China earns World Championships promotion — Alina Müller returns to Switzerland — The week’s top hockey news
The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, Aug. 25, 2023
Another week has come and gone and the weekend is upon us. My name is Alyssa Turner from The Ice Garden and I will be bringing you this week’s Hockey Friday.
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Team China earns promotion at World Championships
Just a year after they were promoted from the Division 1B World Championships, Team China has earned another promotion to compete amongst the best of the best in Utica in 2024. In their first four games at the 2023 Division 1A World Championships, China won each game as they continued to put the hockey world on notice.
Following an Isobel Cup Championship season with the Toronto Six, Leah Lum had China’s game winning goal in their 2-0 victory over Austria. Goaltender Tia Chan saved all 30 shots she faced in China’s historic victory. Yuting Wang would go on to score China’s second of the game on an empty netter. Team China booked one of the two promotion spots from Division 1A to the top division where they will go on to face teams like USA and Canada.
Throughout the course of the 2023 Division 1A World Championships in Shenzhen, China, attendance has been at an all-time high. During the tournament’s first 12 games, there was an average attendance of 4,192 people at each game.
3 Nations Tournament underway in Finland
The international play continues in Finland as the 3 Nations Tournament between Czechia, Finland and Sweden has begun. In the tournament’s opening game, Finland beat Czechia by a score of 5-4 in an intense back-and-forth matchup that had the host crowd on their feet all 60 minutes.
Czechia defender Denisa Krizova, who spent time in Montreal of the PHF last season, was outstanding all game long — scoring a hat-trick and dominating on both ends of the ice. Sadly her performance wasn’t enough for Czechia to defeat the host nation. Finland’s Viivi Vainikka and Petra Nieminen both had a goal and an assist while Nelli Laitinen, Julia Liikala and Kiira Yrjänen all added goals in the 5-4 win.
In their second game of the tournament, Finland put on a show for the home crowd once again with a 2-0 win over Sweden. Petra Nieminen buried her second of the tournament to give the Fins the 1-0 lead in the second period. Goaltender Tiia Pajarinen would stand tall for Finland between the pipes. Late in the third Viivi Vainikka would score an empty netter, securing the victory.
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Alina Müller returns To Switzerland until new league begins
The youngest ice hockey player to win an Olympic medal (at age 15) is heading back home to Switzerland as she awaits hearing her name called to join the new North American professional league. Alina Müller had previously signed this offseason with the PHF’s Boston Pride before the PHF was inevitably bought out. With the new league set to take the ice in January of 2024, the Swiss superstar will head back home to play for the ZSC Lions in the SWHL.
In her final season in the NCAA at Northeastern Alina Müller recorded 60 points in just 38 games played. She is well known as one of the greatest forwards on the planet and will make an impact on whichever team she ends up with in North America come 2024. In the meantime, she will spend her time in the Swiss league until things are more settled in North America.
Angela Ruggiero joins New York Rangers in hockey operations role
As reported by Mollie Walker at the New York Post, the most decorated women’s hockey player the sport has ever seen has received the nod in the NHL.
During her time with the American senior national team, Angela Ruggiero skated in 14 seasons and 71 games. She competed in 10 World Championships and four Olympic Games for Team USA.
The work didn’t stop when Ruggiero retired from hockey. She worked on the IOC executive board advocating to bring the 2028 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles, and also spent time on the boards of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the Harvard Varsity Club, the International Ice Hockey Federation, Titletown Tech, the NFL Players’ Association One Team Collective and World Rugby. As if that’s not impressive enough, she’s also the current CEO of Sports Innovation Lab.
The move to hire Angela Ruggiero was not only a smart move by the New York Rangers, but an incredibly tactical one as well. She brings decades of success and experience in the sport of hockey and continues her journey towards one day becoming an NHL general manager.
Team Balance Board Montreal wins LSHL Championship
The women’s three-on-three summer league in Montreal saw yet another successful season as the championship was awarded to Team Balance Board.
Team Canada forward Laura Stacey recorded four goals in the Living Sisu Hockey League championship game as Team Balance Board defeated Team Crystallin 15-5. Clarkson University star Gabrielle David led the league in scoring with 15 goals in seven games played.
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