The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, November 29, 2019
Happy Black History! Interview with Kacey Bellamy
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Happy Black History Month!
Hey everyone, want to be the first to wish you a happy Black History Month!
No, this isn’t a typo. As we approach a new year, I want to get a jump on celebrating Black women & women of color in the hockey space. I also want to empower everyone to celebrate Black History everyday. So, I figure we could practice together here. Let’s spark the celebration of Black History outside of just the designated month (February).
Today, I want to illuminate the story of Doxie McCoy, a Boston College Varsity field hockey player turned ice hockey pioneer. I first learned about Doxie from a deep dive into the BC Women’s Ice Hockey origin story (link below) by Jacqueline Tempera.
I’m trying to find more information on Doxie, but it looks as though she is back in her hometown of Washington, D.C. working in politics. I did find a few clipping from the BC paper The Heights on McCoy, turns out she started an initiative to share minority (her word in 1977, but one I personally don’t use, more on that here) student program news. She also wrote about BC students celebrating Kwanzaa, a cultural holiday introduced in 1966.
Hockey culture is taking a well-deserved open ice cross check for its inability to have an honest conversation about racism in the sport now and over the years. For more on the specifics, give the following a read/listen:
Four Women of Color Navigating Hockey’s Whiteness. This remains one of the favorite things I’ve ever written.
The Lead Podcast: Don Cherry finally goes too far.
Burn it all Down Podcast Episode 133.
There are plenty of people calling out “isms” in sports. What is just as important (and sometimes the more important work) is celebrating the diversity that does and always has existed.
This Week in Women’s Hockey
Quick Note: Click the underlined text to read the selection of stories from this week. Let’s let those editors and media managers know The IX Newsletter is spreading the word! Have a story you’ve read and/or written you’d like me to include? Email me: Erica@EricaLAyala.com
Op-Ed from a Wisconsin alumna: No White House visit is apolitical.
From Mike Ashmore, the best line in all of hockey plays at Hobey Baker Arena.
Hockey Canada rolling with a veteran roster for the Rivalry Series.
And one more, the PWHPA Tri-State Region is set to take on the #5 ranked Princeton Tigers at 6pm Sunday, December 1.
It’s Hockey Tournament time! The Ice Garden has you covered on NCAA Players to Watch.
Pension Plan Puppets chatted with Carolyn Prevost, Emily Janiga, and Sarah Nurse about the PWHPA, news of NWHL expansion, and the role of Hockey Canada in wake of the women’s professional hockey rift.
Easter Door, a community-based newspaper serving the community of Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, caught up with Brooke Stacey. Here is my podcast interview with Stacey from earlier in the season.
Mini-camps in Montreal help PWHPA players stay sharp.
A former Wisconsin player discusses White House visits at Victory Press.
‘Tis the Season to support women’s hockey! The Ice Garden has some #WoHo gift ideas. I’d add gifting a subscription to The IX Newsletter to the list.
Tweet of the Week
Stick taps to a great ally and of course to the Black Girl Hockey Club! Can’t wait to reunite with the fam in Pittsburgh January 31st
Five at The IX: Kacey Bellamy, PWHPA USA Hockey
Earlier this month, I caught up with USA Hockey veteran Kacey Bellamy. We talked about writing, her take on the heavy marketing of women’s hockey to a very specific fanbase (girls), and her take on USAH’s flat performance against Canada.
Note: We spoke Saturday before the second game of the weekend. Fun Note: Bellamy is a Penguins fan and we conducted this interview on their home bench at PPG Paints Arena.
You just wrapped a youth clinic today on NHL ice with youth in the area. How would you summarize an event like this from the perspective of a national team player?
It’s pretty special. I think for us, where we say that we’re trying to grow the game, and we’re athletes, and we’re hockey players. But I think number one that we try to be great role models and try to impact any community that we come to. And, being able to come on NHL ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins is my favorite NHL team. So it’s very unique. And I actually, I’ve only been here once it was my first ever penguins game probably two years ago. So, it was really fun to be here and take a part of that clinic.
I think that a lot of women’s sports fans in particular, when the grow the game message is sent, there’s pushback sometimes because it’s argued that there’s more to women’s sports than just growing the youth game. I’m curious if you understand maybe where some of that comes from and what your reaction would be to to that?
I think, actually, now that I’m older, and I’ve been going through it, a lot of the youth programs that I was a part of really didn’t have clinics and professionals or Olympians coming and being part of … little community events. I think it goes such a long way and I feel like the more and more this can happen – and even though we have a game tonight, we had a game yesterday – this is is a small part that we can do to change the lives of little girls and boys that want to have a dream to do anything. And it doesn’t have to just be sports or athletics.
Do you feel that fewer pro games this season has had any impact on how USA Hockey came out for yesterday’s game? What are USA hockey players trying to do to bridge the gap because you’re not really getting game reps in the way that you’re necessarily used to doing?
Absolutely. And, you know, people can look at that to two ways, but in my opinion, we’re professionals. So we knew that this was going to happen this year. And we made that clear that this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to try and fight for this Dream Gap Tour.
At the same time, whatever you’re missing for the weekends, maybe you don’t have two games, you have to make up for it in the gym and get another ice time. So you know, those are the decisions that you have to make. And I think whenever you come together as a team and camp and play Canada, you have to always just make sure you’re prepared in whatever way you can be.
I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a while about your book of poetry. Regardless of the sport, athletes are kind of seen for for what they do in in the realm of their sport. I’m curious to get your background on writing and what motivated you to put that book out?
Yeah, honestly, I started this passion when … I think it was like 2011 2012 I think it was like a heartbreak that happened. I broke up with someone and I just, channeled [it in] poetry. I don’t know why I wanted to write things down on paper. And then things just came to me, like hockey things and losing. This was a point with USA hockey, they were we weren’t beating Canada and we were not doing well in the Olympics. And there was just tough games that we had.
I think a lot of that [brought out] words that I couldn’t get out [speaking], I would write down on paper, it was always an escape for me. And I always tell anyone, if they have trouble, then write. I think writing is just one of the most therapeutic forms of therapy. And I’ve done it, and I’ve kept doing it. And soon hopefully in the next couple years, I’ll come out with another one.
I was able to talk to (Head Coach) Bob Corkum a little and it seemed like regardless of if you were in Sweden, or here in Pittsburgh, that this was going to be an opportunity to assess and evaluate some of the young talent. As one of the veterans on the team, does more younger players in the mix change your role when you come into camp, knowing that there be some new faces?
I think for me, I always just try to come in and lead by example. Before I come, I’m always trying to prepare myself the best I can. So I don’t really worry about, ‘Oh, am I going to do well, or if I’m not going to do well.’
I just always think, ‘Okay, I’m prepared. I did the best I could do coming into camp.’ So now it’s just relaxing and working hard, but also getting to hang out with my teammates and making the new ones feel part of the team & just getting to know the ones that maybe have been to a camp or tournament … a little bit more.
I think when you are preparing yourself as much as you can at home, then you’re going to be fine when you come in.