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

The game is growing - Interview with BU head coach Brian Durocher - must-click women’s hockey links

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The game is growing

This week I wanted to spend some time chatting about college hockey. Regardless of what is happening at the professional or International level, women’s college hockey is here to stay! If you are all for #GrowingTheGame, I’ve got some good news! That’s exactly what is happening at the college level. Admittedly, I’m slow on the uptake when it comes to college hockey. There isn’t much here in the NYC-area, but even that is changing (kinda). 

This year, Long Island University added a women’s hockey team. Rob Morgan and former Connecticut Whale captain Sam Faber are among the inaugural coaching staff. The Sharks have a 4-9 record heading into their home series against Franklin Pierce this weekend.

The 2019-20 season also marks the second Hockey East season for Holy Cross. Women’s ice hockey is also coming to the Philly area by next season. Kelsey Koelzer, a Princeton Top-10 Patty Kazmaier finalist, was tapped as head coach of the Arcadia’s new women’s hockey program. The Knights will hit the ice next season in the Middle Atlantic Conference. 

In February Gary Santaniello reported that the addition to the Sharks, and with Holy Cross and Merrimack (2015-16) recently joining Hockey East, there are 36 DI women’s ice hockey programs in the country. There are 60 DI men’s ice hockey programs in the United States.  

Will we ever see the women’s game catch the men’s side? Well, that’s the million dollar question we seek to answer five days a week here at The IX Newsletter. I do wonder, will we will ever see a Canadian school switch from U Sports to the NCAA?

There is precedent: Simon Fraser women’s basketball joined the NCAA DII in 2010. New York Liberty forward and Canadian National Team player Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe was part of the first team after the switch.

It could be an interesting way to attract more eyes to women’s hockey and offer more opportunities for Canadian-born players to play high-level women’s hockey without having to leave for the United States.

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:

LOVED this story on the Black Girl Hockey Club from last week.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall with a weird flex here. Love the picture, would also love all of women’s hockey to release attendance numbers! Have you heard me say that recently?

If you don’t relate to this Gal Pal Sports video, do you even WoHO?!

In addition to more teams, there are more DI tournaments in non-traditional hockey markets popping up. Nicole Haase spoke to players at the first Country Classic in Nashville, TN.

This is AMAZING STATS WORK by my good friend Mike Murphy. Learn all about a new WoHo stat named after the legendary Kelley Steadman.

Wanna know what the PWHPA is doing in December? Women’s Hockey Life has you covered.

NWHL players Brooke Baker (Riveters), Richelle Skarbowski (Beauts), and Jane Morrisette (Whale) join the latest episode of the Founding 4 Podcast.

Wisconsin claims the top spot this week after winning the Country Classic

The Ice Garden has their own NCAA Division I Weekly poll. See how their picks measure up against the USCHO poll.

Syracuse ice hockey enjoys the USA-Canada Rivalry just like the rest of us

“We’re just like all the other athletes. Some of us have certain skills, certain talents. But we all work hard to get where we’re at.” Jessica Platt and other trans athletes on how they train to be competitive athletes.

Brian Durocher joins the NESN Hockey Podcast ahead of the #CommAveRivalry this weekend.  

Tweet of the Week

Hope this ended well.

Five(ish) at The IX: Brian Durocher, Boston University

I spoke with Boston University head coach Brian Durocher last month after a 4-2 loss to Boston College for the first #BattleofCommAve of the season. The BC Eagles and the BU Terriers will face-off again this weekend in a home-and-home series. Photo by Rich Gagnon and courtesy of Boston University Women’s Ice Hockey.

Durocher was asked about the effort from both teams after the 4-2 loss to Boston College on November 15.

I think the effort was solid. I don’t worry about our effort too often. You know, I think the kids were competing. I think they were fighting. I think they were looking at block shots. Even on the two power play goals that they scored, the first one we had killed off quite a bit, about three minutes I think, and we just get a puck near stick but a kid’s a little bit tired and doesn’t quite snap it out of the zone or it slips off the stick. 

That’s just a physical error, it’s not a mental error. We were doing a great job. And then the one that had eyes there, the second one, the kid fires. Could we have been extended out a little bit? Maybe, but she’s still probably going to get that shot on that. And again, team that keeps you hemmed in a little bit, you don’t quite get the clear. It’s not all of a sudden a tie game.

But from that point on, we’ve got to have a little more composure. We’ve got to get out of here with either a sneaky win or, you know, a tie. Instead we go out and take a less than appropriate penalty that gave them another crack and we did kill it off, but we then somehow gave them a little bit about odd person rush, and they make a good play to tip it in.

Erica L. Ayala: What about how the Battle of Commonwealth Avenue has grown on the women’s side over the years?

It’s a rivalry that has teams that have won hockey’s championships, you know, we’ve won five of them and they’ve got three or four now (BC has four Hockey East titles). A couple years ago, they had back-to-backs (2016 & 2017). They’ve got a team that every year recruit some of the best kids, top kids and and I don’t know if every year we’re step for step with them out there. But we compete like crazy and continue to do that. And, you know, again, the kids have a lot of respect for each other here. You know, it’s a hard fought battle but they’re kids who know each other and kids who I think respect each other and because they’re good players in their competitors.

ELA: It’s not a stretch to say that the success of this program comes from you being here since the beginning. It’s very possible you could reach a milestone 300 wins in this season. What have been the things you’re most proud of, and that you focus on most when trying to recruit players to come here?

I’m proud first of all of the institution and the escalation of the institution. I’m proud of the fact that this program has had great kids, good kids, while they’re here. Good hockey players, good people, good in the community, kids who leave here and do well in the real world. Those are things that I’m most proud of. You’re proud of the wins and you’re proud of championships, but you’re really, really proud of the people that are here. And I look at one fact, this is a program doesn’t have many people who’ve ever left Boston University. That’s something that, where you have sort of an open window to move or to transfer to do things, I’m proud everybody has stayed here over the years. We graduate seniors every year and I think, “Man, we’re losing the best kids in the world.” And then all of a sudden in comes a group of freshmen like this year. You’ve got five new freshmen and they all bring in their own personality and their own way and they’ll set their legacy over the next four years. 

I’m lucky to have been surrounded by those players and really excellent coaches too. Liz [Keady Norton] and Tara [Watchorn] now, and Katie and Allison before and you know, way back in the beginning here Erika Silva and Kerstin (Matthews) so lucky to have people like that doing a great job at all times.

[Coach Durocher was asked specifically about upcoming matchups, but had a response about the college schedule I found interesting, in the context of current post-college hockey schedules.]

We’re all competitors, we’re all hockey players and people that should have pride in the battle. It’ll take a little bit of character and personality to take care of yourself tonight, come back out. We’ll do a little bit of work in the gym, a little bit of work on the ice tomorrow, will take Sunday off and then [have a] light skate Monday and back at it Tuesday. 

It’s a little bit of a pro hockey mentality with [games] Saturday, Tuesday and now a Friday, Tuesday. But I think the kids like it because they like to play games and they can bounce back. Thankfully, they’re a little bit younger than me so they should bounce back a lot better yet. But I really do think that the pro mentality is the best way to describe it and and these kids know and want to play games.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Stephanie Livaudais,
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell,
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala