Let’s Talk Racism Part II — Interview with Joel Johnson — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, July 30, 2021

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Let’s Talk Racism Part II: Black Women Don’t Owe You Shit

Back in January I told y’all how tired I was. I typed the following reflection:

Once again the world around me has drained me and made it harder (but not impossible) to tap into the joy covering women’s hockey brings me. In at moments like this, I wish I could share encouraging words and discuss what is happening in the world.

Unfortunately, the hockey community hasn’t found its voice. Some have and they are included as we go. But overall, we still have work to do.

I am not surprised, I am not mad, but I am disappointed. I find myself wanting to have a space in this community to discuss what I am really feeling. Yet, I am not sure exactly where to go.

So, I’m going to put it all out there. Maybe it’s time for hockey to take a Let’s Talk approach to racism in addition to mental health. Because I’ll tell you, my mental health is not in a good way these days. So yeah, let’s talk. Let’s talk about racism. Please.

I was reminded of this because of two former members of the women’s national team, one who was on the roster that won gold in 2018, decided to minimize Simone Biles. There are so many points of ridiculousness here that my head hasn’t stopped spinning for days.


In light of these tweets and this one found by friends of the newsletter Gal Pal Sports, my January post still remains relevant.

So, too, does the fact that players signing and re-signing with the NWHL lack, at minimum, the decency to not publicly align with a company like Barstool after their attack on Saroya Tinker. Players like Madison Packer have attempted to make amends on behalf on her team the Riveters. However, Packer and all her good intentions don’t erase the actions and the silence of her teammates and others in the league.

Tink is now with the Toronto Six, a team that has yet to take actions steps with regard to how they made trans hockey player Jessica Platt feel. As I wrote before in The IX Newsletter, I am not of the opinion that Platt was guaranteed to make The Six (Platt also said as much).

However, knowing that a league that rode the coattails of Harrison Browne continues to ignore the harm done by Toronto President Digit Murphy supporting (at one point) an organization with harmful notions of trans inclusion in sports is unacceptable.

Let’s talk about racism, let’s talk about transphobia and the wear on mental health they create. If women’s hockey and the NWHL (in the examples given) will not, then respectfully, tap out of the #BellLetsTalk movement.

We don’t need hollow acts. We already have men’s hockey for that.

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Week in Women’s Hockey

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORE COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS? Good, click these links and show decision-makers that if you post it, we will read it! If you have any hot tips for great stories or voices you’d like to see in The IX, email me: erica@ericaLayala.com.

Must-Click Links

NWHL drops the puck on Season 7 November 6th.

Knutson returns to the Rivs.

Former Boston Pride GM Karilyn Piltch is taking her talents to Chicago.

I can’t say that I’m all-in on an International Draft, but here’s how the first NWHL one went.

Get to know Minnesota’s Hockey Niñas!

Joel Johnson tapped as USA women’s hockey head coach.

Eight Minnesota Gophers are headed to USA Hockey residency.

UNINTERRUPTED Canada to underwrite “Black Ice”, but will Black women be featured?

The Next, a 24/7/365 women’s basketball newsroom

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Five at The IX: Joel Johnson

Here are a few timestamps from Johnson’s media availability. The full session including sled hockey and men’s head coaches can be found on YouTube.


On balancing his head coaching position at St. Thomas and the national team

On whether USAH will use next month’s Worlds as an evaluation

  • “Our goal is to win a World Championship”

Me asking about the challenges/what will change regarding Olympic preparations given COVID

  • “With the World Championships being so late, we’re going to try to make sure our players have the chance to rest and recover.”

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 Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Erica L. Ayala