The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, June 26, 2020

EIght Women — Interview with Chanel Keenan — must-click WoHo links

(Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. In this moment, freelance budgets have been cut, reporters are losing their jobs. Women’s sports always bears the brunt of that first.

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Eight Women in the Hockey Hall of Fame. We want more!

Congratulations to Kim St. Pierre, the first woman goalie named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In over 20 years of women’s hockey in the Winter Olympics and 60 years at the collegiate level, she is eighth woman inducted.

Angela James and Cammi Granato were inducted in 2010, marking the first year women were inducted and the last time the Hockey Hall reached its cap of two women per class.

This is a huge source of frustration for those who cover women’s hockey. Naturally, we get highly intelligent (editor’s note: please hear Erica’s sarcasm in this line, it makes it 1000 times more pleasurable) boys hockey fans that mansplain the lack of women in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

There is no women’s NHL, but there is post-graduate women’s hockey, college hockey, and International hockey. Tweets like this are a huge tell. If indeed there is a NHL bias to the Hockey Hall, that needs to be corrected. The numbers of inductees born outside of North America is low across the board.

This is a terrible disservice to the game. As for the women’s game, I wrote about the importance of stats in women’s hockey, particularly for reasons like acknowledgment in Halls of Fame.

“It is widely believed and overwhelmingly true that the best talent in the world plays for their national team. However, there are also reasons, everything from pregnancy to politics, that can influence whether a player is able to crack a senior national team roster and/or remain in the player pool. Luckily, the Hockey Hall of Fame seems to know this, at least in the case of Angela James. But, there are blind spots, including that the HHOF has never inducted a woman outside of North America. 

For women not wearing red, white, and maybe some blue on the International stage, the most outstanding stats (apparently) aren’t good enough. But, you know what might be the great equalizer? How these women compete when they play against and alongside women from other countries in a professional league”

“For the sake of the game, let’s all be better at honoring what was, pushing forward what will be, and writing it all down. Because the women recently or soon-to-be retired should flood HHOF nomination ballots. But they won’t if we don’t hear the lion’s story. 

So, if only to silence hockey “fans” like Toronto Todd and Darren, let’s get behind the important work of stats people like Meghan Chayka, Mike Murphy, Alyssa Longmuir, and many more.

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This Week in Women’s Hockey

Love women’s sports?! Want more coverage? CLICK THESE LINKS! Help us show editors and outlets that we’re reading and we’re ready for more!

Harrison Browne joined me on the Social Justice in Women’s Hockey series. We discuss intersectional allyship on the LGBTQ+ space, J.K Rowling’s transphobic tweets, and his favorite NWHL Isobel Cup moment.

Marisa Ingemi wrote about the Social Justice in Women’s Hockey series for The Ice Garden.

Dr. Courtney Szto, the woman fighting racism in hockey, love to see it! Sign up for the Policy Paper on Anti-Racism in Hockey Q&A happening June 29.

Can Hockey be for Everyone? Panel featuring Kim Davis, Blake Bolden, and Kelsey Koelzer happening June 30. Details to come!

Austrian Ice Hockey Association announces plan to build women’s performance centre. “The most talented female players in the country would be brought to the venue at the age of 14 and go through a hockey academy, including schooling … it will also plan to use the venue for camps and games for women’s national teams.”

I love this article by Hailey Salvian and continue to hate the widely accepted assumption that the NHL is the only answer to a successful women’s professional league.

NWHL is finally getting home and away jerseys, Toronto unveils their first jerseys in franchise history.

NWHL Roster updates by Dan Rice.

It’s official, IIHF has awarded Canada the 2021 Women’s World Championships. Halifax was set to host the 2020 tournament until the IIHF cancelled the tournament due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more about the cancellation in our March 13th edition of The IX.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Chanel Keenan

Chanel is a huge hockey fan and contributor to PUCKERup Sports. She recently penned a personal entry inspired by the Hockey Diversity Alliance. Chanel and I had a lovely chat this week and she answered the following questions via email.

When did you first fall in love with hockey?

I have been a Boston Bruins fan my whole life by default. I grew up a “rink rat” while my brothers played when we were kids, I usually ended up playing with the younger siblings, most of whom were girls. However, the season that really tipped the scales for me was the 2012-13 playoffs. My family was going through some health complications and I found myself needing an escape. One of my favorite and strangest memories of that season was listening to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins on my phone, with the NHL Apps radio feature. I was in a hotel on my 8th Grade field trip to Washington DC and wasn’t allowed to use the TV.  Desperate times. I know that for good or bad, hockey culture runs deep. I really enjoyed how important teamwork was, and seeing that everyone had a place in the game. I felt that too as a spectator. 

Tell me about PuckerUp Sports.

PUCKerUp Sports was founded in 2018 by my amazing boss and colleague Nicole Giordano. We are a 100% women’s run Hockey Publication. We have chapters devoted to the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and of course, my favorite chapter, the Boston Bruins.

Not to mention that we love showcasing Women’s Hockey as well. Any chance we have to lift up a female athlete is a wonderful day for us. Our publication focuses on uplifting important subjects, people and athletes, while also providing our followers with up to date info on said teams. We pride ourselves on being accessible and inclusive for all women, (and humans in general) something that we have all had an uphill battle with as women in the sports industry. We aim to be a safe place for fans, players, and everyone in between. 

What inspired you to share your story recently?

So many things have inspired me to finally speak out. I have seen athletes, and people in the media sharing their stories and I felt like maybe it was my time. I am in a weird spot in my life right now, and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to find my purpose in this world, within the sport that I love.

What are your hopes for the Hockey Diversity Alliance?

I have an abundance of hope for the HDA. I hope that they might come up with some curriculum or plan to help create a package for NHL teams to help aid in diversity training. It would be interesting if we could begin to hold people accountable for their actions and words. Even if some might have intended to be “jokes”. I think the first step is opening up a dialogue, which many members of the HDA are doing now. I hope to see the HDA expand and hold the door open for people like me, I have heard that it is obviously an alliance for everyone, but I would love to actually see that happen. 

In what ways would you like people to challenge themselves to embrace inclusion on a daily basis? 

Ask questions. When I was on the phone with you a day or so ago, I expressed the challenges I face sometimes just by going to the grocery store (back when I could). I would find children staring or pointing, all mostly innocent, but I would rather them ask the questions that are swirling in their minds. I think it is important to champion our differences and really embrace each other with them in mind.  

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 Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala