The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, March 13, 2020

Ides of March - Hockey Canada speaks - Must-click WoHo links

Ides of March

Okay, not a perfect fit, but what is sports journalism if not taking a few liberties for the obvious joke? The point is, March seems to be a cursed month for women’s hockey. Last March, we heard the CWHL would be shutting down. This March, Coronavirus caused organizers to cancel the Women’s Worlds, the NCAA Tournament, and postpone the NWHL Isobel Cup Final.

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Before moving on, here are a few tips for staying safe & healthy during this global health crisis from the WHO (world health organization)

Okay, PSA over.

The entire sports world is being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. I fear what the long-term impact will be for women’s sports in particular. If we stick to WoHo alone, players who represent their country at the senior level have missed two tournaments. The last WoHo International tournament was the 2019 Women’s World Championships that took place in Finland last April. It was during that tournament that the #ForTheGame movement was born.

Almost a year later and we are smacked with a pandemic that has postponed the NHL season. Even if talks of a “WNHL” were on the docket this offseason, with the NHL season suspended indefinitely it’s not hard to imagine those conversations will be pushed back.

Although the NWHL has remained in business during the opt-out, it is more than fair to ask if/how an financial hits caused by the Coronavirus outbreak will impact the league. Like every other league/federation, the NWHL is dealing with a difficult situation. Making the correct decision from a public health perspective notwithstanding, this is a business nightmare. The NWHL plans to play the Isobel Cup Final at a later date, but there is no telling what it will cost to occupy ice time, staff, and a list of other logistics for that one game.

As for Hockey Canada, they have suspended their final mini camp — scheduled in wake of the CWHL closing and players selecting not to play in the NWHL — scheduled to take place in Montreal.

This week in women’s Hockey

Coronavirus impacting:

Jared Clinton with a COVID-19 Hockey Timeline.

Now is a great time to catch up on the amazing work of Dr. Courtney Szto and her colleagues.

Erie Otters hire Kiana Scott as first woman scout.

Here is the roster Hockey Canada planned to take to 2020 Women’s Worlds.

NHL broadcasts should elevate women permanently, not as a gimmick.

“The silver lining is it kind of keeps women’s and female hockey at the forefront of hockey in Nova Scotia for another year,” said Hockey Canada forward Blayre Turnbull. Here’s hoping!

Did a guest entry for Black Girl Hockey Club on networking & inclusivity.

PODCAST: I talk Worlds, Iosbel Cup Final, and interview Mallory Souliotis on the latest episode of the Founding 4 Podcast.

The Boston Pride make the Isobel Cup Final for the first time since 2017. Here’s how it went down.

Amanda Leveille’s quest for an unprecedented third Isobel Cup is still in tact, for now. Jared Clinton on her calming presence for the Minnesota Whitecaps.

Badgers women’s hockey’s Britta Curl gains confidence from national team recognition.

Kristina Rutherford with the most insightful piece on Dani Rylan to-date.

Hailey Salvain talks to Hockey Canada players and personnel about the cancellation of Women’s Worlds.

Allie LaCombe living her dream and making way for the next generation of women hockey players.

Dani Rylan ready for Season 6 and beyond, she tells Front Office Sports.

Here are the 2020 Women’s Hockey Conference/League Champions:

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Hockey Canada Conference Call

The following excerpts are from a media call with Hockey Canada staff regarding the decision to cancel the 2020 Women’s World Championship in Nova Scotia. Participants included:

• Tom Renney – Chief Executive Officer 

• Scott Smith – President and Chief Operating Officer 

• Gina Kingsbury – Director, Women’s National Teams 

• Dean McIntosh – Vice President, Events and Properties

Reporters asking each question will also be identified. Find their stories about Worlds above.

Scott Smith opening statement

Ten days ago Hockey Canada was contacted by the leader of Team Japan requesting an early arrival in Canada due to a possible quarantine in Japan. Hockey Canada sought direction on this request through our Chief Medical Officer. Hockey Canada was advised to work with the provincial health authority as well, Hockey Canada scheduled a call with the IIHF on Monday, March 2nd Hockey Canada was advised at that time that the IIHF cancelled multiple World Championship events scheduled for the month of March but not the Women’s World Hockey Championship.

Hockey Canada spoke with the Chief Medical Officer for Nova Scotia and the medical leads for the event, with this information. Hockey Canada was cautioned about the hosting of the Women’s World Championship. Hockey Canada requested a formal position from the Health Authority in the province of Nova Scotia. Following a call on Thursday with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Hockey Canada received a letter from the Nova Scotia Health Autority recommending the event not be held at this scheduled time. Hockey Canada held a Board conference call on Friday morning.

The Hockey Canada Board directed communication to the IIHF requesting the IIHF use this letter in their assessment and decisionof the hosting of the event, The IIHF Council held a conference call earlier today (March 7). The IIHF advised that the 2020 Women’s World Championship would not be held and that Halifax and Truro, with Hockey Canada would host the 2021 Women’s World Hockey Championship.

Stephen Whyno: I’m just curious, how much actual input into the decision did Hockey Canada have versus the IIHF in terms of the final decision?

Tom Renny: We participated in discussions. Through those discussions it was very clear that the IIHF would have the ultimate decision. Based on the information that the province of Nova Scotia had & their desire to have the IIHF postpone the event, we could only concur with the IIHF that it was the right thing to do. We are, as an International Federation, under the jurisdiction of the IIHF.

Erica Ayala: In addition to the mini camps that were already scheduled, will there be any other opportunities for the women in the National Team system to hit the ice for the remainder of the year?

Gina Kingsbury: So, I can answer that question. This mini camp that was scheduled here next week was going to be our last mini camp before the World Championships. So with that said, there will be no more opportunities for our athletes to come on the ice with Hockey Canada again.

Hailey Salvain, The Athletic: So, logically and from a Health & Safety perspective the decision to cancel makes sense, but from an emotional side, given the climate in the women’s game and the momentum that the PWHPA was growing, and I guess this could be for Gina or for whomever would like to speak to that.

Gina:  I can certainly answer that.  Obviously very disappointing and you’re right, the climate of Women’s Hockey took a toll I guess on us this year on a lot of new landscape, this was unfortunately completely out of our control and anyone’s control, so it’s not something we can dwell on or certainly place the blame on, I think the only thing we can do moving forward is and ensuring continuing to build on this momentum that the PWHPA has created, that HC has been able to provide with Mini Camps and continue on this growth moving forward to next year.  Unfortunately this was out of our control and we just have to move forward at this time.

Hailey Salvain: I’m sorry if you did mention this is the previous question, I believe from Erica, tentatively when will be the next time the HC players actually beback together again, will that be September then? 

Gina:  Yes, September Camp would be Fall 2020 and that will set the tone here for our next season.  Usually Obviously the World Championship is our final event with our Senior a Team, testing in May will be done regionally and then our top 46 athletes will be invited to a training camp in Calgary in Fall in 2020, that will be the next time.

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