The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, September 6, 2019

#NoExcuses - Interview with Alyssa Gagliardi - must-click women's hockey links

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The PWHPA Toronto, SDHL, and NWHL all announced streaming or broadcast deals this week (links below). Twitch gave the NWHL a three-year deal, Budweiser Canada will sponsor streaming for the PWHPA Toronto showcase, and the SDHL will have an exclusive partner.

Some of these will be free (but might depend on location), but none of them are free to produce. Partners stepping up without a second thought and without regard to immediate returns for men’s sports is nothing new. However, the truth is women’s sports don’t get the same (or any) benefit of the doubt.

We only get the doubt. The haters. So, if you are with us here at The IX and you want to see higher salaries, better quality broadcasting and marketing, and more media coverage, you have to tune in.

There are several reasons, first being that women’s hockey at all levels and no matter the league/showcase is going to be damn good in 2019-20. This is nothing new, as those of you who’ve been lucky enough to attend games live already know. However, as Digit Murphy told me several times during the Aurora Games, if the best women’s hockey game is played but nobody is in the stands or watching on TV/streaming, did it actually happen?

The answer for too long has been: no. Not in a revenue sense, anyhow.

When the collective we (fans, media, sponsors, players, families, etc.) don’t show up, it’s not real. So, now that partners are stepping to the plate with funding, we have to fill the stands and the live chats. There are no excuses!

I get not wanting to spend hard earned money on subscriptions, cable bundles, or the transportation to and from an arena. But, at some point, we have to put our money where our mouth is. Women’s sports is exciting and the cost of entry is embarrassingly low, given the quality. So, don’t think of it as a financial burden, think of buying a $20 ticket, a $5 subscription to The IX, or an NCAA conference-specific package as an early investment.

Get in before the price matches the actual quality. You won’t regret watching, meeting, or having a jersey signed by future hall of famers and pioneers for women and sports.

I sure don’t.

Announcing The IX’s Civil Boost!

We’re extremely honored that Civil chose us for its first Boost, a fundraising pathway to help fund vital newsroom projects. This one is straightforward: travel costs to send me to the WNBA Finals. You’ll get daily podcasts, behind-the-scenes extras and both original reporting and the amplifying of others doing the good work on the scene. More details, and how to give, are available here:

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!

NWHL land three-year deal with Twitch, players to receive 50% of broadcast deal

C More to broadcast a number of SDHL games in 2019/20

PWHPA announced #DreamGap Toronto sponsors

How the CWHL fell apart

Kendall Coyne Schofield joins San Jose Sharks broadcast, so what does she think of the team?

Inside the Summit: How Auston Matthews, Hilary Knight and hockey’s elite get better

New England Women’s Hockey Alliance, NEWHA, approved for Division I status, are NCAA Tournament eligible.

Krissy Wendell headed to US Hockey Hall of Fame.

The wildest summer ever in women’s hockey, explained

Hilary Knight discusses the past, present, and future of professional women’s hockey

Tweet of the Week

#MegsisPregs – (She is also our Five at The IX guest for next week!)

Five at The IX: Alyssa Gagliardi, PWHPA

Alyssa Gagliardi returns to Five at The IX to discuss the PWHPA. She is a board member and active in the New England region. Since our interview, the PWHPA has announced rosters, more sponsors, and a broadcast partner for the upcoming Montreal series.

What led to your decision to get involved with what we now know as the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA)?

Alyssa Gagliardi: I think that the big thing is, anything you do, anywhere you go, you want to leave a place better than you found it. And obviously, hockey is what my life has revolved around for two decades. It just came to the point where we really do want to make sure we’re pushing this game forward. And speaking for myself, that was something that I felt very passionate about, and … with all these players coming together, we have the opportunity to do that. So it’s really kind of about being a part of something bigger than all of us, and pushing women’s hockey forward, and starting conversations about this gap in dreams that little girls can have versus little boys and what they can really aspire to be. So it was really kind of just, wanting to make sure that whether I continue to compete after this year or not, making sure that that there’s a foundation in place for the next generation.

You’re one of the athletes that’s a leader for the PA is concerned. Week to week or in the last several months, what has that role encompassed? What are some of the things that that you do as a player liaison?

AG: it’s been a lot of work for sure. It’s been busy. I think it’s really a credit to not only the players on the board, but all the players that are part of the PA and their willingness to be involved and really move quickly when we need things done. So I think it’s, it’s really changed week to week, obviously, higher priorities at times and others, but it’s really just making sure you know, we do it the right way. And now we’re getting close to the kickoff of the dream gap tour. And, and so there’s a lot of logistics that we want to make sure that that these events are really special, not just for the players and staff and volunteers, but for the fans, and these young girls and young boys that are going to come and watch.

A lot of people have compared it kind of like to a pro lacrosse model. I mean, there are elements that I think are familiar to women’s hockey just as far as engagement with young players. But how, how would you describe logistically, you know, what fans can expect? For the dream gap tour?

AG: The pro lacrosse league model was something that we all found really interesting. We definitely took a little bit of what they were maybe doing. Obviously, it’s a little bit a different scale for us. But it’s really about one, showcasing the highest quality talent. For the last five years, we’ve had two separate leagues, and we’ve been dividing the talent among US and Canada. And we won’t have that this year, which is really exciting. You know, I’m excited, again, to play against Poulin and the girls from Calgary and Toronto. And then team up with the Lamoreux Twins and Kendall Coyne.

I think that’s really exciting. to kind of have this mix and match and really these high quality games that everyone’s excited about, especially from a player standpoint, and I think the quality of talent you’ll see. And most importantly, we really wanted to make sure that we’re having these conversations, we’re involved in the community. This is not a gap year by any means. I know that that’s been thrown around a little bit, but this is really a hybrid year. And we want to make sure that these little girls or little boys that are coming out to these games have access to their role models, and see what they can aspire to be when they get older.

How will the format work? Is it going to be because of their regions? There’s several different regions, how will the teams be divvied out?

It’s actually pretty fluid, which is cool. Some of the showcases will be more regional and some will have a mix and match. So, players from any of the regions could be playing with each other. We’re going to have some different options for the different showcases. And I think that’ll be kind of fun to, you know. These aren’t like full time teams in our regions. And we’re going to get a chance to play with and against a lot of different players.

A lot of people always want to see as much women’s hockey as possible. Are there any conversations on how the games will be broadcast in any way radio? video?

That’s a great question. I do know, there’s a lot of work being put towards that. And to try and get games visible to anyone, anywhere. I’m not totally the best person to ask about the logistics of that. But I know there’s work being done that to try and feel we can do.

The last conversation that I had with (former chief operations consultant) Bryan Hicks, it did sound like there were conversations about what a potential pay structure would look like. Do you have a sense of where those conversations are and what you hope to build out? How does the PA hope to be able to establish compensation and salaries for its players?

I think the important thing is when we get into salaries, we get into talking about the we’re a league, then. This isn’t a league this year, specifically, so, um, yeah, like you said, compensation for an stipends and things like that, for travel will be taken care of. So you know, players won’t be put paying out of pocket to get anywhere. And, you know, we hope with, you know, a couple really successful first few events that you know, more sponsors Come on, and maybe there are opportunities for for girls and things like that, whether I’m speaking engagements or various activities like that, but I’m, you know, right now, we’re not really focused on building in salaries, because it’s not really it’s own league.

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