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

NWHL expanding? — Interview with Nadine Muzerall Part II — Must-click WoHo links

(Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. In this moment, freelance budgets are being cut, reporters are losing their jobs. Women’s sports always bears the brunt of that first.

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NWHL expanding?!

Okay folks! Can I be honest? I’m super zoned in on the WNBA Draft this week. The team I usually cover for The Athletic has the #1 pick and traded their biggest star for two more first round picks. But, Howard told you all about that on Wednesday.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet:

  • The AP reported the NWHL is expanding to the Toronto-area

  • Digit Murphy is said to be the head coach, I was able confirm Murphy will be involved

  • When I reached out to the league, they provided the same quote in the article, “The NWHL has no news to announce at this time.”

  • I have heard the news is expected to drop next Wednesday

What I will add to this conversation is, Digit Murphy has been very frustrated with the state of women’s hockey at the NCAA and professional level. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Murphy several times since the Aurora Games in August.

Murphy believes WoHo has a fundamental issue, that being WoHo wants to fit its culture into men’s hockey culture. She brought funding from the Chinese National Team to the CHWL, money that was absolutely necessary to implement salaries for the first time. If Murphy can bring more funding, more players (as Hailey Salvian & Marisa Ingemi have reported) to the NWHL, this could be huge for the league.

Much like my beloved New York Liberty and their #1 pick in tonight’s draft, the NWHL really can’t afford to botch this acquisition (that being Digit Murphy) and expansion.

Hopefully we will have more to report next week!

This week in Women’s Hockey

A reminder that clicking links curated by The IX catches the eye of outlets. If we want more WoHo coverage, we have to support WoHo writers.

Speaking of supporting WoHo writers (you know, from the blurb above), Marisa Ingemi landed a new gig. Once hockey resumes, Mallory Souliotis and the Boston Pride are ready to put the league on notice.

PODCAST: Jordan Brickner joins #TheOriginalEight, limited series running on the Founding 4 Podcast.

Jared Clinton on the abrupt end to Shea Tiley’s SDHL season for The Ice Garden.

Q&A with AJ Mlkeczko, Islanders analyst & USA Hockey Hall of Famer.

The Metropolitan Riveters inked three players, bringing their roster to five for the 2020-21 season.

Looking back on Jincy Dunne’s historic OSU career by Kayla Harvey.

Emily Kaplan spoke to Florence Schelling about her new front office role.

I tackled a really tough topic for my first New York Times article. Racism continues to be a problem in hockey. However, there are BLACK WOMEN in key positions showing the NHL and the hockey community what is possible when they listen to fans, hire Black women & people of color, and embrace true culture change. I am riding so many emotions, but ultimately I am proud that my first story at this level is about a topic and people I am so passionate about.

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Five at The IX: Nadine Muzerall Part II

Last week, we gave you Part I of our interview with OSU head coach Nadine Muzerall. She discussed her humble hockey beginnings and what made OSU the right job at the right time. This week, we’ll learn how she turned the program around en route to a 2020 WCHA Championship!

You coached under Brad Frost at your alma mater ow you are competing against in the WCHA. What do you take away from those experiences? Were there moments you found challenging at the time, that now being on the other side as a head coach, you really cherish and value?

Yeah, so I’m glad you said, I was gonna give a shout out to Brad. Brad gave me the opportunity really to start off and collegiate hockey. Laura did tell me about the job opportunity … but it was Brad that hired me and had to say yes.

I’ll tell you what, I had no clue of what it entailed to be a head coach because Brad did a very good job of managing it. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you didn’t have to notice or handle as an assistant coach. I think that that was the hardest transition was the amount of work … because it had nothing to do with coaching. It had everything to do with preparing the day-to-day for the student athletes.

You know, I don’t think what a lot of people notice is that stuff behind the hockey that the coaches, the head coaches at least, have to do for the benefit of their staff and the student athletes. So that was time-consuming.

Alison Lukan at The Athletic has done a great job covering the Ohio State and I appreciated Alison’s story about how the OSU women’s hockey team is incorporating analytic. How did that come about and why was important?

I gotta give a lot of credit to Taran Singleton. He was 21 years as the video guy for New Jersey Devil. So he worked under Lou Lamoriello forever. So Taran started the process of teaching the numbers side of things to me.

(Data analysis) allows you stand up in front of the team and say this isn’t a subjective feel subjective of what our coaches are thinking. I need to know that I can back that up because what if somebody pushes back and says, ‘Well, I felt this.’ Now numbers don’t lie. Is that simple. And so we started to break down. Okay, so where do we have the most success? Getting shots on that? Is it carrying the puck over the blue line as opposed to dumping the puck in this corner? Or is it a pass over the blue line? I could honestly break that down and do a team data of how many shots we get in as a team and individually.

As you as you look back on this year as it built up, what made the difference when it came to being able to get it done and hoist that WCHA trophy?

It all starts with trust and buying in, right? All of a sudden, I have seniors that are in their fourth year. It was their fourth year in my fourth year. So we were all seniors, you know what I mean? And so this is the only class that has had the same coach through their career at Ohio State in many years.

What was great was the leadership of Jincy Dunne, Olivia Soares, Elise Riemenschneider, and Rebecca Freiburger that remembered what it was like that first year. It’s a lot of little things and personal things that went on within the team that defined our culture. But mostly, I think that it was just our senior class wanting to go out with a bang. I mean, you got Jesse Dunn is a three time All-American as a defenseman. I think she’s among a handful in the history of NCAA that have ever been able to do that. She wanted to finish elite.

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