The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, February 1, 2019
I've heard it called 'Correctile dysfunction'
Editor’s note: Welcome back! If you are here, you are one of our early birds/early adopters enjoying a free trial through April 28, or you have already made the commitment to funding this daily, vital commitment to women’s sports coverage and insider information from those who cover the sport. Please know, every time you sign up for paid membership, it serves as reinforcement to all of us that you, too, see the need to alter the tilted playing field in sports media.
For those of you enjoying our daily output, I’d encourage you to sign up today to make sure you continue receiving our full complement of insider info, exclusive interviews and comprehensive links. It works out to around 14 cents a day on a $50 annual membership, 17 cents a day at $5 a month. Thank you all for being part of the future in women’s sports media.)
Okay, so how are we doing?
So much has happened since I cautiously wrote about the CWHL All-Star Game from the perspective of the media. After some time to digest, there were certainly things throughout the week that could have been handled better. All the more reason why the Women’s Hockey Media Association – a new undertaking by Melissa Burgess, former Five at The IX interviewee – has great potential.
On to the NHL All-Star Weekend. That’s right, the NHL All-Star Weekend, where Renata Fast, Brianna Decker, Rebecca Johnston, and Kendall Coyne Schofield were brought in to demo the skills competition drills. However, with a last-minute injury to Colorado Avalanche player Nathan MacKibbon, Coyne Scofield was called in relief for the Fastest Skater Competition. “Obviously, I was a little nervous, but I knew it was a moment that was going to break a lot of barriers and a moment that would change the perception of our game and show support to our game,” Coyne Schofield told NHL.com.
Her USA teammate Brianna Decker also turned heads for her passing demo time, originally reported at 1:06. However, unlike Coyne Schofield, Decker was not officially entered into the competition and the $25,000 prize went to Leon Draisaitl. Twitter did its thing and started a #PayDecker campaign. The NHL went on to make a statement that actually, Decker’s time was “around 1:12”, per a tweet claiming Elliotte Friedman inquired with the league.
The NHL did offer $25,000 to a charity of all four women – Renata Fast, Brianna Decker, Rebecca Johnston, and Kendal Coyne Schofield – who participated in All-Star Weekend. However, CCM stepped up in a big way and offered to pay their client Brianna Decker what she is worth.
In a statement released on social media Saturday and pinned to their Twitter account, the hockey equipment company stated, “We understand the importance of recognizing female hockey players are pleased to give you the 25,000$ you deserve. You are an ambassador for growing the women’s hockey game and we are so proud to have you on the CCM team.”
The weekend leaves much to unpack, including Coyne Schofield’s appearance on Wednesday Night Hockey and the cringe-worthy comment made by fellow rinkside analyst Pierre McGuire (Greatest Hits: Mansplaining, reminding Kendall “what we’re paying you for,” and the absolute banger, “I’ll be your cage.”).
Nevertheless, women in the game showed that they are here! So, shake off the foolishness and the haters and let’s do that hockey! No excuses, there are plenty of chances to watch.
Renata, Brianna, and Rebecca all participated in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) that had its All-Star Game in Toronto last weekend. Fans who were wowed by Kendall can watch her play in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), who will host their All-Star Weekend in Nashville February 9-10.
All four have been named to their respective national teams for the Rivalry Series between the United States and Canada next month, with games in London & Toronto, Ont. as well as Detroit, MI.
This Week in Women’s Hockey
EspnW shed some light on the newest NWHL franchise, the Minnesota Whitecaps. The article is important because it offers insight on NWHL profits and attendance (albeit indirectly). The league has never made attendance and/or profit numbers available in the past.
Calgary Inferno defender Brigette Lacquette continues to be a leader on and off the ice. My latest for The Victory Press.
I spoke to Megan Bozek during my trip to Canada. The Markham Thunder defender chats about the upcoming Rivalry Series (more on this below), sororities, the NHL All-Star Game, and an interesting timeline and take on #OneLeague.
Princeton women’s hockey is on a roll this season, so no wonder the Tigers have made a list of possible teams to win their first NCAA Championship.
A look into the rookie season of Clarkson alumna Shea Tiley by Greg Cowan.
Kendall Coyne Schofield competed in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game and put the women’s hockey community on her back. Read Marisa Ingemi’s take on her fastest skater performance and more.
Brianna Decker also crushed the passing competition and got paid by CCM. Listen to Decker and Calgary Inferno teammate Rebecca Johnston talk about their NHL All-Star Weekend experience on CBC Homestretch.
Michelle Jay caught up with Hayley Moore about being a front office leader in two leagues.
Wednesday Night Hockey: GOOD GRIEF THAT WAS AWKWARD! But, don’t take my word for it:
Tweet of the Week
Kendall Coyne Schofield had a BIG week. A lot of great stuff, some not so great. Here is how she’s moving forward:
Five at The IX: Metropolitan Riveters center Erika Lawler
Erika Lawler is a 2014 Olympic silver medalist, won three NCAA titles at the University of Wisconsin, and the Isobel Cup with the Riveters last season. However, her role has changed under a new head Randy Velischek. With Madison Packer out this weekend, Lawler will center the top line against the hottest team in the NWHL. I spoke with the decorated forward after the 6-3 win in Connecticut on January about adjusting to her role. Photo Credit: Matthew Raney
Erica L. Ayala: The Riveters had a strong outing to start 2019. What is your take on where the team is at this point in the season?
Erika Lawler: I think that we, with the coaching turnover and stuff there was just the big learning curve there and … you see in our record that we experienced some pretty serious growing pains, right! We weren’t used to losing that much. So, it’s not easy to lose that often as competitors. You sort of, you know, that can create some friction. And I think just overall it’s been a process of learning and getting to know one another on the ice.
And I think the magic of a break, sometimes when you’re not doing well, is that you can press restart and go out there and try to rewrite the narrative for the second half.
And I think we’re off to a good start. It’s really important. That was a really important win for us last game.
ELA: You introduced a new goalie to the team around the same time the team, as you said, was looking to reset. What has that transition been like?
EL: Yeah that’s obviously you know, it’s sort of twofold, right. It’s sort of like you’re upset when one of your teammates had to get cut (referring to Fiona McKenna). So you lose a player in the locker room but you’re also gaining one at the same time so you have to figure out a deal with those emotions right.
You want to be a welcoming teammate on one hand, and on the other you just naturally feel like something is no longer there. So, we’re all professionals we all have to figure out how to deal with those things. Everyone deals with whatever issues they had on their own time and then when you hit the locker room, you welcome the goaltender or the new player with open arms. They’re a part of your team now so you take what you have in stride and figure it out.
So far it’s you know we won the first game with her in net. And it just was sort of good timing, I think, because it was right after Christmas break where we were all excited to sort of get a fresh start and a new look at the second half. It’s never easy to lose a player. But it is also exciting to add a new player to the mix and the line-up.
ELA: You’re a very experienced hockey player who has been on successful teams. What did you see your role being as a veteran to help everyone stay the course and make the necessary corrections?
EL: My role. I’ve always sort of been like an energy player, you know a locker room person in some capacity. And I think that that’s more the role that I have this year, being like a role player or personality in the locker room which, you know obviously it’s not always easy just sort of like the person who brings the energy and has you know everything positive to say especially when your team is losing every single game and you sort of feel like you’re not getting a chance to crack into the lineup that’s just not an easy thing for an athlete to do.
And I don’t, I don’t play a lot. I’m going to be honest, it’s hard for a player to not really get in the lineup too much, not get a crack at things, and continue to be positive. But I’ve had enough experience, like you said, in hockey to know what it’s like to not get any shifts and just try to be a good teammate. I’ve had that, I’ve had those experiences in my past and you sort of just have to approach it like, ‘Look I’m here because I love being a good teammate and that’s more important to me than any kind of selfish thing.’ Ultimately at the end of every day, you just remind yourself that you don’t want to be the person with a bad attitude. And so if I can only contribute in the locker room then I’ll do that.
Not ideal. I want to get on the ice, so it’s not ideal. But I am 110% on board with making sure that I can bring whatever positive energy I can to the locker room to help my teammates pump them up.
ELA: So, how did you feel about your performance against the Whale? As an observer, it did seem like you were able to put your mark on that game, with the ice time you were given.
EL: Yeah I mean, I think that even I’m not playing many times during game, I don’t have a problem going out there and doing my best every shift. And I don’t think I’ve really bad at all. I just think it’s the nature of it.
We have three solid lines, but they are not three lines that are rolled consistently right. They go one to go 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 a lot. And so that’s not my decision to make but whenever I do get the nod, then like I said, I have so much experience playing hockey in so many different roles and so with many different teams that I know how to turn it on. Even if I’m only given one or two shifts a period, you just deal with it and try not to get down. Have fun with your teammates on the bench.
ELA: So going back to the team coming off the win in Connecticut: Do you feel the team has made enough changes mentally, emotionally, physically, roster-wise to be able to turn a corner and really be able to play Riveters hockey more consistently?
EL: Well hey, let’s hope so [laughs]! I think we have a little bit of momentum right now because we did play well against Connecticut. Everyone played really well I think everyone was excited and everyone played more disciplined than normal. And yeah I think that as long as we sort of approach every game that kind of excitement we’ll be fine.