A quick apology for the lapse in recent coverage everyone. Rest assured, The Women’s College Hockey Pipeline is back! In September we did a post about coaching changes that occur late into the summer or early Fall and how it affects programs and coaches. Well, this exact situation happened to yours truly a few weeks ago.
My fellow and now former assistant coaching partner at Yale, Danielle Blanchard, has left to take over the UMASS-Boston D-III program as its new Head Coach as of October 18th. As the lone Assistant Coach with our program now, I had to re-focus my priorities and something had to give–the Pipeline was it.
With that said, I want to extend my congratulations to Danielle on getting her first NCAA Head Coaching opportunity. And now, with things firmly under control, it’s back to the Women’s College Hockey Pipeline!
NCAA Expands D-I National Tourney
Big news yesterday from the NCAA Championships Oversight Committee (COC) when they announced approval of expanding the D-I National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championships from 8 to 11 teams as soon as this season 2022 or in 2023. You can read the official announcement HERE. Here’s the back story and timeline.
The NCAA National Championship Tournament has had a field of 8 teams. Beginning with the 2022-2023 season, the New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) will become eligible to receive an automatic bid to the Tournament under NCAA rules. Also under NCAA rules, 50% of the tournament field must come from conferences that are auto-bid eligible. The NEWHA would be the 5th auto-bid eligible conference in D-I women’s Ice Hockey. The D-I tourney would thus become out of balance with it’s current 8 team field format.
This issue didn’t come out of the blue for the D-I coaching body or the tournament committee. Work was being done as early as the 2018-2019 season in anticipation of the NEWHA beginning play in 19-20 with 6 teams – the min. needed to attain an auto-bid to the NCAA tourney after 2 consecutive seasons of play. Year 1 for the NEWHA was 19-20, then COVID hit and the league did not have a traditional season. Year 2 for the NEWHA is this season, 21-22.
In the Spring of 2021, the D-I women’s coaching body creates a tournament expansion committee to explore a viable proposal for consideration by the COC. After much discussion, deliberation, and consultation with D-I women’s hockey stakeholders, an official proposal is made to the NCAA COC.
September 10, 2021, the NCAA COC tables a proposal put forth by the D-I Women’s Ice Hockey Committee for an expanded tournament of 10 teams. Sighting lack of funds, the NCAA agreed on the merit of the proposal but did not vote one way or the other.
In it’s guidance back to D-I coaching body, a member of the COC asked if the coaching body considered more teams, like 12 instead of 10. Also on September 10th, the NCAA granted Men’s Hockey an extra day in between it’s NCAA Tournament regional semi-final and final round days.
On November 2nd, Women’s Hockey D-I coaches hold emergency zoom meeting to discuss options of tournament expansion now that Phase II of the NCAA gender equity review is public. It comes to light, the COC will meet on Nov. 10 to discuss the possibility of Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament expansion. A social media campaign is unveiled to educate people about the disparities in women’s D-I ice hockey using the hashtag #CloseTheGapNCAA and #TimeFor12Teams2022.
Nov. 10th, the NCAA COC acts and approves expanding the NCAA D-I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament to 11 teams for 2022 or 2023. 11 teams is 27% of the eligible teams in D-I women’s ice hockey. It’s also the exact % of teams the D-I men’s tournament has.
This is an ongoing story with many intricacies. We will keep you updated and informed as details develop.
Olympic Qualification Tournaments… The IIHF is hosting the last of 3 Women’s Ice Hockey Olympic qualification tournaments to determine the last 3 teams to go to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Some NCAA rosters are heavily impacted. All games are streamed live – you can find the game schedule and streaming links below. There are 26 NCAA players on team rosters. Several of which some from NCAA D-III and Canadian U-Sport programs. We’ll have a full report and breakdown next week.
MN High School Hockey Underway… The 2021-2022 MN High School Girls Hockey Season is just getting started with most teams playing their first games over the next week. Your best source to keep up to date with news, scores, standings, and of course – the MN State Tournament – can be found right HERE at The MN Girls Hockey Hub.
New England Prep School Hockey… The NE Prep. season is right around the corner from starting up in another week or two. Traditionally, prep players will play a fall sport or activity commitment which causes the perceived ‘late start’ by most NE prep teams. To keep up with schedules, scores, and standings etc, you can find it all right HERE.
NCAA Dead Period Ends Friday at Midnight… For D-I schools that subscribe to and offer National Letter of Intent, i.e. Athletic Scholarships, the NCAA Dead Period ends tonight at Midnight. Beginning Monday of this week, recruits who are in grade 12 and were offered a NLI to sign, had the ability to do so with the school of their choice. The Dead Period does not allow for any off-campus contact between D-I college coaches and recruits or their families on or off of its campus. The dead period rule was put into effect to help recruits make their college decision w/ out pressure from coaches during this week.
Until Next Time…
21-22 Streaming Info
-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games in the ECAC.
-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary.
-Streams for NEWHA games can be found at each teams’ website. Subscriptions may be necessary to watch games.
NCAA Coaching Changes…Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.
Give Someone a Stick Tap… Know someone in women’s college hockey who’s work needs some recognition? Nominate them for WCH.org’s monthly ‘Stick Tap’HERE or Email us at: email@example.com
Recruiting Events/League Online Directory… Find all the recruiting events on WCH.org right HERE. Want to add your event? Click HERE to fill out our WCH.org event form.
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org 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.