The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, February 7, 2020

Say it Loud! Interview with Jayna Hefford- must-click WoHo links

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Say it Loud! Happy Black History Month!

I began the month in Pittsburgh with the Black Girl Hockey Club. The Penguins held their first-ever Black Hockey History Weekend.

Not ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ Weekend

Not ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ Weekend


Somewhere along the line, we as a society have gotten uncomfortable saying words like, “Black” or “Racism”. Without question, Blackness is more than its indisputable connection to an embarrassing history of racism that rewrites itself daily.

However, you cannot accept Black people or Black culture without admitting racism affects all systems. I recently heard racism likened to a psychosis.

Amanda Seales goes on to say she is uninterested in education anyone wrapped up in the psychosis of racism and the onus should not be on Black people to educate or reform those suffering from this cognitive disorder.

While I agree, I also believe there is a difference between racism, bigotry, and ignorance. There is room to have conversations with people who are perpetuate systemic racism. However, no conversation is a one-way street.

If you are not Black and are not acknowledging Black History Month, you are taking an easy out. You are absolving yourself from learning because you don’t identify as Black. That is unacceptable.

At minimum, tweet Happy #BlackHistoryMonth. If you don’t know anything about Black history, here are a few things you can do:

  • Google it

  • Visit a museum

  • Watch a documentary

  • Read a book or an article

  • Ask a friend if they have a favorite Black historical figure

Then of course there is the great work Bill Douglas (Color of Hockey), Kwame Mason (Soul on Ice), and the amazing Renee Hess (Black Girl Hockey Club) are doing. I was with that trio in Pittsburgh to discuss making the phrase ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ ring true.

Bill has moved his Color of Hockey blog to (Mondays). Kwame is working with the NHL on several project, including a Soul on Ice documentary focused on black women hockey players. And Renee continues to invite Black & Brown women to watch NHL games together.

Don’t worry, I keep pushing them and all women’s hockey teams/leagues/conferences/federations to do more for women’s hockey!

So, I’ll leave you with this question:

It is the seventh day of February! Has your favorite WoHo sports team/player/league/conference/federation acknowledged #BlackHistoryMonth2020?

This Week in Women’s Hockey

On Wednesday, Hilary Knight hushed the Victoria crowd, and perhaps some 2010 demons. Carol Schram with the story for Forbes.

Boston Pride captain Jillian Dempsey hits milestone.

Brooke Stacey will miss remainder of the NWHL season, and still get paid!

The women seeking to make ice hockey ageless.

Abby Roque was missed at the Rivalry Series. She remains with a Wisconsin team looking to change things up after a surprising loss to Bemidji State.

Tatiana Shatalova emerging as a star for the Riveters.

Boston University headed to the Beanpot Final against Northeastern.

Blake Bolden is BLOWING UP and this #TeamMoreMelanin member could not be more proud!

The Boston Globe on why women’s hockey can’t get it together.

LISTEN: WBFO with another Beauts Breakdown: Misinformation hurting overall discussion on women’s hockey

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Jayna Hefford

Enjoy a few snippets from a recent interview with Jayna on discussion race & racism in women’s hockey. Hefford is one of a number of people I’ll be interviewing on this topic for a larger story. Stay tuned!

Whether the most recent comments of Don Cherry or Akim Aliu recounting his experiences, the NHL has had to deal with conversations around race, racism, and bigotry. What have been your reactions to those reports?

Obviously, it’s really awful to hear those sort of experiences and in many ways, I feel, I can only speak for myself, I’ve always seen women’s women’s hockey as being fairly inclusive. In the grand scheme of things, we’ve always been a growing sport. So it’s sort of like, you know, the more the better, and we try to have great, I think, diversity and inclusion within what we do. But certainly, it’s hard to hear a lot of that stuff, you know, especially in in 2020 … it’s been hard to see and not to say that women’s hockey doesn’t have its issues. But, I think our inclusion and diversity pieces, I feel, you know, a little bit further ahead this day and age.

Why you think that might be the case?

Well, you know, I think women have fought a lot of different things. You know, in women’s hockey over the years, there’s, there’s obviously the gender piece, where we’ve maybe faced a lot more discrimination in terms of that. Again, I think being a sport that’s continually trying to grow and trying to attract more people, and we have that openness about us. There’s obviously a strong sexual (orientation) diversity piece to what we do. So there’s a great amount of inclusion in that. And so yeah, I don’t I don’t know. I think it’s always been a lot more inclusive simply because of we faced a lot of it as a gender bias in the beginning. And you know, of course, we still faced that now but that have made us you know, want to welcome people in in massive to, you know, fight our battle in terms of just the sport battle. And we’re like anyone that’s on board with us. It’s hard, regardless of the race piece.

As someone who’s in the hockey community, what would you like to see at any level of hockey, so that any athlete — regardless of how they identify — doesn’t feel that any grievances that they have are left unattended?

I think it always comes back to education as being the foundation so, you know, allowing people to have the resources they need … maybe the training that’s required to understand some of the challenges in these areas, I think that would be key. I think providing the resources that are needed to the athletes should they need to speak to someone or bring those those things forward. Having a process in place, I think is important.

I don’t know if the (NHL) hotline is the right the right answer or not, but giving players an outlet where they can make their feelings be known, I think is important. I think on the other side of things, ensuring that the education pieces there —I think probably it should be for everyone — for players, coaches, administrators, anyone that’s that’s involved. I think, is incredibly important.

This time of year always shines a big light on mental health in our country with Bell Let’s Talk Day. Making it okay to speak, that it’s okay to ask for help. I think that’s certainly a message that is out there. But I know it’s challenging when you’re in a situation. So I think just having those safe environments where people have a process in place that they can bring those things forward is key.

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 High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala