PWHL details emerge, first players signed

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, Sept. 8, 2023

Welcome back to another edition of Hockey Friday. The Ice Garden‘s Dan Rice will be your pilot today – navigating you through a week’s worth of news, notable events, signings, rumors, and more! As per usual in women’s hockey, there wasn’t much going on…sike!

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The PWHL Era Begins

Last week, the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) announced the six markets they are planting their flags in – Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, and Minnesota, and the six general managers for the new franchises: Natalie Darwitz (Minnesota), Danielle Marmer (Boston), Pascal Daoust (New York), Danièle Sauvageau (Montreal), Gina Kingsbury (Toronto), and Michael Hirshfeld (Ottawa).

This week, the teams began announcing the first round of signings – each team will sign three players (to three-year deals) before participating in a draft to fill out their inaugural rosters. 

Ottawa made the first move and immediately scooped up three Canadian National Team members – Emily Clark, Emerance Maschmeyer, and Brianne Jenner on Tuesday. Officially, Clark was the first player to sign a contract in the PWHL.

Toronto made the next round of announcements on Wednesday, revealing the signings of Sarah Nurse, Blayre Turnbull, and Renata Fast – all Canadian National Team members. Hours later, Minnesota revealed their initial trio and announced the signings of US Olympians – Lee Stecklein, Kelly Pannek, and Kendall Coyne Schofield.

On Thursday, Montreal announced their starting three of  Marie-Philip Poulin, Anne-Renee Desbiens, and Laura Stacey, and Boston revealed they had signed Hilary Knight, Megan Keller, and Aerin Frankel.

Once the team in New York announces their signings, likely Friday, the next big date for PWHL teams is September 18, when they conduct the first PWHL Draft.

The order of the (snake) draft was determined by the PWHL and will go as follows to start: 1) Minnesota, 2) Toronto, 3) Boston, 4) New York, 5) Ottawa, 6) Montreal. The teams will go in reverse order in round 2 and each of the subsequent rounds (up to 15).

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Linky Dinks

(a guide to some of the best links in women’s hockey from the past seven days)

* Canadian National Team Head Coach Troy Ryan will likely be the first coach for Toronto’s PWHL team according to Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek.

* With Michael Hirshfeld taking over the Ottawa GM role, The Ice Garden’s Simon Hopkins recaps his first press conference in the role.

* You can watch the full introductory press conference for the Minnesota PWHL team thanks to Ian Kennedy who posted it on The Hockey News.

* Keep track of all the signings thanks to Hailey Salvian’s Free Agency Tracker over at The Athletic.

* Former NWHL player Jordan Ott was named an Assistant Coach at Chatham University for the women’s hockey team.

* Former PHF Commissioner Reagan Carey will hold the title of Special Advisor to the Board of Directors in the PWHL according to Melissa Burgess from The Victory Press.

* Shameless self-promotion time! Last week Allie Thunstrom joined the Around the Rink podcast (via The Ice Garden) with Dan Rice and Allie Morse. She talked with us about nearly qualifying for the Olympics as a speed skater, what it was like to play for Boston last season in the PHF against all of her friends on Minnesota, hw many socks is too many socks, and she told some amazing stories about the NWHL’s failed Lake Placid season.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
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By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
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Written by The Ice Garden