Post #49– 8/18/21 – D-I 21-22 Season Update, A 3rd Wave?, Sifters

In This Post…

  • D-I 2021-2022 Season Update|
  • A 3rd Wave?|
  • Sifters|

NCAA Coaching Changes… See all the coaching changes in one spot – HERE – on our google sheet. Announcements on new hires and recent openings can be found below in the Sifters section.

Stick Taps Section… We need your ‘Stick Taps’ suggestions! Have someone in the world of women’s college hockey you think deserves some recognition? Let us know who they are and why you think they’re so deserving! You can fill out our online submission form right HERE or Email us at: or tweet at us: @WMNSCollHockey. Stick Taps go out the first post of every month so stay tuned!

Online Directory of Recruiting Events/Leagues… We received several messages from event and league organizers wishing to get their events/league weekends/showcases listed in our online directory. So – we’ve created a google sheet with all the events that present good scouting opportunities we’re are aware of. You can find that list HERE. If you run a recruiting event or league and want to have us list it in our online directory, please click HERE and fill out our recruiting event form.

D-I 2021-2022 Season Update

21-22 Season could in theory could start today… Hard to believe but yes, the NCAA D-I season here. Franklin Pierce University of the NEWHA begins classes today, Aug. 18. The NCAA rules allow teams beginning with the first day of classes or Sept. 15, whichever is earlier, to have up up to 4 hours of on-ice skill related activity per week. Most D-I programs will be up and running by Sept. 13th, that’s when Union and Dartmouth begin classes. Especially for the programs that did not have a season last year due to COVID, you can bet they’ll want to begin their seasons as soon as NCAA rules allow. There are also some programs that take a little slower approach and opt for a few days to go by, especially for freshmen, so everyone can get their bearings before jumping into the team schedule as to not overwhelm.

We went online and compiled a list of when each D-I school starts undergraduate classes… not taking into account COVID, some unknown delay like an athletic department policy, or scheduling error, here is a ‘fairly accurate’ (according to the internet anyway) list of dates when programs can get back on the ice if they so choose HERE.

NCAA 1st Official Practice Date… Contrary to the above mentioned 4-hours per week of on-ice skill work, Sept. 18 is actually the first official practice date in NCAA women’s ice hockey for the 2021-2022 season. That’s when all D-I programs, minus Ivy League schools, are allowed to begin their regular season allotment of up to 20-hours per week of required athletic activity–on-ice practice, strength & conditioning, team meetings, video sessions, team building, etc. The first official practice date for Ivy League institutions will be Oct. 1.

First D-I Games Just 37 Days Away… The first slate of games are scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 23-26 – just 37 days away. On Thursday Sept. 23, St. Lawrence travels to take on Penn State to kick off the 2021-2022 NCAA season. It’s customary for programs to schedule an exhibition game prior to the NCAA season beginning. After going through D-I online schedules, we are unable to find any exhibition games scheduled so far. Certainly we’re all hoping the season altering COVID restrictions are behind us and teams across all divisions (and in all sports) can have a safe normal season without interruption.

COVID Fallout – Large Rosters… As expected team roster sizes for the 21-22 season are bigger on average than in prior years. We went to every programs official website to look at 21-22 rosters that were posted. Thus far Harvard has the largest at 34 players. Not all teams are accounted for and there could be roster additions and even deletions as school begins. We’ll put together a comprehensive list once all teams rosters are finalised.

A 3rd Wave… Of Coaching Changes?

Historically the month of August and into September bring a few late coaching changes. A head or assistant coach leaves abruptly and bam, schools are left scrambling to find a replacement. This year is a bit different with more coaching changes than we’re ever seen. But that doesn’t mean we’re done with seeing some movement. Case in point, D-III Nichols College just announced an opening for their Head Coach position as Sam Fallon has resigned to take a similar position at a prep school. I expect a few more surprises. You can find our complete list of coaching departures and hires from this year HERE. As classes begin, programs are announcing recent hires… more on those below.

  • Mercyhurst University has hired Scott Spencer as an Assistant Coach. Spencer knows the CHA well as he was the first D-I Head Coach at Lindenwood University. Prior to Lindenwood, Spencer has coached at Ohio State, Robert Morris University, and Bemidji State on the men’s side. You can read more about his hire HERE.
  • Union College has filled its two Assistant Coach positions and has hired Chris Ardito and Breanne Wilson-Bennett. You can read Union’s official announcement HERE. Ardito comes to Union after having spent the past 3 seasons as the Head Girls Hockey Coach at Vermont Academy. Wilson-Bennett was a former player at Colgate during Head Coach Josh Sciba’s time as an Assistant at Colgate.
  • William Smith announced the hiring of former Dartmouth Assistant Coach Matt Cunningham as its next Head Coach. Cunningham spent the previous two seasons with ‘The Big Green’ in Hanover. You can read more on Matt’s hiring HERE. Cunningham who is originally from Phoenix, AZ played his college hockey for Minnesota State-Mankato. He will be the 3rd Head Coach in Heron history.

While not a NCAA coaching announcement, we’re glad to see former Robert Morris University Head Coach Paul Colontino land a new job in Hockey. Colontino was recently hired as Vice President of Hockey Operations and U19 Girls Head Coach at Selects Academy. You can read more on Colontiino’s delima to move to Selects HERE.


RMU Update… Speaking of Paul Colontino and the Robert Morris program, it seems the RMU administration has put the brakes on a reboot of the program until the 2022-2023 season, if at all. Tim Benz of Trib Live gives an update on where things stand with both the women’s and men’s program. You can read that HERE.

North Dakota Women’s Program Lawsuit Gets A Boost… 11 former University of North Dakota women’s hockey team members sued The University of North Dakota System for shutting down the women’s hockey program back in March of 2017. Well, they got some good news last week. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has reversed a 2019 decision by the North Dakota District Court which originally dismissed the case for what it called ‘a failure to state a claim’. The Eighth Circuit stated, “Ultimately, we conclude that the district court’s primary reasons for dismissing the complaint rested on an incorrect view of the law,”… “But given a level playing field, or in this case, a properly smoothed ice rink, the athletes may be able to state an actionable Title IX claim.”

Shortly after the University of North Dakota women’s hockey was shut down, a group of 11 former UND women’s hockey players sought legal action by filing a discrimination lawsuit against the University of North Dakota System and asked to reinstate the program on the grounds the decision was in violation of Title IX.

You can read more on this story HERE with an article that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald written by Brad Elliott Schlossman. Brad used to cover the women’s team during its existence.

2021 World Championships Get Underway… The IIHF officially announced the tournament is a go. 1,047 PCR tests were conducted in the Calgary bubble since teams arrived and all were negative.

Pre-Tournament games begin today, you can find today’s schedule HERE. Team USA takes on Russia at 2pm EST and Canada plays Finland at 6pm EST. Both games will be broadcast LIVE on the NHL Network. Get the full NHL Network Women’s World Championship telecast schedule HERE. It looks like all US and Canadian games will be broadcast live.

While official team rosters won’t be announced until tomorrow, did post a list of 250 players who came with each country to Calgary. You can find that list HERE. By our count, there are a total of 31 players who are listed on NCAA rosters, 1 U Sports player (U Sports is Canada’s version of the NCAA), and 5 players still in high school.

D-III Update… With D-I programs starting their seasons in a matter of days, the D-III season isn’t far behind. NCAA rules don’t allow D-III coaches to get on the ice with their teams until October 15th but you can bet teams will be getting organised well before that with Captains practices, strength & conditioning workouts, and plenty of team building, etc.

  • New this year for the NESCAC is the ability to begin practice when the Oct. 15th hits. It has been customary for NESCAC teams to begin practice Nov. 1.
  • We are hearing rumors that InStat, a video analytics company, has signed a few deals with D-III conferences for this coming season. InStat provides game video breakdown and scouting services to a bulk of the NCAA D-I and D-III women’s and men’s teams. This will make pre-scouting your opponent much easier as well as adding a level of player development. We can remember the days of VHS tape to tape recordings that had to be done and then Fed-Exed out to your next opponent. How times have changed.
  • Mike O’Grady, Head Coach at Chatham University announced the hiring of Lila Toczek as his new Assistant Coach.

Tweet of The Week… Kelly Rider, Head Coach at Curry College, had one of the more interesting Tweets from college coaches this past week. Given’s mission – which is in part to help educate parents, players, and coaches, her post seems very appropriate. Please take a look and click on the photo to expand. We’re not sure where she got the list from – but we’d love to know!

Until Next Time…

Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College and beginning his 3rd season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amatuer and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.

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