Post #105 – 7/5/23 – A Little Time Away, Pro Power Shift, USA 16/17 Camp Recap
Time in Quebec City, HUGE Women’s Pro Hockey News, + Miami Univ. Proving To Be A Great Set-Up
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Quick Trip To Quebec City
My wife and I decided to get away for a few days and headed up to Quebec City this past weekend. Wow–what a city.
All of my pervious time in Quebec City has been on recruiting trips during Winter Carnival in February. It’s usually brutally cold and almost always snowy at that time of year. -20C temps (-4F / -5F) make exploring in the winter a little less appealing after a 10/12 hour day in the rink.
So, going in early July, and during Canada Day no less, was a much different and wonderful experience. My Biggest takeaway – how big and European the city seemed and how friendly everyone was. These are actual pictures I took below.
The streets, shops, pubs, and restaurants were packed. And not just because of the 8,000 cruise ships tourists who docked in town on Friday. Plenty of out of town visitors enjoyed Quebec City’s charm and Canada Day festivities.
The city has a true European feel. Small quaint side streets, bustling cobble-stone city square’s, smells of Mary’s freshly popped popcorn, (Garrett’s… those form Chicagoland know, has the slight edge over Mary’s pictured above IMO) and magnificent hotels like The Fairmont, make this a special place. Oh, and the Poutine wasn’t bad either… nor the croissants, or coffee, or anything else we had.
The weather cooperated and we definitely got our steps in walking down – and up – every square inch around town… 40,051 of them to be exact. That’s 14.3 miles in case you were wondering.
Quebec City was truly a great spot to visit. We’ll definitely be back.
Game Changing Power Shift. Mark Walter Group Acquires PHF. Paves Way For One Pro Women’s Hockey League
On Thursday evening June 29 various media outlets such as The Athletic, The Hockey News, and The AP, reported The Mark Walter Group, along with BKJ Enterprises (Billie Jean King), had purchased the Professional Hockey Federation or PHF, paving the way for one singular professional women’s hockey league in North America.
Walter’s group as well BJK Enterprises representing a new women’s hockey professional league, has been in talks with the Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association or PWHPA for months constructing a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA. Walter is the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, co-general partner of the ownership group of the Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club and holder of a large interest in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. All said, it means deep and experienced pockets are behind this endeavor.
Here is the cliff-notes version of what you need to know.
-In May of 2022, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association partnered with the Mark Walter Group and BJK Enterprises to launch a new professional women’s hockey league.
-Thursday evening June 29, it was announced The Mark Walter Group and BJK Enterprises purchased the PHF. The PHF no longer exists. All player contracts signed for the 23-24 season have been terminated.
-On Thursday evening players in both the PHF and PWHPA were told on separate calls with their respective leadership groups about the purchase of the PFH.
-The PWHPA voted Sunday evening to ratify a collective bargaining agreement that had been in the planning stages for months, between them and the Mark Walter Group and BJK Enterprises.
-The new league is expected to begin in January of 2024. An official league name has not been announced yet. It is being reported the league will feature 6 teams with 23-player active rosters, a player draft and free-agency period.
Certainly there are many more questions than answers.
As The dust settles, I would give Ian Kennedy a follow on Twitter as he seems to be at the forefront of this fluid development. You can find his Twitter account here: @InKennedyCK
USA Hockey 16/17 National Development Camp Wrap-Up
Well done Miami University and USA Hockey.
It would appear the change of venue to Miami University and Goggin Ice Center for USA Hockey’s Girls National Development Camps has been a hit.
Change is often sometimes hard. But from those who I got the chance to speak with – mostly camp coaches and professional staff working last week, it seemed like this change was pretty easy to say ‘ 👍 thumbs up’ to. They all came back with rave reviews.
Comments included everything from dorm accommodations to be more than adequate with AIR CONDITIONING. The food surprisingly good, outside rink facilities excellent, and town just a short walk away from campus to enjoy a bite or grab a coffee.
I spent about 4 days scouting the event myself. For anyone who may be traveling there over the next few weeks, Here’s my recap of the area, with some photos included.
Getting There… We know travel is tricky this summer. Cincinnati is your closest major airport. It’s about an hour drive to Goggin. I had to fly into Indianapolis and drive since my original flight got cancelled into Cincy. Which took about 1:45hr.
Oxford… The city where Miami University exists kind of pops up out of no where. The University takes up quite a bit of real estate but is easy to get around and in city-grid format. Cobble stone streets around campus let you know just that – you’re around campus. While I only got a chance to explore a few downtown streets, the area close by seems to have everything you would expect an institution with 20K+ students to have. Do check-out the Bagel & Deli Shop on High Street. This place has been around for ever and serves up ‘Steamed’ old school bagel sandwiches.
Hotels… There aren’t many in Oxford. I wound up staying in Hamilton, OH about 20-mins from the Goggin Ice Center which was an easy drive. Hamilton is a city of approx. 60K+. Plenty of hotels and places to eat.
Food if staying in Hamilton… Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a bit of a foodie and like my food history. So if you’re wondering why I have a picture below of a Skyline Chili sign, here’s why… To my surprise, the city of Cincinnati is renowned for its ‘Cincinnati Style’ Chili. Hence all the Skyline Chili locations you’ll come across around the area. You’ll also find Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. They are developing a cult-like following and I am a proud card carrying member. Try it. You wont regret it. If Italian is more your thing, I’d recommend Gina’s Italian Kitchen. It’s your local-yokel bar – tasty and reasonably priced. Complete with video poker and friendly servers.
Watering Holes In Hamilton… Two establishments that seemed very busy were The Casual Pint and Municipal Brew Works. Both serve food, but the Municipal Brew Works has food truck service only.
The Goggin Ice Center… is in a word, magnificent. With two ice sheets, one beautifully appointed 2,800 seat main arena where all games took place, and a perfect practice sheet right beside it. Players, staff, and anyone else there to watch didn’t have any difficulty shuffling between the two rinks. As you can see from the picture below, the practice rink even has a suspended rink-board divider system. Do bring a jacket and wear pants – they keep it cold.
Honestly the only disappointing part of the trip was, all the smog/smoke (pictured below). That said, the set-up and experience at Goggin seems to be a home run.
Until Next Time Everyone… Be Well and take Care,
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Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org and beginning his 4th 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 amateur 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.