U Sports hot takes with Simon Hopkins — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, October 27, 2023

It’s Hockey Friday with Simon Hopkins from The Ice Garden, and Canadian university hockey has launched into another exciting season. Each of the four leagues has started, but at different times: CanadaWest teams have played eight games, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) teams four games, Quebec Student Sports Network (RSEQ) teams two games, and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) teams six games.

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The two teams who reach the finals in each league’s playoffs will attend the national tournament in March. This year’s national championship will be hosted by the University of Saskatchewan, giving them automatic qualification. As a result, only one additional CanadaWest team will qualify. Below are my predictions for the teams coming out on top and heading to the national tournament.

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Too-early U Sports predictions

Canada West

University of British Columbia (UBC) has dominated the start of their season with seven wins and one overtime loss. The Thunderbirds have tallied 40 goals while conceding just 11. Goaltender Elise Hugens is undefeated through her first six games, helped by a strong defense. UBC were bronze medalists in last year’s national championships and will likely contend again.

Saskatchewan is guaranteed to attend the tournament, but not undeservedly. The team boasts a strong lineup, which has allowed fewer goals than any other team in their league this year. They will be in a tight race all year for league standing with the University of Alberta and Mount Royal.


The Nipissing Lakers attended their first-ever national tournament last year after finishing as runner-up in Ontario. I think the team is poised to take another step forward and lead their league. They’ve started hot, winning three of their first four games, which is good enough for the top spot in the league’s east division.

Waterloo has been a strong upcoming team for many years and was unlucky not to make the national championship last year. I think they will be a strong second pick to represent Ontario at the national tournament.

Quebec Student Sports Network (RSEQ)

It’s old news that Concordia is great. Though many of their star players have moved on, they remain a powerful team. They benefit every season from outstanding performances from rookies and veterans alike. Two games are hardly enough to judge this group, but they continue to be one of the best coached in Canada with a hunger to return to the top spot in the country.

My boldest take is that Concordia will be the only team from Montreal to attend the national tournament this year. I think the second team from RSEQ will be the University of Ottawa. This positive and energetic group has taken steps consistently every year, and I think this season is no different. If Mahika Sarrazin can perform at the top of her game in the University of Ottawa net, this team, with a very balanced roster, should challenge for one of the top two spots in the league.

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

Kendra Woodland has returned to guard the net for another year in New Brunswick (UNB). The veteran goaltender, alongside long-time teammate Lillian George, should be able to lead the UNB team to Atlantic victory. Last year, they were strong in their own league but struggled at the national tournament. This year, I think they have the firepower not only to win their own league but also to make a run for the title against the best teams in Canada.

Joining them will be St. Francis Xavier (StFX). The X-women are once again an offensive powerhouse, with 21 goals in their first five games and an average of over 40 shots a night. I think they’re likely to return to the national tournament, but their defensive issues could hold them back against the best of the best.

My prediction for the final national championship standings:

  • Concordia (Gold)
  • UBC (Silver)
  • Waterloo (Bronze)
  • Nipissing
  • Ottawa
  • UNB
  • StFX

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Must click women’s hockey links

Potential PWHL team names revealed by trademark filings – DetroitHockey.net

Leading this week’s women’s hockey Twitter conversation were revelations made by DH.N. They revealed trademarks registered by the PWHL for team names associated with each of the six new PWHL teams. The league has not announced official names, but early indications point to those listed in the article. Online reaction was swift and largely negative. Some of the names have obvious meanings behind them — like the Minnesota Superior named for the great lake — but others, like the Montreal Echo, had fans scratching their heads.

Hanna Olsson out for season – The Ice Garden

Frölunda HC of the Swedish women’s league was dealt a major blow when star forward Hann Olsson left a game earlier in October. She was blindsided by a crushing hit that resulted in what we now know was a season-ending leg injury. Reporting by Meredith Foster outlined the injury, result and timeline for Olsson’s recovery.

Amanda Pelkey announced as Devils Female Hockey Ambassador – New Jersey Devils

Amanda Pelkey has joined the New Jersey Devils as part of the Female Hockey Ambassador Program. She’ll play a forward-facing role in development camps and outreach projects for young girls in the New Jersey area. Pelkey is an Olympic medalist and legend of the USA women’s national team. She’ll be an outstanding role model and ambassador for hockey to folks in the New Jersey area, where she previously played professional hockey.

Scheer hired as PWHL’s Senior VP of business operations – The Hockey News

The PWHL further expanded its executive staff yesterday with another vice-presidential hire. Amy Scheer will join VPs Jayna Hefford, Annie Camins and Chris Burkett, among directors and advisors, to lead the PWHL into its inaugural season. Scheer previously worked with the NFL and teams in the WNBA.

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Written by The Ice Garden