game 27 through Game 55 The Victory Press

Looking for more numbers and stats? The Victory Press has all that and more as they go deep into the analytical side of things for the PWHL. From attendance records broken to some interesting fun facts, this piece has it all so be sure to give it a read. 

Chemistry forms an unbreakable bond between Fast and Larocque — The Hockey News

PWHL Toronto and Team Canada stars Jocelyne Larocque and Renata Fast have formed an incredible pairing on the blueline alongside each other, and sat down with The Hockey News to discuss their PWHL franchise’s success over the last few weeks because of it. 


Pre-order “Rare Gems” and save 30%

Howard Megdal, founder and editor of The Next and The IX, will release his next book on May 7, 2024. This deeply reported story follows four connected generations of women’s basketball pioneers, from Elvera “Peps” Neuman to Cheryl Reeve and from Lindsay Whalen to Sylvia Fowles and Paige Bueckers.

If you enjoy his coverage of women’s basketball every Wednesday, you will love “Rare Gems: How Four Generations of Women Paved the Way for the WNBA.” Click the link below and enter MEGDAL30 at checkout.


Multiple regents call for feasibility study on Michigan women’s hockey — Michigan Daily 

For years there have been calls for a varsity Division I women’s hockey program in the NCAA in the state of Michigan. Plans may be in motion to bring a team up from the club level, after regents at the University of Michigan urged the president to do more research into what a varsity program would look like. The Michigan Daily has more on what was said at the meeting.

Brittany Howard named head coach of 16U & 19U programs — Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 

PWHL Toronto forward Brittany Howard has announced she’ll be retiring from professional hockey at the end of the season — in order to take over as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U and 19U programs. Howard will also assist as a skills development professional for the program. 

Rose Misiewicz and Hannah DeLong carry childhood bond to the U.S. Women’s Development Sled Team — USA Hockey

Rose Misiewicz and Hannah DeLong became close friends at the Berkshire School over two decades ago, and now work side by side as head and assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s Development Sled Team. As part of their Women’s History month feature series, USA Hockey highlighted the pair and their incredible bond in the story above.

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, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by The Ice Garden