Friday, October 28, 2005

It's hockey season!

Woo-hoo it's hockey season finally. And while there is next to no hockey shown on TV out here in the middle of America, I am still excited to be able to surf the 'net for the latest hockey news.
First, a somewhat reluctant but nonetheless huge shout-out to the BU Terriers who are in their first season in Hockey East and have lost only 1 game; a loss they avenged the other night when they beat Northeastern [which has slid steadily downhill since the loss of team USA goalie Chanda Gunn (graduation) and their former coach (to UConn)]. The reluctance is because it is practically sacrilege for a UNH alum to give props to anything BU. But any supporter of women's athletics, particularly women's hockey, cannot let this pass with comment.
Also, it's almost an Olympic year which means women's international hockey gets a little more recognition (fingers crossed). I have been meaning to check out the potential roster for a while now but keep getting sidetracked by silly things like papers, and teaching, and Judith Butler (not in person, just in the form of her book). So I went to USA Hockey today to see who is in the running to make the roster. Alas I cannot find it, which is not too surprising given that I don't think it is finalized yet (though I can't even find out if that's true or not). So I thought I would get an inkling at least by looking at the roster from the Four Nations Cup that was held in late August/early September. No such luck. And what was even more suprising was that the coverage of the Four Nations Cup was incomplete. There were news stories about team USA's first two games but nothing from the medal rounds. This is just ridiculous. I don't know what's worse: not covering it at all or doing a (literally) half-assed job of it.
USA Hockey's website seems to be even worse than it was when I complained previously about it. They used to at least have rosters for the women's tournaments. Now I can't get those or any kind of up-do-date results.
I hope USA Hockey gets its act together in time for the Games. Hockey is already on pretty shaky ground here in the US; it would be unfortunate if the troubles in the men's game also brings down the women's game which is in a really exciting growth period right now.


Anonymous said...

Giving props to BU...what's next? cheering for Maine?! :)

But seriously, that is an impressive record for a new team. The better the competition gets in women's Hockey East, the better for all of us fans, even the New Hampshire fans.


Amateur said...

What women's hockey really needs is another serious international contender. Every time I see an international tournament, the championship games (USA vs Canada, of course) are incredibly compelling; the rest of the tournament is a bore.

The NCAA seems to be the primary feeder system for international hockey; has there been any increase in the number of foreign players?

ken said...

Good question, amateur. Well as you know the NCAA has always headed north to recruit you Canadians. I think that is only one small component to the international rivalry between the US and Canada. Canada has numerous hockey opportunities for young girls. Not sure how things on the youth front look in other countries.
As for international recruitment I do think it is picking up. My alma mater, UNH, just recruited a great first year player from Scotland of all places who has national team experience. The Minnesota team is full of foreign recruits. The Finnish goalie from the 2002 Olympics was an NCAA player too. So I definitely think as women's program are given bigger recruiting budgets (though never as much as the men) they will take the opportunity to go abroad more.
But it should be noted that China has been developing a decent national team and there are no chinese players in the NCAA as far as I know. I think countries need to develop strong youth programs first because the NCAA has a depth it didn't have even 10 years ago and it no longer as developmentally oriented as it used to be.