The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, September 18, 2020
Blake Bolden Player Exclusive — Interview with Jenny Potter — Must-click links
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Blake Bolden Player Exclusive (PE)
The term PE is very prominent in basketball. This WNBA season, I researched the difference between player exclusives and a signature shoe for a story on the Air Swoopes, the first signature women’s basketball shoe.
You see, a signature shoe is named after a player: Air Swoopes, Kahwi’s, Kobe’s, etc. A Player Exclusive is an already existing shoe that is designed specifically for a player. Since Sheryl Swoopes, there have only been a handful of women’s basketball signature shoes, but I’ll move on to hockey now. If you want to know more about this history, check out my Sports Illustrated Daily Cover.
In hockey, I know Adidas recently released a line of women’s gear. I’m not aware of any signature sticks – a brand new design specifically created and named after a specific player – in women’s hockey. As I understand, hockey players of all ages can mimic the flex or blade of pro players. However, I’ve never heard of a PE.
Enter Blake M***** F****** Bolden!
According to the press release, the Verbero partnership is “the first female-named stick in Bolden’s honor”. I would classify the Merc v350 as a player exclusive as opposed to a signature stick.
Naturally, I want it all! I want to be decked out in a bunch of Blake Bolden signature gear, despite the fact I’ve never played ice hockey and have no intention to ever do so (maybe. probably)! (Editor’s note: we’re here for it when Erica gives hockey the George Plimpton treatment.)
But I suppose that is my point. For too long, a society run by men has perpetuated the myth that women are difficult to market. However, the overt and covert sexism that runs rampant in society has created a super PAC of sorts.
To be clear, women supporting women has its limits — I want to offer that disclaimer. However, most women identify intimately with being overlooked and underserved. It an interview on one of my favorite non-sports podcasts, the founders of DRK Beauty Wilma Mae Basta said:
“Black women are the most brand-loyal women in America.”
I think women also fall into this category, not to mention it is often reported that women are the managers of household budgets. According to a 2018 YouGov study:
Fifty-two percent of women in a relationship and supplying half or more of the household income say they’re responsible for managing the money
38% of that group is responsible for the long-term financial planning
32% of women living with their partners and providing the majority of the income said they were in charge of major purchases
We live in a capitalist society, one where anything and everything can be sold. Well, except for ads spots for women’s sports, apparently. So, until product and apparel get with the program, let’s support sisters doing it for themselves!
Here are some amazing women in hockey and/or sports with apparel (Note: I added league stores as well, but I have a bone to pick here. I’ll save that rant for another day):
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This 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.
Read Jenny Potter’s bio and listen to her interview on Sirius XM NHL Network.
“Black women have historically led the way toward social change. I believe we can lead the way in hockey, too.” Renee Hess (Black Girl Hockey Club) quoted in The New York Times article.
Where are they now? Gophers in the pros all across the world!
When you’re a “girl” with two grown sons in the NHL…
Phoebe Stänz heads back to Switzerland.
Mid-September wraparound via The Ice Garden.
Last week I wrote about WoHo’s return to the ice amid a worldwide pandemic. Here is the latest on that front:
Northeastern’s Alina Mueller is ready to get back on the ice.
Stonehill College will make its debut in 2022-23
PWHPA New Hampshire hub set to play games this weekend. The schedule and rosters were tweeted, but I haven’t seen any information regarding COVID protocols.
The IIHF has canceled the 2021 Women’s U18 World Championship, Men’s U18 World Championship remains on schedule.
Tweet of the Week
Three Hefty Ones at The IX: Jenny Potter
The following quotes are from a USA Hockey zoom conference introducing the US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Photo from USA Hockey press release.
Jenny on where she was when she got the call to the US Hall of Fame
It was actually very fitting. I was just leaving the ice rink from a training session and I got a call from Pat Keller (USA Hockey ). He called me previously when I was on the ice and I return the phone calls.
Very speechless, and very humbled to get that phone call. There were a lot of motions … it’s just a huge honor to just be in the presence and to be in the same class or a lot of great people first, and hockey minds second. So I was really excited and as Tony mentioned, you know, you reflect back to all the people that have helped you to get to this point and be part of such a special group of individuals in our history.
And you know what, all these people continue to do is put their heart and passion of sport that we love into the next generation of great players and coaches, and that’s what I will continue to do and I think Dean and Jerry and Tony will continue to do and produce the next Hall of Famers, so I’m really excited for this honor and look forward to next year of reduction.
Jenny reflecting on being part of so many firsts in women’s hockey
Yeah, I mean, I think it really starts back to the 1998 Gold Medal game. I think that really springboarded the sport of women’s ice hockey. You know, being part of USA hockey board of directors and being part of that process – there’s one side of being an athlete … after being done playing in hockey and seeing the other side of things and the passion and the work that the coaches and all these volunteers that put into hockey and really excelled the development of USA-born hockey players and their opportunities.
Back when I started playing hockey, you know, it was just beginning to really take off women’s ice hockey … there are not as many opportunities for kids to get to college on a college scholarship. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money so my passion was hockey. I was fortunate to get a lot of opportunities to be around a lot of great people like Bob O’Connor and Ben Smith and a lot of great people, but, you know, really gave me those opportunities to play on a high-level stage and a lot of great people.
I went to the University of Minnesota my freshman year and finished University Minnesota Duluth where essentially winning three national championships there really springboarded in the sport of hockey across the state of Minnesota, and it’s continuing to grow Katie King one of my teammates Jerry mentioned, and Courtney Kennedy I was fortunate to play with them on a few Olympic teams and train with them and great people and great coaches and they continue to sell involvement on women’s ice hockey on the east coast.
Jenny on playing at UMD
My experience at Duluth was unbelievable. I had a lot of great teammates and the most interesting part of my college career was I was able to play with players from multiple countries. I had players from Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Russia, all over. So I got to experience not only having them be my teammates but play against them on the International stage.
One of my most memorable experiences was when the Minnesota Duluth hosted the national championships in 2003 and won it. And it was a double-overtime against Harvard, which was against Angela Ruggiero and Julie Chu and some of my teammates on USA Hockey. So it was a hard (game) but it was one of the best games, I think, in women’s hockey and that to this day.
I know there’s a lot of great teams there continues to be a lot of great players so I’m not diminishing that. I think, we were at the forefront and put women’s hockey on the map at Duluth as well as across the country.