The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, July 19,2019

What’s next for the PWHPA — Jillian Dempsey interview — Must-click women's hockey links

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What’s next for the PWHPA?

Hello from Las Vegas! I’m taking a few days to hang with friends before things pick up for the 2019 WNBA All-Star Weekend.

Anyway, let’s chat hockey. As you may recall, I spoke with Bryan Hicks from the PWHPA last week for the Five at The IX. This week I wanted to break down some things I took away from our conversation.

  1. Things are still in the works: From our conversation last week, Bryan was hopeful a schedule of events would be out as soon as this week. While the PWHPA has not released that information yet, they are keeping up with the different clinics and camps their members are holding.

  2. No new league, nothing to sell (or is there?): When asked if and how the PA would be something a new league ownership group would cooperate with, Hicks noted the PWHPA is not selling anything. He also noted there is not a new league the PA is forming. He and others are holding meetings with potential sponsors and are in communication with other women’s hockey stakeholders, including the NWHL. While there are no plans to partner with the NWHL, Hicks did make sure to introduce himself to the NWHL to keep the lines of communication open. It’s unclear to me what the two parties could possibly have to discuss, considering the players (especially on the players board) have noted they do not believe in the NWHL model. Katie McGovern has reportedly (link below) communicated what many long-suspected, that the PWHPA is trying to make the NWHL fold to create space for the NHL to create a league. In a recent article (link below) Noora Raty also commented she is eager to be part of the creation of a new league. So, the PWHPA might not be selling anything, but the players do seem confident they will be part of the conversations surrounding a new league, most often referred to as the WNHL.

  3. Cost-benefit to the PWHPA members unclear: As we discussed last week, PWHPA members pay dues. What is unclear and may not be reported is the amount of the dues. So, as of now, the PWHPA members are paying for the right to access trainings, showcases, exhibitions, and other appearances. I asked Hicks if players will be compensated for these activities, he stated, “We’re currently working on a (compensation) structure, but it will not be released publicly.”

  4. Patience required: At the end of the day, the landscape of women’s hockey is altogether unclear. All parties involved are moving forward with conviction, but short of a crystal ball, there is no telling what next year or the next several years will look like for women’s hockey. I go back and forth as to whether I believe the NHL is in communication with certain players/stakeholders outside of any comments that have been made public. It is hardly suspicious to keep some details close to the chest. I just continue to wish that the true intentions of the PWHPA in respect to the NWHL and the NHL would be made explicitly clear. My take: Yes, we all know the new PA wants to end the NWHL and have the NHL help the player pool rise from the ashes of two defunct leagues. I just don’t get why that has to be a secret. I think there is more power in the truth. However, doesn’t seem like we’re there yet. So, I suppose I’ll (im)patiently wait to see what the fall will bring.

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

AZ Central spoke to Katie McGovern for their piece on why the folding of the National Women’s Hockey League could be best thing for the sport.

Molly Engstrom joins women’s hockey coaching staff at St. Cloud State University.

Part I of a conversation with new WCHA commissioner Jennifer Flowers over at the Duluth Tribune News.

Kelli Stack tapped for 2019 Boston College Varsity Hall of Fame.

Did women’s hockey forget the Declaration of Principles? It’s an interesting analysis that I’m still contemplating. Don’t remember the principles, no fear! Nate break them down.

Former Five at The IX guest Katie Burt featured by The Boston Globe.

Another former guest Fredrik Glader retained by Danish women’s hockey team.

Noora Raty on why she never came to the NWHL, if she’ll go to Russia, and what she thinks the WNHL should look like.

Mike Murphy on the NWHL preseason schedule.

This story by The Hockey Writers supports rumblings I heard that Taylor Accursi is work at the NWHL camp because of ties to the Lightning and not because she is signed with an NWHL team. It is unknown if Accursi is included in the 173 dues-paying members of the PWHPA.

Courtney Kessel joins Princeton Women’s Hockey coaching staff.

Tweet of the Week

Kelli Stack to be recognized by Boston College, this is her reaction!

Five at The IX: Throwback to Jillian Dempsey becoming the NWHL’s leading scorer

Hi team, here is a conversation I had with Boston Pride Jillian Dempsey after she broke the all-time scoring record in the NWHL. Note: The record was under debate at the time I spoke with Dempsey and later confirmed. I spoke to Jillian after a win over the Riveters.

Erica L. Ayala: Tonight we saw a pretty convincing win today by the Pride. What do you think were some of the highlights in respect to the type of game you want to play for the rest of the season?

Jillian Dempsey: I think for us coming out fast and getting on the board early is always something that gives us confidence and gets us going. And for us to come out and do that, we say early and often pretty much every game, for us to do it today felt really great. Our d(fense) stepped up big. We were a little low on (defensive players) today and they made some great plays starting back in our zone. Of course, (Katie) Burt played huge when we needed her to as always, so it was really exciting to see those pucks go in for us.

ELA: A lot of Boston players talk about the defenders stepping up into the offense, is that something that you think could really give other teams problems down the stretch?

JD: I think it creates a lot of confusion for opponents in the D zone when they’re stepping down. And then wings aren’t sure who to cover and it’s a lot of head on a swivel. So I think when they’re making offensive plays like that, the defenders against us have to be a lot more in tune and aware, we’re making a lot of plays with them back door. So we’re whenever they can jump into the play and be offensive, it’s really effective for us. And we value our D zone as well though, so we like to make sure that if they’re jumping, we’re ready to be able to play defense and not give up odd man rushes.

ELA: You’ve either equaled or surpassed Decker, former teammate of yours, as the NWHL all-time leading scorer. What are your thoughts on being in the company with a another number 14 for the Boston Pride?

JD: I’ve been joking with the team a little bit, being like, ‘It only took Decker two years (laughs). But of course, she’s an incredible player and she’s so fun to watch, and she’s just such an offensive force out there. I watched a little bit of the rivalry series and I have so much respect for Decker and miss her terribly being a teammate here in Boston. To be even close to her, that is something special. I’m just out there trying to do what I can for my team. And you know, today the pass from McKenna (Brand) was a beauty and it’s just fun to be out there and you know, to have things (go) our way. So I’m just going to keep trying to dig in and hope good things happen for us down the stretch.

ELA: Speaking of good things, have you seen you made the graphic novel Kicking Ice?

JD: (Laughs) Yes, I did see that!

ELA: Is it going to be part of the Boston curriculum (Jillian Dempsey is a school teacher)?

JD: I did show it to the kids and they read through it and like a day, but they were cracking up. My family was cracking up. It’s something special, it was really awesome of Stephanie (Phillips) to include me in that.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala