The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, December 13, 2019

99 Problems - Interview with Krissy Wendell-Pohl - Must-click WoHo links

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99 Problems

We’re not yet at double-digits in the U.S Hall of Fame, but we’re getting close! Yesterday, I witnessed Krissy Wendell become the 6th woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame!

We can offer many probable reasons why only six women have entered the U.S. Hockey Hall, including the sport has only been in the Olympics since 1998. However, as more women than before are coaching in hockey, like Robert Morris men’s hockey goalie coach and USA Hockey alumna Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, maybe more former players or current coaches/executives will enter the Hall. 

I do need to inquire if like active commissioners (Gary Bettman got into another HOF while at the helm at the National Hockey League), active coaches and other executives can be inducted? Hmm. 

Anyway, in a humorous, extremely real, and somewhat enraging joke in her speech, Krissy Wendell-Pohl reminded the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame another reason — perhaps — it is harder to get more women in the Hall.

After the 2007 Women’s World Championships, Krissy Wendell married NHL player John Pohl. The couple have three hockey-playing daughters, all who were born within a four year period. 

Now remember, until the #BeBoldForChange movement ahead of the 2017 World Championships — ten years after Wendell’s last Worlds — there were no maternity leave policies for the women’s national team. 

Wendell-Pohl, who made her senior national team debut at the age of 17 and attended her first Olympics at 20. She was the 28-year-old captain of the 2007 World Championship team, her last tournament with USA Hockey. 

Hours before Wendell-Pohl gave her speech, she mentioned her daughters several times (they weren’t in D.C. last night, but got to go to Disney the week before, so it’s basically the same thing). There is no part of me or anyone in the room, I’m sure, who thought Wendell-Pohl was complaining about being a mother. 

However, even through her fantastic joke, she revealed some societal truths and assumptions we make about motherhood versus fatherhood. Earlier in the night, the emcee and ESPN anchor Steve Levy joked NHL road trips are far from difficult or grinding. One reason being, there are no children on the road. There are (generally speaking) no children on the road for men.

As Olympians like Christie Pearce (Rampone), Candace Parker, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, and many more will tell you, their children were raised on the road and with the hands-on help of their teammates-turned-aunties. 

Since having their sons, Monique and Jocelyne have used their platform to ask the questions that lie in wait behind Wendell-Pohl’s joke:

“Do we have to choose between our careers and being a mother? Can we be great mothers and still pursue our careers at the highest level? Why can’t we do both,” the twin sisters and 2018 Olympic gold medalists asked in an NBCNews article.

The Lam Twins, as they are known, intend to have it all. Brava to the new(ish) mothers who no doubt have 99 problems when it comes to continuing their playing careers, but are determined to ensure a husband ain’t one. 

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Natalie Darwitz, Amanda Kessel, and Brad Frost celebrate Krissy Wendell.

Today the ECHL announced Gigi Marvin, Dani Cameranesi, Kelli Flanagan, and Annie Pankowski will participate in the Skills Competition and one of the four All-Star Classic teams at the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic in Wichita January 22. Word is there will be women’s hockey representation at the NHL All-Star Weekend as well.

Jenna Rheault settling in with NWHL’s Boston Pride.

Dr. Courtney Szto reviews Offside – A Women’s Hockey Memoir. If Courtney ever offers to take you to the original Hockey Hall of Fame, be sure to insist she takes you to Toast & Jam Cafe. They have great Mac & Cheese.

Black Girl Hockey Club has events in New Jersey and Pittsburgh coming up. Hope to see you there! Both Fansided and the Jamaican Ice Hockey recently showed BGHC some love.

PWHPA having a Closing the Gap event & fundraiser in Toronto next month.

ASU women’s hockey has some super fetch swag up for sale!

More expansion on the horizon as Stonehill adds Division II program. As a reminder, here is my take on WoHo expansion.

Nicole Schammel taking the NWHL by storm, writes Jared Clinton.

Sledge hockey Women’s national team taps first Saskatoon native.

Penalties aplenty! Casey Bryant breaks down the overactive NWHL sin bin.

Melissa Burgess with another Beauts Breakdown for WBFO radio.

SHOSHOLOZA! South African women’s ice hockey team wins the IIHF Division III World Championships!

Behind the Glass with Mike Murphy. Truly a must-read for women’s hockey fans!

Tweet of the Week

Congrats Krissy Wendell-Pohl!

Five at The IX: Krissy Wendell-Pohl

Yesterday, Krissy Wendell-Pohl became the 6th woman inducted into the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame. The following is an excerpt from the media scrum ahead of her induction ceremony.

Congrats on your induction. What are your overall thoughts about being here tonight?

It’s pretty cool. You know, for me it’s been really fun just because I’ve been done playing for awhile now. But to get my family back together and kind of reflect back on pretty much all the people that have gotten me here. It’s been pretty cool.

You come from a long line of Minnesota Gophers that have just a great history and the game overall, but certainly on the women’s side. Have you heard from any of your teammates leading up to tonight?

I have, yeah. Just a lot of text messages and most of those people that I went to college with are some of my best friends. So we were friends before we went to college, we played (at) college together, some of those teammates I got to play with beyond college. So, those are my life friends. We have kids that are now the same age, we see each other at the rink. So it’s a pretty special bond, even off the ice, with a lot of those teammates.

Someone you didn’t get to play with that wishes she would have played with you is Amanda Kessel. What do you make of that, when you hear Kessel say your one of her favorite players? Also, what do you make of Kessel’s game and what she’s been able to do at the U of M and with USA Hockey?

That’s pretty cool. I think anytime you have – I have young daughters now, so anytime they have mentioned women that they look up to I think it’s always kind of special. But Amanda is pretty special herself …. I don’t think we really got to cross paths and play on the ice together. But she’s impressive. I love the way she plays. she’s creative, She’s fast, she’s got all the tools … and I know my kids I enjoy watching her play as well.

You’re the sixth woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. You see, the National Women’s Hockey League is starting to gain traction. What do you think that your induction means for the growth of the women’s sport? And also, you know, where do you see the future going?

I think the future’s bright and I think we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and keep growing the sport. I think we’re all trying to do our best. Especially having young daughters, getting in at the grassroots and building it from the young up and just getting them excited about playing hockey, not necessarily for awards or any kind of teams they want to make, but just playing it’s it’s a great sport to play. And, for the few that get to keep playing long term, I think it’s awesome. But really, I think the sport gives you so much back and learning to be on a team that’s there’s a lot of special things that go along with it.

I think when one thinks of women’s hockey, it’s definitely top heavy in North America. But as you mentioned, there are so many women that are deserving of not only an honor from USA hockey, but also up in Toronto. Who are some of the players that you think are knocking on that door to get into the Hockey Hall?

Well, Sweden comes to mind just because they beat us in 2006 to get to that gold medal game. so that I could name seven players that were kind of a hurdle for us but just Kim Martin (Hasson), Maria Rooth, Erika Holst are three players from Sweden, I think they were really big and key in growing the sport in Europe. They played (on) the boys teams, now they’re key parts and still growing it and giving back. I think that’s the most important part, once you’re done, being able to give back and continue to help it grow.

Somebody asked you the question before about some of the European players that you think maybe we Good into the Hall of Fame. If you could get the ear of somebody within the USA hockey voting bloc for somebody that you played with us team?

Now you put me on the spot … there’s a lot! I think the one that really comes to mind that isn’t in it yet … I think Katie King (Crowley). She was a great friend to me when I was a young kid coming on the team and I think she’s done things the right way. She’s not a flashy person. And she’s gone back, she’s coaching, she’s done a great job at Boston College and I think she’s more than deserving. She’s just a tremendous athlete too. She was a multi-sport athlete, but she gave a lot to the game and she was good to those that came in on the team. Great person!

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Written by Erica L. Ayala