Monday, 31 December 2012

Reality show would be of great benefit to growing CWHL

While agreements with two National Hockey League clubs (Toronto, Calgary) have helped bring great momentum to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, it is crucial that said momentum does not evaporate. As the Toronto franchise owns a television network (and in turn, the franchise is owned by a media conglomerate/juggernaut), a reality program would create excellent programming while helping to give the growing league much needed exposure.

In 1997, the National Film Board of Canada produced an outstanding hockey documentary titled The Game of Her Life. Broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation airwaves, the documentary helped to educate nascent women’s hockey fans on the subtleties of the game, and more importantly, the sacrifices and personal journeys that the players endured to reach such a high level. The documentary was a remarkable companion to the Nagano Winter Games, while educating an entire nation on the importance of women’s hockey.

The success of that documentary could be translated into a reality program today, which would be of great benefit to the CWHL. In what would be a new means of giving the growing league exposure, it would also help give existing fans a new opportunity to enjoy the game. The show would not be in the same mold as other reality shows where most of the participants are adorned in bikinis and socializing by the obligatory swimming pool.

As the Boston Blades sit first overall in the league, and appear to be on a collision course with the defending champion Montreal Stars for the right to win the 2013 edition of the Clarkson Cup, the Canadian vs. American hockey rivalry could easily be documented into a documentary style reality show. Considering that the league already has a broadcast partner to air the Clarkson Cup championship game, it would be a great feather in the cap of the league if said partner would be willing to undertake such a unique project.

With any sporting league, personalities help to define it. Every franchise has at least one household name that could make for great television, and more importantly, these are all admirable personalities. Their interests outside of hockey would make for remarkable off-season stories that would show these world-class athletes as great people.

The Montreal Stars feature Meghan Agosta, one of the greatest players in the world. With the newly married Agosta working on projects as diverse as wineries and hockey schools, her entrepreneurial spirit and motivation would be intriguing. Caroline Ouellette has been involved with many great humanitarian causes, and has traveled the world over. Such great spirit would make for remarkable programming.

Gillian Apps and Jayna Hefford are two of Brampton’s most recognizable players that have worked tirelessly for charity. Cross-town rival Toronto features Tessa Bonhomme and league co-founder Sami Jo Small. Bonhomme is a larger than life celebrity who is quickly becoming one of Toronto’s social elite, while Small’s marriage to ice sledge hockey player Billy Bridges would help introduce fans to another world of hockey.

While the upcoming 2013-14 CWHL season will be turned on its ear, such drama would provide superlative subject matter for a reality program. Due to the involvement of over two dozen of its players being involved with training camps for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the league will be defined by new faces, and veterans forced to assume new leadership roles.

In this instance, the league could find inspiration from the highly popular reality program HBO’s Hard Knocks, which focuses on the day to day goings on in training camps of the National Football League. While the show may be tabbed by some as reality (as it stands as the buzz word), it is more of a documentary that has brought a very human approach to the aggressive yet macho world of pro football.

Even if the CWHL were unable to find a television network willing to broadcast its documentary/reality programming, it is still an avenue worth pursuing. The CWHL can take inspiration from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada. Both have featured vignettes (and player video diaries) on their respective websites.

In turn, many of these vignettes have found their way to online broadcast sites, such as You Tube. These are more than just remarkable ways to show a human and emotional side to these fearless, frozen females. These vignettes serve as a unique way to help promote the game. The CWHL features the most talented women’s ice hockey players in the world, and the ability to develop an online channel or just produce brief vignettes would help to show these players in a different, yet dignified light, while shaping many of them into the role models that they deserve to be.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Shame on TV networks for not airing women’s hockey in spite of lockout

During the holiday season, sports networks in Canada have started to use classic baseball championship matches from decades past to fill airtime. With the third pro hockey lockout dragging with no quick end forthcoming, it is disheartening how the fearless, frozen females of the world of hockey go without well earned television time.

While the classic baseball matches certainly evoke great feelings among baseball fans, is the timing not a little off? As all television channels in Canada are obligated to provide a minimum thirty percent of Canadian produced content on its airwaves, how can women’s hockey find itself neglected?

One of these sports networks also publishes its own sports periodical. Since its first publication, there has been one story on professional women’s hockey. In looking at their Year in Review issue, they made not one mention of the Clarkson Cup or the CWHL whatsoever. Yet, there was a mention of Erin Honto who is competing in the Bikini Hockey League.

Since the Torino Winter Games in 2006, women’s hockey has grown by a quantum leap. In Ontario, the Provincial Women’s Hockey League has grown to 20 teams. With the PWHL having provided a lot of talent for Canada’s Under-18 national team (and the NCAA), the league has quickly emerged as the female equivalent of the Ontario Hockey League (boys major junior).

Regions such as Western and Atlantic Canada have emerged as hot spots for Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s hockey. Although CIS has contracts for online broadcasting, the level of talent competing at that level (including Hayley Wickenheiser with the Calgary Dinos) must justify some interest.

In that time span, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has developed into the elite women’s hockey league in the world. Most of the members of the Canadian and US National Women’s squads compete in the growing league. In the same spirit as the Stanley Cup, the Clarkson Cup was the Governor General of Canada’s gift to the world of women’s hockey (which is contested annually by the CWHL).

Although it is true that the final match of the Clarkson Cup is broadcast (along with IIHF Women’s Worlds and Esso Cup tournaments), it is hard to build up any enthusiasm for these events when the casual television viewer has little or no idea who these teams and players are, let alone how they got to this point.

To be fair, it is also up to the women’s hockey leagues to create their own interest as well. There are many athletic associations (including USA Hockey) that have their own YouTube channel. Should the PWHL or CWHL build a YouTube channel, it might be a revolutionary way to get things started.

Perhaps a quick way to stimulate the interest would be to mention the scores of women’s hockey matches (CIS, CWHL, PWHL) on the sports ticker (found at the bottom of most sports network broadcasts). When sports networks start to broadcast soccer scores from Europe on their ticker, there is certainly a cause for alarm. To add women’s hockey scores to the sports ticker (for any network) has no bearing on cost whatsoever. It is simply a moral issue, and one that the networks have missed the boat on.

While networks will provide their cost analysis argument or their justification about ratings as reasons for not giving women’s hockey broadcast time, said networks could just as easily outsource the production of a game. With CIS hockey being broadcast online, picking up the feed would be of no consequence. Most people involved with the CWHL are volunteers; therefore, a group of willing hands eager to assemble a broadcast by donating their time seems feasible.

It is time to create new history and allow the finest women’s hockey players in the world fair and equal time. Although Canada’s cultural mosaic may call for the reason behind airing soccer matches from Europe on Saturday mornings, these same fans clamor for the Maple Leafs and Canadiens on Saturday nights. When poker can earn prime time airtime, it is time to reflect and truly look at the potential of women’s hockey beyond a financial investment, but as an emotional and moral one.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hockey coach and ball hockey competitor Ashley Gilbank talks about Skate4Life

1: SSSS: Hayley Wickenheiser introduced you to the Calgary Dinos women’s hockey team. Of note, they made a donation of $1000. What was the experience like of meeting the team?

Gilbank: The experience was amazing. They came off the ice the coaches went in the dressing room and gave a small speech and then they pulled me right in the dressing room. I was shocked how quickly they welcomed me. I was able to go in and talk a little about S4L and the girls listened and then asked me a lot of questions. It was really neat to be able to share my experiences with such an elite level of women's hockey players. Ever since I was a little, it was always my dream to play university hockey and I was in awe of every single one of them. Not to mention I was speaking to Danielle Goyette and Hayley Wickenheiser - two future hall of famers and pioneers of women's hockey. It was amazing to have their support. They also blew me away when they donated $1,000. It literally was such a shock... not only because it was 1,000$ but also because I was striving hard to reach $10,000 and they had just brought me so close that I knew at that moment I really could hit $10,000 by the end of my journey.

2: SSSS: What was your biggest highlight in Ontario?

Gilbank: Now that is a tough one to answer as Ontario was 45 days long... longer than the first 5 provinces combined... so it was very eventful... I think getting hit by the transport is a memory that will always stick out but I would say my absolute biggest highlight would be a tie between the Hastings event and Pontypool. I kind of tie those two memories together as they happened so close to each and they both surprised me with how supportive they were... Hastings was a small country town with a population of 1,500 that raised $1,500 and Pontypool population 1,500 raised $1200. In Hastings the whole town came out to support me and as I skated into Pontypool I was able to stop at the Spearing farm and pay tribute to Rachel and her family. Those two days are unforgettable.

2A: SSSS: What was your biggest highlight in Alberta?

Gilbank: It’s hard to pick just one... When I think of Alberta I think of hockey - touring the Rexall Center and the Saddledome, watching team Canada practice and meeting some of the girls but I would have to say skating into the mountains in Canmore was something I will never forget. It was like someone had dropped a big green screen in front of me. It was one of the easiest skating days as I was so distracted by the scenery. I think Pierre had me pull over every km to take a picture!

3: SSSS: On the Skate4Life facebook page, you mentioned that the mother of your late friend was in BC to greet you. What was it like to see her there?

Gilbank: She surprised me... I had no idea she was coming to see me end the journey. Her and a few of Rachel’s closest friends came out the eve of my last skating day and surprised me as Pierre, my dad and I were eating our dinner at Boston Pizza in Victoria. I can probably say to this day that is the most surprised I had ever been in my life. I didn't realize that this journey had meant so much to them and that they were following me every step of the way. I also can't really explain to you what it was like to have them finish with me. The experience was that much more meaningful to me and my husband.

4: SSSS:  As you reached the end of your journey in Victoria, what were the emotions that you felt?

Gilbank: Actually the last few days I felt very numb. I was worried about finishing the journey. The night before we finished, when Sandy Spearing showed up, that changed everything.  To explain what I mean, I have a quote of my journal entry I wrote that night.
"Today I had to write. It is the last night of my journey. It is amazing to see how far I have come although to me I wasn't happy. I wasn't sad, I wasn't really anything. I was numb. -And I was scared to finish numb. I didn't want to look back on this day and regret it. I don't have that fear anymore. I feel fulfilled like tonight was just what I needed. The weight has been lifted."

5: SSSS:  After your journey finished, there was a tragic case of teen suicide in BC. What do you feel that we can do as a society to prevent such a horrible loss?

Gilbank: The Amanda Todd suicide actually happened while we were in Vancouver. It was the same day I was speaking at a suicide prevention seminar at the BC Children’s Hospital. I feel very bad for the Todd family. I know what the Spearing's went through, and are going through and I know that is happening again with the Todd Family. I also know the sad truth that this will not be the last suicide victim in our country. It was reported to me not long ago that a boy had died in my hometown from suicide. Only 20 years old.

My opinions are very blunt when it comes to what we can do as a society and I am not afraid to share them. I believe that the media needs to take responsibility for how they report suicides. I believe they need to be more proactive in sharing help services in their reports whether it’s an article, news cast, radio broadcast etc. Teens/Adults/teachers/everyone needs to know what they can do or where they can turn.

After Amanda Todd’s death there were several facebook pages created and petitions signed against bullying but did 1 student go up to their teacher and ask them if they were trained in how to deal with suicidal teens? Or even better did they demand the school must implement policies to get the teachers trained?

Did anyone donate to their local mental health facility or start educating themselves on suicidal signs or how to cope? Or did they just like a Facebook group? ...... There are so many ways we can change but the biggest way we can prevent these from happening is to educate ourselves, our kids, our society and end the stigma that surrounds mental health. There is help out there and we need to make sure everyone needs to know how to access that help.

6: SSSS: Once you have a well deserved rest, what is your next step in the fight for mental health causes?

Gilbank: The first thing I am working on is registering Skate 4 Life as a registered charity... We are also setting up a Gala next spring, plus we are working on a few ways to tell my story and we will take it from there. There will be a lot of exciting things to look forward to from Skate 4 Life.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Halloween Matchup Between Boston Rivals Sees Alex Carpenter Log 5 Points

Heading into a Halloween night contest between rivals Boston University and Boston College, it seemed unlikely that B.C. had a losing record. While BU boasted a 7-1 record, which featured Kerrin Sperry break the BU record for most wins by a goalteder, No. 8-ranked B.C. sported a disappointing 2-3-0 mark.
Despite the home ice advantage, BU feel behind in the first period. Senior captain Blake Bolden assisted on a goal by Taylor Wasylk at the 4:47 mark.
Heading into the second, BC continued to add to their lead. With Lexi Bender serving her second penalty of the game, Alex Carpenter scored a shorthanded goal at the 3:52 mark. Carpenter would continue by assisting on the third B.C. score of the night. Emily Field would bury the puck past Sperry at 8:15 for a 3-0 lead.
Two minutes and twenty-eight seconds later, Carpenter logged her fourth score of the season with freshman Haley Skarupa earning the assist.
After the 4-0 lead, B.C. made some mistakes and were penalized twice. Less than 30 seconds after Carpetner’s goal, Blake Bolden was called for hitting after the whistle. The 13:22 mark saw Louise Warren called for tripping.
The power play for BU was ineffective as they were unable to score on Megan Miller. With less than three minutes in the second stanza, freshman Sarah Lefort assisted on BU’s first score of the evening. Canadian national team member Marie-Philip Poulin extended her point scoring streak to nine games as the period ended 4-1 in favor of B.C.
The 1:06 mark of the third saw BU’s Jenelle Kohanchuk called for hooking. Alex Carpetner capitalized on the power play to put B.C. ahead by a 5-1 mark with only three seconds remaining on said power play.
Three minutes and thirty-four seconds later, Carpenter contributed her fifth point as she (along with Blake Bolden) assisted on Meghan Grieves second marker of the season. At the 12:33 mark, B.C. extended its already insurmountable lead to a 7-1 tally as Kristina Brown scored on an overwhelmed Sperry. With the goal, Alissa Fromkin relieved Sperry between the pipes for BU.
Alex Carptener was named first star of the game, while the second star was Bolden. Megan Miller, who earned her first win of the season, was named the third. Miller stopped 32 shots as B.C. went 2-for-5 on the power play. Marie-Philip Poulin of BU would finish the month of October leading all Hockey East skaters in assists with 12, and points with 16.

Open letter to the AHL: give women’s players a chance when the lockout ends

While the theme of the 2012-13 AHL season is to help provide young superstars like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Cody Hodgson, Jake Gardiner and Sean Couturier an opportunity to mature and develop their skills, what shall the league do once Lockout 3.0 comes to an end? While said lockout has created an opportunity for the AHL franchises and their fans to benefit from this sudden embarrassment of riches, there is another drawing card that warrants serious consideration.

As the AHL has always served as a buffer to experiment with rules changes and other ideas that the big league ponders, perhaps it is time for the AHL to be proactive on another front. It may be considered revolutionary yet ground breaking; what if the league were to have one female ice hockey player on every roster? With Manon Rheaume recently celebrating the 20th Anniversary of breaking the NHL’s gender barrier, now would be the most opportune time to pay tribute to that remarkable event by pushing the boundaries of hockey like they have never been before.

Several years ago, a television network in Quebec had a reality show based on hockey. The premise was that two teams (one representing Montreal and the other Quebec City) would compete against each other in a series of contests. In paying tribute to the classic Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques rivalry, the key difference was that each team had at least one woman on their roster.

Former Connecticut Huskies legend and Clarkson Cup champion Dominique Thibault played forward for Team Quebec. Jenny Lavigne, a police officer and teammate of Thibault in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League stood between the pipes for Team Montreal. Of note, the matches were full contact hockey and Thibault was not immune to being on the receiving end of physical play (just like Angela Ruggiero endured in her one game with the Tulsa Oilers).

There is no question that many women today are more than good enough to play on the same ice as their male counterparts. Gillian Apps (whose father and grandfather both played in the NHL) would be perfect as a player for the Toronto Marlies. She could wear the number 10 like her grandfather did when he led the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup many generations ago.

The hockey hotbed of Montreal features several female residents that could be productive members of the Canadiens farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Jesse Scanzano is a 6 foot tall power forward and a member of the NCAA 200 point club that. In addition, Caroline Ouellette, one of the greatest women’s hockey players in modern history is another Montreal resident that could hold her own with the Bulldogs.

Of course, there are a plethora of goaltenders that could easily add a new dimension to the way the game is contested at the AHL level. Noora Raty, the greatest goaltender in the history of the Minnesota Golden Gophers would be a suitable member for the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate. Jessie Vetter, the Babe Ruth of NCAA women’s hockey set so many remarkable records with the Wisconsin Badgers that she would be an ideal choice to guard the Milwaukee Admirals net.

Shannon Szabados has all the tools to be the next Manon Rheuame. She has played with men’s teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and with Grant McEwan College. In 2010, many in the Edmonton media believed Szabados should have been used by the Oilers when the struggling franchise required an emergency goaltender. Szabados has the poise and endurance to stand between the pipes for the Oklahoma City Barons.

While fans may argue that it may take a man’s job away, the same concerns existed when European players joined the National Hockey League. Canadians still comprise the majority of NHL players, and men would still be the overwhelming majority in the AHL. In today’s world of sport (like all other areas of business), a key component of survival is innovate or fall behind. Women’s ice hockey players would draw remarkable media interest, while bringing new female fans to the gate. Even if the league were to do this for one season and fail miserably, the newfound respect and admiration that the AHL would gain from so many would put the league in a better position than it ever had.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Penn State women’s hockey starting under a dark shadow

When the Pegula family proudly made their generous donation to create the Penn State ice hockey program, no one could have foreseen the scandal that would rock the university. As a new ice hockey program competing at the NCAA Division I level is hurled into the same throes as an expansion team in the National Hockey League, trying to escape the dark shadow of a tragic event only adds obstacles to the task of building a team.
For the Penn State Nittany Lions, their beginnings are mired against the backdrop of a football coaching scandal that crippled the football program while giving the university a black eye. In the wake of these events, every program will be under intense scrutiny. In the case of Penn State, it can only hope that it does not endure the same beginning as its sister team in the CHA, the Robert Morris Colonials. In its inaugural season, the club had a dismal 1-7-0 start and head coach Kevin McGonagle was dismissed.
Tragically, any athlete or team associated with the University will have the black cloud of the scandal hover over them for now. As unfair as it may be, it is a burden that the women’s ice hockey team may have to shoulder in their inaugural season.
Heading into the new look College Hockey America conference, the Nittany Lions will compete for a respectable third place finish against the Syracuse Orange, and newly admitted clubs, the Lindenwood Lady Lions and RIT Tigers. Two other team from Pennsylvania, the Mercyhurst Lakers (from Erie) and the aforementioned Robert Morris squad (from Moon Township) will battle for top spot.
Despite the obstacles that have been presented in light of the football scandal, there are other aspects to consider. As Sports Illustrated mentioned, it is one of the leading academic institutions in America, with the largest student run philanthropic organization. The ability to excel and perform amidst the dark cloud cast among them may still prove to be their finest hour.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Shannon Miller: a possible solution to USA Hockey’s Winter Games golden dreams?

During the offseason, a low key event occurred that may have long term ramifications for USA Hockey. While Canada celebrated gold at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Burlington, Vermont, the Minnesota Golden Gophers attended a Minnesota Twins game, Shannon Miller became a United States citizen.
Having won five Frozen Four titles with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, Miller is one of the most respected coaches in NCAA history. As a member of the Ethics Committee for US women's college hockey, and the NCAA Division 1 Championships Committee, Miller is as influential as she is accomplished. Using great acumen in her duties as head coach, Miller has helped open the doors to many. She hired legendary goaltender and one-time pop culture icon Manon Rheaume to be the Bulldogs goaltending coach.
Before Caroline Ouellette and Julie Chu won the Clarkson Cup together for the Montreal Stars, the two served on her coaching staff for the 2007-08 Bulldogs Frozen Four title team. Quite possibly, the greatest legacy of her game has been the success Europeans have had playing for her, a track record no one can match.
Prior to becoming one of the greatest coaches in NCAA women’s ice hockey history, Miller had assembled an impressive resume with the Canadian national women’s team. A former police officer in Calgary, Alberta, she was an assistant coach on the Canadian gold medal winning squad at the 1994 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Lake Placid. Three years later, she was promoted to head coach as Canada claimed their fourth consecutive gold at the IIHF Women’s Worlds in Kitchener, Ontario.  Heading into the 1998 Nagano Games, Miller was head coach of the first ever Canadian women’s hockey entry at the Winter Games. Despite earning silver, the effort was overshadowed by the exclusion of Angela James, a controversial decision.
Since those Winter Games, Canada has not relinquished the gold medal, while the United States have suffered a series of heartbreaking disappointments, including a bronze medal at the 2006 Torino Winter Games. Should the US fail to win the gold at Sochi 2014, there will be some serious reevaluation at USA Hockey. Perhaps one of those changes would involve newly inducted US citizen Shannon Miller as a head coach?
As the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea represent the 20th Anniversary of the debut of women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games, would it not be the greatest irony if the coach of the first Canadian contingent coached the United States twenty years later? Herb Brooks went 22 years between coaching gigs for the United States men’s team at the Winter Games (1980 to 2002). In the meanwhile, he coached France at the 1998 Winter Games.

It is not uncommon that accomplished coaches at the international level coach countries that do not represent their place of birth. George Kingston, the first coach in San Jose Sharks history, coached the German and Norwegian national teams despite being born in Canada. Despite being Canadian born, Shannon Miller would be a suitable candidate. Years ago, a Canadian sports talk show suggested that the only way USA Hockey would have an opportunity at being dominant in the international scene was to hire a Canadian born person as a coach. Such words may come back to haunt them if Shannon Miller has the opportunity.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Digit Murphy: The Right Person for the Right Job

When the Boston Blades announced that they were hiring legendary NCAA coach Digit Murphy (formerly of Brown University), it sent a message throughout the realm of women’s hockey that the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is ready to truly become the greatest women’s league in the world. The magnitude of such an announcement would be the equivalent of Mike Krzyzewski (the Duke University basketball coach) coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, or Bobby Bowden (the former Florida State football coach) joining the Dallas Cowboys.
While the rivalry (and mutual respect) between the Boston Blades and the Montreal Stars is not as visceral as the Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens rivalry in the NHL, Murphy gives the Blades the opportunity to usurp the Stars grip on the Clarkson Cup sooner, rather than later. In a draft that saw the only US based franchise acquire Hilary Knight, one of the most talented players in the world, 2012 NCAA Frozen Four champions Anne Schleper and Jen Schoullis, plus the greatest backstop in Providence Friars history, Genevieve Lacasse, Murphy is the glue that will bring them together as a cohesive unit, ready to eradicate any obstacles.
A superstar at Cornell long before Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner or Catherine White, Murphy proved to be just as prolific as a player. With 213 career points, the four-time All-Ivy selection has the honour of having the Cornell women’s hockey Player of the Year Award named after her. The mother of six, Murphy can proudly boast of seven Olympians having played for her (similar to Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club having coached nine Rookies of the Year), and a Patti Kazmaier Award winner in Ali Brewer.
As the first women’s coach in NCAA history to reach the 200 and 300 win plateau, respectively, Murphy is in a great position to become the first US born coach in CWHL history to obtain 100 career victories. Her ongoing involvement with USA Hockey is helping to foster the next generation of American hockey heroes, while ensuring that there will be a place in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame waiting for her.
Signifying the relevance and importance of the Title IX legislation, it is fitting that with the 40th Anniversary of the legislation, she takes the helm of the Blades. In 1972, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup, and 2012 may signify the beginning of a golden age for Boston women’s hockey with Murphy at the helm. With Boston’s reputation as a city of champions, a Clarkson Cup team would add great prestige to the city’s sporting prowess while enriching the history of women’s sports in New England. 
While Murphy has a silver medal from her stint as an assistant coach with the US national team at the 1994 IIHF Women’s Worlds, and a second place finish at the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four, the Blades offer her a superlative opportunity to claim a richly deserved championship – the Clarkson Cup, the most coveted title in women’s hockey.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Jaclyn Hawkins adds new dimension to women's hockey

As women’s ice hockey continues to grow in the early 21st Century, one of the most prominent figures in helping to expand the game, while widening its reach globally is still a player herself. Current Boston Blades player (and former Connecticut Huskies star) Jaclyn Hawkins deserves to be part of The Hockey News List of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in Hockey. Having grown up in Manotick, Ontario (near Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada), Hawkins played at the high school level with Chelsea Grills, a future star for the St. Lawrence Skating Saints.
After leaving Canada’s capital region for a new life at The Taft School in Connecticut, Hawkins graduated to the University of Connecticut. In continuing the tradition of Canadian greats who excel at the NCAA, Hawkins captured the Hockey East Rookie of the Year Award, and the USCHO.com Rookie of the Year in 2005, respectively. One of the highlights of her career with the Huskies was scoring a Hockey East record three power play goals in one game (accomplished on October 21, 2006). Her senior season would mark a career high with 41 points, while earning the Hockey East Sportsmanship Award and a spot on the New England Hockey Writers Division I All-Star team. She would finish her career as a member of the NCAA 125 point club.
While her career would lead to a temporary sabbatical, as she embarked on a coaching stint with her alma mater, Connecticut, it would not be long before she returned to the action on the frozen surface. Following in the footsteps of other NCAA stars (such as Andria Hunter and Nadine Muzerall); Hawkins continued her playing career in Europe.
It would be of no surprise that when the CWHL announced its groundbreaking player draft in 2010 (a first for professional women’s hockey in North America), Hawkins name would be announced as one of the selections. In helping to write hockey history, Hawkins was picked by the Boston Blades, the only club based out of the United States. She would continue to build her legacy as one of the most prominent sportswomen in New England sporting history.
During this time, Hawkins created a website that has quickly grown into one of the premier resources in the game. After the first year, the site earned tens of thousands of hits, displaying its relevance among aficionados of the game. Graciously allowing players and fans (both male and female) the opportunity to blog their views on the game, Hawkins has created a forum without comparison. Even in summer, many players will continue to write. Said writing covers subject matter as diverse as vacations with teammates, hockey schools, new arenas and their charitable work. All pieces provide an entertaining and often human side to a game that still comes across as fresh and exciting during the summer solstice.
The true gem of the site is a section where players and coaches can register profiles online. While coaches have a new database upon which to recruit, players are presented with a superlative networking tool. Hawkins has created opportunities for the game which are not only innovative but would have seemed impossible to imagine during the apex of the Nagano Winter Games in 1998. One day, she should be deemed worthy of a spot in the Builders Category of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The resourceful Hawkins has brought betterment to the lives of many women’s hockey players, especially in countries where the game is still growing. While some of these grateful players may have never met Hawkins, her impact on their careers make them proud to call her their friend. She has empowered players to constantly create their own history while exploring opportunities that have brought a wellspring of rewards.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Looking ahead to the 2013 CWHL Draft

With the prospect of CWHL rosters being gutted as respective national teams look to assemble their squads in the hopes of capturing gold at the 2014 Sochi Games, the anticipation of making the right selections in the 2013 CWHL Draft are crucial. In selecting some of the top prospects, general managers will need to make said selections with long-term consideration, as those picks may not bear fruit until 2014-15.
Next year’s draft shall be one in which the gm’s will need to employ great acumen. While the sheer talent of the 2012 CWHL Draft made for a once in a generation phenomenon, many players selected in 2013 will be provided an opportunity that otherwise would never have been made available (due to the absence of many players competing in Sochi).
Despite the fact that the 2013-14 season will be a learning curve for players, coaches, and gm’s alike, there are still many gems to uncover in the draft. Although some picks will see their careers fade once the superstars return from Sochi for the autumn of 2014 (a one and done situation), the players that can exhibit heart, determination will carry as much as value as any high scoring prospect.
While building towards a championship caliber team that may culminate in the jubilation of a 2013 Clarkson Cup, team chemistry and picks with the right attitude will be the key. The players that shall ascend to the top echelon of talent in 2013 are as follows:
The top 10 NCAA prospects (in alphabetical order) for the 2013 CWHL Draft
*Megan Bozek, Minnesota
                Quite possibly, the next Molly Engstrom, Bozek is a key part of the future for USA Hockey. A 2012 NCAA Frozen Four champion, Bozek has strong leadership abilities and would bring improvement to any roster that she is part of. Clearly the best American defense prospect and a strong contender for a roster spot for Sochi.
*Brianna Decker, Wisconsin
                The 2012 Patti Kazmaier Award winner, Decker is on the radar of USA Hockey for the Sochi Games. Having played in two NCAA Frozen Four championship games with Wisconsin, Decker is used to high pressure situations. May only play in the league in the autumn of 2014, but could be well worth the wait.
*Jillian Dempsey, Harvard
                A unanimous All-Ivy selection in 2012, Dempsey helped Team USA claim gold at the 2011 Four Nations Cup. Having scored five goals in one game versus Princeton (on February 4, 2012), her offensive numbers have increased in every season in the NCAA. The native of Massachusetts would be a superlative addition to the Boston Blades.
*Laura Fortino, Cornell
                The All-America selection at defense in 2011 and 2012, Fortino is the heartbeat of the Cornell defense. Will be given strong consideration at the Hockey Canada evaluation camp for Sochi. The top ranked Canadian prospect on defense, she is the early favourite to be selected first overall.
*Jocelyne Lamoureux, North Dakota
                The runner-up for the 2012 Patti Kazmaier Award, Lamoureux is a key fixture in the future of USA Hockey. Another pick that will not play until autumn 2014, she has the talent and ability to make any team in the league an instant Clarkson Cup contender. As a native of North Dakota, if nearby Alberta could draft her, she would add a new element of excitement to their offense.
*Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, North Dakota
                The second half of the most formidable one two scoring punch in women’s ice hockey, Lamoureux-Kolls will try her best to bring the United States a gold medal for the first time in 16 years. If she plays with her sister in the CWHL, the two will challenge Meghan Agosta’s league scoring record, while terrorizing opposing goaltenders for years to come.
*Isabel Menard, Boston University
                Having played with the likes of Tara Watchorn, Jenn Wakefield, and Marie-Philip Poulin at BU, Menard is CWHL ready. Having earned three points in her BU debut, Menard is the kind of player anyone would want on their team. A former All-CHA First Team selection with Syracuse, she helped Canada win gold at the 2011 MLP Cup. Already a member of the NCAA 100 point club, her great offensive skill would help the Montreal Stars and their depleted offense. 
*Josephine Pucci, Harvard
                Another top ranked defensive prospect, Pucci was an assistant captain for Harvard this past season. Like her Harvard teammate Dempsey, she helped Team USA claim gold at the 2011 Four Nations Cup.  An All-ECAC selection, along with All-Ivy League and New England Division I All-Star honours, Pucci is a cornerstone of the Harvard defense.
*Noora Raty, Minnesota
                The number one goaltending prospect in the draft, it is distinctly possible that Raty may return to Europe after her NCAA career. A key member of the Finnish national women’s team, Raty would be one of the few European superstars at the CWHL level.
*Lauriane Rougeau, Cornell
                A key reason that Cornell is a nationally ranked power, Rougeau is another player that will be given consideration for Sochi. The Montreal native would be just what the Stars needed to address any long term needs on defense. Even if she does not play until autumn 2014, to invest time waiting in her may bring back considerable returns.
The Next Ten
*Katie Allen, St. Cloud State
                Emanating from a long line of female players that have played for the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs in Alberta, Allen is a stay at home defender. While she has less than ten career points at the NCAA level, Allen would bring a stout style of play to a Team Alberta defense that has an offensive flair.
*Blake Bolden, Boston College
Having played with superstars such as Kelli Stack and Alexandra Carpenter at BC, she has quietly assembled a solid career. She has participated nationally for Team USA at various age levels, and may be a favourite to attend the Sochi evaluation camp.
*Brittany Esposito, Northeastern
                A native of Edmonton, Esposito was invited to the 2012 evaluation camp for the Canadian Under-22 team. A Hockey East All-Rookie selection scored the game winning goal to win the 2012 Hockey East regular season title. Would bring depth to the Team Alberta offense.
* Jenelle Kohanchuk, Boston University
Despite being sidelined by injuries in the 2011-12 campaign, Kohanchuk is a highly accomplished player that has contributed greatly to BU becoming a nationally ranked power. A member of the gold medal champion Team Canada squad at the 2010 MLP Cup, would bring some depth to the Team Alberta defense.
*Kristina Lavoie, New Hampshire
                A former Hockey East Rookie of the Year, her productivity has declined since her rookie campaign. Despite the dip in her numbers, Lavoie still has considerable skills. In the right situation, she might be able to ignite the offensive fire that made her a feared scorer in her rookie season.
*Brittany Ott, Maine
                The finest backstop to have stood between the pipes for the Maine Black Bears, Ott has been part of some great moments in Black Bears hockey. In 2012, she helped the Black Bears sweep the nationally ranked Boston University Terriers for the first time ever. In a 5-2 loss to Mercyhurst, she made 69 saves, a Maine record. Ott would be a suitable pick for the Boston Blades if the club loses depth at the goaltending position due to the 2014 Games.
*Casey Pickett, Northeastern
                One of the unsung heroes on the Northeastern offense, Pickett has been a steady player for the Huskies. She participated in the first outdoor game in NCAA women’s hockey history at Fenway Park. A consistent role player who is a solid defensive forward, Pickett would bring depth to any offense.
*Kelly Sabatine, St. Lawrence
                The all-time leading scorer in PWHL (Ontario) history, Sabatine has flown under the radar in her NCAA career. After the leading St. Lawrence in scoring in 2010-11, Sabatine had an even better season in 2011-12. She would log a career high with 47 points to help St. Lawrence claim the 2012 ECAC postseason crown. An All-ECAC selection (and an All-Academic selection), her point totals have improved every season An outstanding special teams player, the Ontario native would be a shrewd selection for any franchise.
*Pernilla Winberg, Minnesota-Duluth
Like Noora Raty, she may return to Europe after her NCAA career. A key leader for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, Winberg will surely be on the ice for her native Sweden at Sochi.
*Jessica Wong, Minnesota-Duluth
                Having scored the game winning goal in the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four, Wong is accustomed to performing in big moments. A quiet player with an unselfish work ethic, Wong has represented Canada at the Under-22 level. 

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Silent Heroes of women's ice hockey

A generation ago, the builders of women’s hockey, icons and figures like Fran Rider, Nancy Drolet, Samantha Holmes, Andria Hunter, and France St. Louis, toiled in obscurity while setting the table for future generations of women. Eventually, figures such as Cammi Granato, Angela James, and Justine Blainey would become household names, but their stories were ignored for too long. In modern women’s hockey, the aforementioned were the first silent heroes of the game.
In the early years of the 21st Century, players like Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero are in the same realm as Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. Despite the quantum leap that women’s ice hockey has taken in the last 20 years, every generation still has its players that left a unique, indelible mark on the game. Said mark may not have been made on the ice, but their actions had a remarkable effect on many others.
The silent heroes may walk down the street and go unnoticed. Their actions may have a tremendous role in the lives of others and alter their lives for the better. While there would never be enough space to recognize all of the silent heroes, all are truly appreciated. Here are some of those silent heroes, and the legacies that they have built:
Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux
As the founder of the Montreal Stars, Breton helped to create the first dynasty in modern women’s ice hockey. She can boast three Clarkson Cup championships (2009, 2011, and 2012) to her credit. A big part of her contribution to the Stars also stems from creating the finest culture in women’s hockey. The teammates' enjoyment of playing with the franchise is a key component in the team having success.
Along with Stars general manager, Meg Hewings, the two have worked on a superlative outreach program. The Youth Club Affiliate program is an initiative to get more local youth hockey associations and communities involved with the franchise. Breton has also used her position with the franchise to assist in funding for breast cancer research. In a January 29, 2011 contest, pink jerseys were donned by the Stars in support of the disease, one that her mother, Johanne Lebreux survived.
A superstar at Concordia, Breton would help the Stingers to the first CIS women’s championship. In the nascent years of the tournament, Breton was one of its first superstars, helping to build a legacy that others would follow in. In addition, she is one of the few women in CIS history to have participated in five CIS National Tournaments.  She still gives back to the Stingers community by contributing as an assistant coach to the women’s team.
As a member of the Montreal Axion, she scored the game winning goal that beat Brampton by a 1-0 tally to capture the NWHL title. The stick that was used to notch the game winner was given to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Perhaps one day, the Hall will open their doors to her in the Builders Category. 
Kendra Fisher
A competitor at numerous Esso Women’s National events, Fisher competed for the Toronto Furies in their inaugural season as a backup goaltender to Sami Jo Small. Speaking out on depression and anxiety, Fisher has shown a lot of courage. In the early 2000s, she was a favourite to gain a goaltending spot on the Canadian National Team, but her dream was disrupted by her problems with anxiety.
Despite her struggles, Fisher still managed to represent Canada on an international scale. Fisher would win the gold medal at the World Inline Skating Championships in 2005 and 2012, respectively. In the 2012 tournament, Fisher earned a 12-0 shutout over Brazil in the first game. She would log three more periods of shutout hockey in a 4-0 blanking of France. The Spanish team would score against her in the semi-final, but Fisher was too strong between the pipes. In the gold medal game, Fisher logged a shutout versus the United States.
While other sports have had athletes publicly discuss depression (primarily in pro football with Terry Bradshaw, Ricky Williams and Warrick Dunn), Fisher is the first women’s ice hockey player to speak openly about the problem. Speaking at schools and using the twitter hash mark #mentallyfit, Fisher’s comeback with the Toronto Furies and with inline skating is a story of courage that no Hollywood film could depict any better.
Aleca Hughes
As a student-athlete at Yale, Hughes was involved in charity work, including Athletes in Action, a group of Christian athletes that performs community service. Of all her charitable efforts, the one that captured the hearts and minds of hockey fans everywhere was the organization of a bone marrow donor drive for teammate Mandi Schwartz. As a freshman with the Yale Bulldogs was in 2008-09, Hughes skated on the same line with Schwartz, a native of Wilcox, Saskatchewan that competed in the 2003 Canada Winter Games.
A Goals for Mandi fundraiser for teammate Schwartz was spearheaded by Hughes. In addition, a fundraiser titled White Out for Mandi at Ingalls Rink on November 12, 2010 raised more than $15,500. Although Schwartz lost her battle with recurrent acute myeloid leukemia on April 3, 2011, she knew that Hughes was more than a teammate, but a dear friend whose tenacity to find a donor was unmatched. At the end of the 2010-11 season, the Yale Bulldogs introduced the Mandi Schwartz Award, in recognition of courage, grit and determination. Hughes was named its first ever winner.
Despite the tragic of loss of Schwartz, the Bulldogs dedicated their season to her and did not stop raising funds for cancer research. In 2012, Hughes efforts saw her emerge as the recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award, in which the parents of Mandi Schwartz were in attendance. Hughes would add more hardware, as she claimed the Sarah Devens Award, and the Coach Wooden Cup (the first Ivy League athlete to accomplish the feat). Her impact as a hockey player expanded to one as a role model. She built a foundation upon which Yale athletics will always contribute to the well-being of others, but to a small community in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, she gave them hope.

Kim McCullough
A former member of the Dartmouth Big Green, McCullough followed in the footsteps of other legends that graced the ice at Dartmouth. During the 2001-02 season, she was a co-captain with the Big Green, and finished with 130 career points. In later years, McCullough would be one of the founders of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
Despite her contributions to the game, McCullough’s greatest gift to the game would come through the sharing of her wealth of knowledge in strength and conditioning. As the Director and Founder of Total Female Hockey, the certified strength and conditioning coach (through the International Youth Conditioning Association) has contributed to the betterment of over 5000 players, 1000 coaches and 100 teams.
In high demand, McCullough was involved in a coaching clinic for the Wickenheiser International Women's Hockey Festival in 2010. With Hockey Canada, she has also had involvement with the National and Ontario Under-18 programs. McCullough has also written a collection of hockey training books called Best Hockey Season Ever.
In an effort to improve women’s ice hockey on a global level, many players, coaches and trainers from Canada and the United States have served in various consulting capacities to countries not as competitive. McCullough made her contributions to international goodwill by helping the Czech National Women’s 2014 Development Team as Strength and Conditioning Coach. McCullough has used her athletic gifts to help other athletes cultivate theirs.

Mariel Lacina
A former goaltender, Lacina played competitively for the Chatham Jr. Outlaws of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League in Ontario. Her first NCAA contest came on January 5, 2007 as a member of the Dartmouth Big Green. She would make five saves against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The first victory of her Dartmouth career would also involve Quinnipiac. Lacina came in a November 3, 2007 in an 8-1 whitewash of the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
While a member of the Big Green, Lacina started giving back. She volunteered as a goalie coach for the Lebanon High School girls' hockey team in New Hampshire. Her coaching career would continue with the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. One of her biggest marks on the game would be through the beginning of a used-equipment redistribution program titled Green Gear.
By continuing to spread her love of the game, she has helped underprivileged children enjoy the game. With the invitation by the grandfather of a young Dartmouth fan, Lacina noticed that despite the elementary school having an outdoor rink, the children did not have skates. She discovered very few students owned skates and that was the catalyst to bring about change.
Used gear from Dartmouth students and Hanover residents were collected, and then allocated to underprivileged young people. Like fellow Big Green alumnus Kim McCullough, made a great impact after her NCAA career. Her effort to start a donation program for used hockey equipment may provide a future game changer the chance they never had. In many cases, Lacina may be the best friend some beneficiaries of said donations never met.

Kelsey Tulloch
Regina native Kelsey Tulloch ranks in the top five in terms of all-time scoring for the Saskatchewan Huskies.  A very assiduous student athlete, her heroics on the ice has helped the Huskies remain postseason contenders on an annual basis. For this Civic minded athlete, her heroics off the ice have just as much impact. Providing inspiration, she is helping people to be contenders in life.
As the 2012 Canada West nominee for the Marion Hilliard Award, Tulloch is a four-time All-Academic, while representing her team on the Huskie Athletics Council. Her charitable efforts have included the collection of used shoes to send to Africa, and helping the Huskies organize a Christmas hamper. In addition, she has coached hockey with lower income Saskatoon schools along with assisting Saskatchewan women’s hockey programs at the bantam, midget and pee wee levels.   

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Mercyhurst continues to contribute future stars to the draft

In the nascent history of the CWHL Draft, a large source for its talent has emanated from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania. One of the aspects of any sporting league’s amateur draft is the quality of talent that emerges from a handful of schools. The respectable percentage of talent produced at a specific school also becomes a key recruiting aspect.
Many franchises in pro basketball have found their building blocks based on the superstars that were developed at Duke University and the University of North Carolina (notably Michael Jordan and James Worthy). While pro football has procured its talent from institutions such as Southern California, Notre Dame and Florida State. Mercyhurst has poised itself as one of the premier institutions of developing talent for the CWHL.
While the 2010 CWHL Draft was more of a restructuring, three former Lakers were among the top 12 picks. Ashley Pendleton (who competed in the 2010 and 2012 Clarkson Cup finals) went eighth overall to Brampton. Defender Michelle Bonello went tenth overall to the Toronto Furies, while high scoring defender Natalie Payne (who also played with Wayne State) was selected twelfth overall by Burlington. Other Lakers included Courtney Unruh (who finished her career with the York Lions of the CIS) going at 29 to Brampton, and Samantha Shirley at number 36 (going to the Burlington Barracudas).
The 2011 CWHL Draft resulted in three Lakers players (Meghan Agosta, Vicki Bendus, and Jesse Scanzano) being selected among the top five picks overall. Meghan Agosta (one of the greatest players of her generation) went first overall to the Montreal Stars. The acquisition immediately paid dividends as Agosta broke the league scoring record. Agosta would finish her rookie campaign by helping the Stars claim their third Clarkson Cup in four seasons. Ironically, Bendus would play against Agosta in the championship game of the Clarkson Cup.
Through no fault of her own, Bendus was placed in a bizarre situation. The Burlington Barracudas had the opportunity to draft her but traded the pick to the Brampton Thunder for the rights to Delaney Collins. After accepting a coaching position with Mercyhurst, Collins never played for Burlington. The end result was a one win season for Burlington, while Bendus helped Brampton compete for a Clarkson Cup.
Scanzano did not enjoy a high scoring season with the Toronto Furies. While she made appearances with the Canadian National Team, the highlight of her season was composed of a return to Mercyhurst. As a member of the Brampton Thunder for one day, Scanzano (along with former Lakers teammate Bendus) competed in a very rare NCAA vs. CWHL exhibition game. The Thunder bested the Lakers by a 3-1 score as Bailey Bram logged the only goal for Mercyhurst.
Hillary Pattenden (no stranger to making history) made some more history by becoming the first ever goaltender to be selected with the first overall pick in the CWHL Draft. The all-time wins leader among goaltenders in NCAA history, Pattenden was a key reason that the Lakers were a nationally ranked team during her four years there. Alberta selected her with the hope of being a long-term fixture between the pipes, while providing a consistent level of play that may bring the Clarkson Cup to Western Canada.
Bailey Bram was the eighth pick overall in the draft, going to a very talented Brampton team, while Kelley Steadman was selected twenty-fourth by the Boston Blades. As Bram helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds, she will be counted on to help a hungry Brampton squad win the Clarkson Cup. Although she has played with the likes of Agosta, Bendus, and Scanzano, she was the go-to player during the 2011-12 season, and finished in the top 10 in the NCAA scoring race. A tireless, unselfish player, Bram is one of the greatest to have every donned the blue, white and green of the Mercyhurst program.
Kelley Steadman, a member of the NCAA 100 point club, will be counted upon to provide offensive depth to a Boston Blades that relied far too often on one consistent line during the 2011-12 season. As a member of the United States national team, Steadman joins fellow national teamers Hilary Knight, Anne Schelper and Jen Schoullis as part of the Blades 2012 draft class.  With Mercyhurst, Steadman enjoyed consistent production, while improving on her numbers on an annual basis. As a freshman, she logged 22 points. The following two seasons saw her point totals rise to 28 and 29 points, respectively. Her senior season saw her finest production, 33 goals, 20 assists and 53 points, all career highs.  
 While Bram, Pattenden and Steadman are poised to be impact players in the CWHL, the league is being cheated out of not having all of Mercyhurst’s seniors participate. Lakers captain Pamela Zgoda was a stoic, hard working, stay at home defender with a team first attitude. A member of the 2010 College Hockey America All-Academic Team, and 2011 CHA First Team All-Stars, Zgoda would have bolstered the blueline of any squad in the CWHL. Jill Szandzik (a transfer from defunct Wayne State) was another defender that played hard, while having a steady presence on the blueline. Jess Jones, a member of the NCAA 100-point club was a hardworking, reliable forward that was named to the 2009 College Hockey America All-Rookie Team and 2009 CHA All-Tournament Team, respectively.
While the cupboard is a little bare for the upcoming season at Mercyhurst, the future promises some great talent. Goaltender Amanda Makela (who represented Ontario at the 2011 Canada Winter Games) is the next in line to Hillary Pattenden as goaltender. Kristine Grenier is a competitive sniper from Manitoba that will ease the loss of so many seniors in 2012. Shleby Bram, younger sister of Bailey Bram, has competed with Canada’s national team at the Under 18 and Under 22 level. Molly Byrne is an offensive minded defender that led all CHA defenders in scoring as a freshman. Hailey Browne competed at the IIHF Under-18 women’s championships and has all the qualities of being a future captain. The aforementioned are all part of the Class of 2015 and they will help to cement Mercyhurst’s reputation as a school for developing elite hockey talent, while giving CWHL scouts plenty to look forward to.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bravo to Hockey News for its coverage on Emerance Maschmeyer

In a time when women’s hockey hardly gets any ink, it is refreshing to see the August 1, 2012 cover dated edition of The Hockey News feature a full page story on goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer of Alberta. If one theme emanates from the article, it is that for Maschmeyer, hockey is definitely in her blood. Her sister, Brittaney Maschmeyer played for the legendary Edmonton Chimos and the Syracuse Orange of the NCAA. Currently, Brittaney plays for Team Alberta in the CWHL.
Her career in Alberta is a key point of discussion for the periodical, and how she became the second female to play boys hockey at the AJHL level in Alberta. Of note, she had the opportunity to meet Shannon Szabados, the first female to hold that honour. In continuing the story of bloodlines, her brother (competing with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons) once skated against her in a shootout.
While Maschmeyer talks to the periodical about her dreams to one day participate in the Winter Games, her next priority will be to help restore the pride at the Under 22 level for Canada. As Canada claimed a heartbreaking bronze medal at the 2012 Meco Cup (formerly known as MLP Nations Cup), Maschmeyer will be a big part of the puzzle in hoping to claim gold at the 2013.
Carmen MacDonald (of the St. Lawrence Skating Saints), her soon to be rival in the ECAC, helped Canada win the gold at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 women’s worlds. The two should be the one-two punch between the pipes that anchors the Under-22 squad for the foreseeable future. With the graduation of world class goaltenders Florence Schelling and Genevieve Lacasse from Hockey East, one can only ponder at the possibilities of Maschmeyer vs. MacDonald in ECAC competition.
With the presence of Toronto Furies goaltender Erika Vanderveer working for The Hockey News, one can only be optimistic that women’s hockey coverage is a trend that will continue.  Her excellent blogs for the periodical is a step in the right direction. As the quality of hockey continues to grow, there is no question that at least one page of every issue should be devoted to women’s ice hockey.
While it is the finest hockey periodical in North America, it is frustrating how some issues feature coverage about the East Coast Hockey League or NCAA men’s hockey, while there is no mention of NCAA women’s ice hockey whatsoever. There are signs of encouragement though. Earlier in the year, the publication wrote on L.A. Selects team captain Cayla Barnes, and how she helped her team capture the Quebec PeeWee championship (in their respective age group). It also devoted space to Meghan Agosta breaking the CWHL scoring record, and the Montreal Stars winning their second consecutive Clarkson Cup.
As she gets ready for the next chapter of her hockey career, by playing for the legendary Katey Stone at Harvard University, Maschmeyer will hope to continue in the tradition of elite Harvard goaltenders such as Ali Boe and Christina Kesseler. If Maschmeyer can help Harvard become the first ECAC team to win the NCAA Frozen Four, she will force the Hockey News to consider putting her on the cover.