The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, May 21, 2021

NWHL Gearing Up for Free Agency — Interview with Nicole Hensley - Must-click women's hockey Links

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NWHL Gearing Up for Free Agency

The sports world is beginning to open up and return to “normal” — though this writer thinks the days of old are gone. One need only look at the impact a worldwide pandemic has and will have on college sports and by extension professional drafts.

The NCAA did its best to be fair when deciding eligibility rules, because how dare an athlete graduate with a degree but not get the chance to compete for an NCAA title? #Priorities

I will save my rant on the amateur scam for later.

Athletes now have the option to extend their eligibility for another year because of the opportunities lost to Covid-19. This will have a huge impact on women’s sports leagues and the athletes that compete in them. Why?

Well, to be blunt, U.S-born women have the longest waiting time of anyone before they can make money as a professional. From the NWSL to the NWHL to the WNBA, these league are doing the virtuous thing by requiring domestic players to complete a certain amount of time in the NCAA and/or be of a certain age before they can turn pro.

Every woman should have a college degree, right?

Despite the fact that demographics show more women attend and complete college year-after-year, these leagues are essentially making decisions for these athletes as to what is in their bets interest while also ignoring it takes almost a full year for a Latina, for example, to reach her equal pay day.

You’d think allowing women to enter the pros would do exactly what all these leagues profess to stand for. Equal pay, hire women, equity! Funny thing is, if you are born outside of the United States, you already have access to U.S-based professional women’s leagues. How ass-backwards is that?

We believe all women need degrees, but if you come from elsewhere we don’t care. Bring us your talents whenever!

If you haven’t read Annie’s May 10 take on Olivia Moultrie, I highly recommend it! You can also read her story about the 15-year-old suing the NWSL here.

Sure, women’s hockey is a far way from paying a livable wage. However, most athletes make their money from sponsorship dollars and Gen Z is running the marketing game. Women’s hockey needs to get with the program and place their athletes (or better yet have the athletes place themselves) in front of major brands.

How does this relate to the NCAA?

Well, if one cannot make a living playing hockey in North America but one can continue to play hockey in the NCAA with all the bells and whistles, why not stay another year? (Caveat — not at the same level, perk-wise, as men, in case you thought Title IX solved everything.)

This combined with the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing means the NWHL and PWHPA recruitment via the NCAA system will be even more unpredictable than ever before. Check out the first link below, where Marisa Ingemi breaks down what the NWHL might do to fill rosters ahead of Season 7.

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Week in Women’s Hockey

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Must-Click Links

Why the NWHL will focus more on Free Agency than the Draft.

Kacey Bellamy retires.

NWHL promotes player benefits, prepares for Free Agency.

Kelsey Koelzer is the first Black NCAA head coach. She’s been in the position for over a year, so not sure why many recent articles imply she was just hired.

The PWHPA is open to forging ahead without the MNHL.

The Toronto Six re-sign captain Shiann Darkangelo.

Kendall Coyne Schofield makes history as a bench boss.

New Jersey Devils hire Meghan Duggan.

PWHPA names broadcast team for Calgary Tour.

Another article about if the NWHL and PWHPA will merge. Ty Tumminia and Jayna Hefford are quoted.

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I forgot to add this to last week’s newsletter. I am OBSESSED with this Elle Cover!

Five at The IX: Nicole Hensley Media Availability

Team Minnesota goalie Nicole Hensley discusses the growing women’s hockey community in St. Louis, going 3-0 throughout the Dream Gap Tour to-date, and more!

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,
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08, NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Erica L. Ayala