The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, March 15, 2019

When giving your all is giving too much - Interview with Princeton assistant coach Kelly Nash - must-click women's hockey links & more!

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Again I want to spend time offering my thanks to those of you who read, share, and click the links we provide here at The IX Newsletter. While I wish I could say that covering women’s sports is more than a labor of love for me, it’s not! A lot of the opportunities I have as a women’s sports writer are low-paying (if they pay at all, although I’m transitioning away from models that do not pay writers/contributors).

Much like the athletes I cover, I use vacation days, weekends, and any other “free time” to provide the best coverage I can. More often than I care to admit, I fall short of my own standards. I doubt myself. I become so disappointed when a lead I’ve been pursuing leads to a dead end.

I actually want to stay on that for a minute. Often when I come across a story, I have to weigh the personal cost of placing it on my blog or somewhere that pays little to nothing vs. trying to pitch the story elsewhere.

What makes that process even more daunting is when a league or team doesn’t cooperate: they deny timely access to a player, only make players available at certain times of the day, or (this is my favorite #SARCASM) pass along my contact information to a player without letting me know what day or time they will be calling.

Even if all I did was write about sports, I find that to be poor form. However, like the overwhelming majority of women who play professional sports, I have another job. Not to mention other interests and responsibilities.

I am not sure if I’ll ever be able to transition to doing this full-time. Sometimes, that really gets me down because I really believe I have more to offer. However, every time I am denied access, scooped, or underpaid for my work, it becomes harder to justify staying in the sports world.

I thank you for reading this. I have one request. Re-read this, and every time you see the word “I”, insert the name of your favorite women’s hockey player.


This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! erica@ericaLayala.com

“We were all so delirious and hungry and tired, I think everybody was kind of relieved … it got harder to do as the day went on and more things went wrong.” Miye D’Oench on the Riveters travel fiasco.

Knight, Rougeau take care of business (and the Markham Thunder) to advance to the Clarkson Cup Final, writes Jared Book.

“We leave all the crap that we have to deal with back in the locker room … as soon as we step over that piece of white tape, it’s about having fun and choosing joy as (assistant coach Joel Johnson) always says.” Gophers senior Taylor Williamson has battled back from health issues to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, more #OneLeague talk, but this long read by Kristina Rutherford is solid!

The Ice Garden has you covered for CWHL & NWHL awards finalists

Almost Frozen Four time! Check out the Selection Sunday VIDEO to see the field of eight looking to book their ticket to the 2019 Frozen Four.

Syracuse is going dancing! More on the first NCAA Tournament for The Orange from Nicole Haase.

This is everything you need to know about the NCAA Division III women’s hockey bracket.

Not an article, but check out this AMAZING stats project put together by my podcast co-host and great friend Mike Murphy! He truly makes the sport better for us all.


Tweet(s) of the Week

In addition to her Twitter thread, Kimberly Sass shared an important message about the realities of being a female athlete.

Former Riveters captain Ashley Johnston also weighed in.


Five at The IX: Interview with Princeton Assistant Coach & Riveters Forward Kelly Nash

Photo credit: Matthew Raney, @MatthewRaney

Kelly Nash is in her second season as assistant coach under Princeton Women’s Hockey Coach Cara Morey. She will be in Minnesota, but not with the Riveters. Instead, she will be on the bench with Princeton for the NCAA Quarterfinals game against Minnesota. Although she will miss therescheduled NWHL semifinal against the Minnesota Whitecaps, she will have some familiar faces cheering her on in the stands.

Erica L. Ayala: What do you make of the ability of your team, the Princeton team, to overcome some of the challenges you faced last year and come out strong this season.

Kelly Nash: I think I mean we had a lot of the same returners come back which was good so they kind of experience all the adversity last year and figured out how to adapt to as well as obviously we have a lot of young talent that kinda contributed right off the bat and has been all season long. So I just think with the upperclassmen experience and the freshmen sophomores and juniors all of them kind of connecting pretty well.

ELA: And you talked about some of your young talent. I think that really shows in how your team plays. They seem very excited. They like playing with each other. What's that like to coach.

KN: (Laughs) It’s pretty fun! I mean obviously the coaches work a lot on systems and stuff. But, one of my one of my own personal roles as a coach is players develop development – individual skills and things like that. Those aren't too challenging for me. If anything it's just me picking the drills, but they kinda do it themselves.

ELA: Fair enough. So Princeton is headed to the NCAA tournament. You'll actually be in Minnesota. So how do you like that matchup and how your team is playing this year.

KN: Honestly I think we match up pretty well. It's hard because we've obviously never faced Minnesota this season or anything. And with them in the WCHA, we obviously don't watch them very often or anything like that. So it's definitely a new team that we're not used to. The coaches do a lot of scouting, obviously, when that's the case. But I mean, Minnesota has a ton of talent and skill as they normally do. But obviously we do as well.

I think it's going to be a pretty fast paced, back and forth game for sure.

ELA: I hear that since that game is Saturday, you won't be playing Friday. But some of the Riveters, from what I hear at least, are going to try and make it. So what are your thoughts about some of your teammates coming to cheer you on?

KN: (Laughs) Yeah I know! I kind of love the idea that, I mean it's a super unique coincidence actually, that both these teams are in Minnesota at the same time. Obviously, if the Riveters win on Friday, they’ll have a Saturday morning practice and either way they'll be able to make it to the game.So it's kind of cool!

But, I mean they've obviously been cheering me and Princeton on the entire season, checking in after every week how we do and everything. So, even though they'll be showing up at the game Saturday, they've been pretty bought in all season long, which is great!

(To Riveters captain Michelle Picard) ELA: I understand the team is planning to take in the Princeton at Minnesota game Saturday afternoon. What are your thoughts about Princeton just happening to play in Minnesota the same weekend as the NWHL semifinal?

Shelly Picard: Kelly Nash is one of our teammates. It’s an incredible accomplishment for her and Princeton (to be selected to the NCAA Tournament). It’s a huge moment for her, and hopefully will be a huge energy-builder for us come Sunday.

Note: If the Riveters win their semifinal game against the top seed Minnesota, Nash and the other players unable to travel because of work conflicts (Kimberly Sass and Princeton Alumna Kelsey Koelzer) are expected to join the team for the Isobel Cup Final Sunday afternoon.


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women's Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster