The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala – January 17, 2020

"Your Dumb" - Archived Interview with Amanda Kessel - Must-click WoHo links

Subscribers, thank you for your support! You’ve opted to join us for five different women’s sports newsletters in your inbox every week! The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. If you know someone who would love The IX as much as you do, buy them a gift subscription!

Continue reading with a subscription to The IX

Get unlimited access to our exclusive coverage of a varitety of women’s sports, including our premium newsletter by subscribing today!

Join today

Tie Domi is a name I didn’t know a little over a week ago. Today, I wish that were still the case.

I’ve heard reports that he and the outlet he work with are racist, sexist, and the like. If I’m honest, I don’t get worked up about these accusations.


Well, maybe I’ve just lived in my brown skin too long. I’m not surprised by racism in the way many others are. It’s not that I’m not capable of outrage. No, it’s definitely not that.

It’s that I’ve been outraged for a long time, and seemingly on my own. Black women in particular exist in a continual state of “tired”. We don’t expect even the most aligned ally not to slip and say something that warrants a deep sigh and an eye roll.

So, I’m sitting out on the “how dare women’s hockey support the tweets of a sexist”. The record reflects that WoHo has continually done this and black women and women of color have tried to tell the rest of you. So …

What did shock me (and I’m mad it did for all the reasons I’ve stated previously) is that this man decided to take on anyone asking questions or mentioning the NWHL online by using insults. Not only insults, but bad information. Well, not bad information but a skwed perspective. Let me explain:

Take this tweet, for example (I will quote it for anyone who was blocked):

“Just because you pay people does not make it professional! You have investors, not sponsors, are players getting 50% split?Viewership numbers? No insurance for players Bad travel, questionable facilities & Meals, little medical therapy MUST PAY FOR OWN EQUIPMENT etc etc …”

Investor: contributes capital with the expectation of a financial return

Sponsor: generally contributes to the operating costs of an event or program

If the argument is sponsors are more “stable” than investors, I would disagree.

Viewership numbers: The NWHL being on Twitch offers viewership numbers in real time. However, I will continue to borderline BEG both the NWHL and the PWHPA to regularly release attendance numbers.

No Insurance: Neither the PWHPA nor the NWHL offers full health insurance to its players.

Must pay for own equipment: Yes, there are examples of players like Kim Sass (interview HERE) paying out of pocket for a customized goalie set in the NWHL. There also seemed to be a lack of transparency regarding what is paid for and what is not.

Overall, my point in highlighting these things is, if we are going to be critical of women’s hockey, let’s also be honest.

These are valid questions, but for all of women’s hockey. Anyone organizing a women’s hockey event in 2020 and beyond needs to:

  • Stream games

  • Promote the events

  • HAVE BROADCASTERS (Looking at you, IIHF)

  • Pay its players

  • Pay its workers

I love that the PWHPA is calling out certain things. However, when will the PWHPA move its sponsors to pay its players? It is not missed on me that nearly 200 women left a league for pay equity, but are not currently being paid.

Yes, logistics of sustaining salaries are hard. But this critique of the PWHPA is an easy target that nobody seems to be talking about. Players choosing the PWHPA over the NWHL, given what we know of the PWHPA, should be asked one critical question:

Why — in the absence of health insurance, a salary, state-of-the-art facilities, consistent attendance, a broadcast deal, and no NHL backing — are you still choosing the PWHPA?

The answer is critical to understanding women’s hockey right now. Neither post-college option in North American meets the mark set by the PWHPA. I think that is okay.

We here at The IX know there are arbitrary hoops women’s sports must jump to get basic supports (have you read Howard’s coverage of the WNBA CBA, a CBA negotiated ahead of its TWENTY-THIRD season?)

However, why is one side alone setting the tone of professional? Why is one approach above criticism? Why is *faith in one dream more tolerable than the other?

*Faith (Noun): Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

As far as this Tie Domi, the loving father of three children, let’s flash forward to the PWHPA “winning” this WoHo Cold War.

This white man will get praised for his steadfast support by the new women’s hockey league and its players.

And there will be women’s hockey fans who remember a time this super fan of women’s hockey told them, “your dumb!” Maybe it’s just me, but I hope for a better future for women’s hockey than that.

This Week in Women’s Hockey

NHL All-Star Weekend will include a women’s 3on3 game, per Emily Kaplan.

Marisa Ingemi believes women’s event at the NHL All-Star Weekend is a start, but there is more to be done.

Excellent reporting here by Mitchell Bannon: Hockey has a race problem. At Syracuse, things might be changing.

The Boston Pride will host a #TakeTheLead game this Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Krissy Wendell & Gigi Marvin join FOX Sports coverage of Hockey Day in Minnesota.

Montreal’s undefeated PWHPA Showcase is bittersweet, writes Jared Book.

I glimpse into the magic that is Taylor Accursi by Jared Clinton.

Shea Tiley is headed to Sweden.

Beauts are building roots in the Buffalo community.

Bemidji State snaps Wisconsin’s 11-game winning streak.

NWHL All-Star rosters set, writes Dan Rice.

USA Hockey announces the roster for the remaining three games of the Rivalry Series. Brianna Decker is BACK. I previously noted her absence from the ice.

Tweet of the Week

An interesting thread. I strongly disagree the media (unless acting as trolls or the uninformed) are creating the tension that exists in women’s hockey. The tension exists and comes from people like … Tie Domi.

Five at The IX: Amanda Kessel

This is an interview from the Rivalry Series in Hartford, CT. The roster for the next stretch of the series has been announced. Here is what Kessel had to say about the team in December as compared to the November series in Cranberry Township, PA.

USA hockey was not too pleased with how that camp in Pittsburgh went. What were some of the things the team focused on this week to make sure that you didn’t have a repeat of some of the things that didn’t go well?

I think the main one is just heart. I was you know, we’re all very disappointed in our efforts in Pittsburgh, you know, something where it was evident what was missing, and it was just a little bit of extra hard work and heart . I think this week that we came in, and every single second we had everyone going hard, and I think it was evident tonight.

Kessel is asked about playing on a line with Alex Carpenter and Kelly Pannek.

Yeah, I’ve now been able to play Kelly and Alex a little bit more and it helps so much. We have that familiarity when we play together. We had a Wisconsin line put together and they had automatic chemistry as well. So, I’m lucky to be able to play with two great players.

Kessel discusses the impact of the college players *Note: The entire roster for the upcoming games will be entirely post-graduate players.

Yeah, they bring something different to the table and I think you could see the skill that they had. Abby Roque had an unbelievable highlight goal in her first national team game.

Kessel on the crowd and what attendance an attendance of over 8,000 means for the future of women’s hockey.

Yeah, it was amazing. Thank All the fans that came out today the crowd really gave us that six person I guess, seventh person on the ice.

People want it! The product’s there and the people to watch it are there. We just need a structure set a place.

Kessel responding to USA and Canada being the titans of international hockey, and whether there needs to be more international competitions for fan to watch throughout the year.

This is a big series for us now that it’s the second year of something put together. It just means that much more … I mean, even if we’re not playing for anything, it means a lot. It’s a huge series for us.

We need these games continually. I think five games is a great spread throughout North America. And … maybe it’s seven the next year.

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