Category Archives: Mailbag Monday

Mailbag Monday – Post #4 – Sept. 20th & Last Week’s Pipeline Post #53


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: womenscollegehockey@gmail.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.


In This Post…

  • Mailbag Monday #4|
  • Pipeline Post #53|

Mailbag Monday #4

Click on the link below to watch this week’s version of Monday Mailbag! Jeff from Michigan wants to know the NCAA rules regarding when face-to-face conversations can take place between recruits and college coaches at the arena.

Great question Jeff. We hope this helps!

Be sure to tune in next Monday for another addition of Mailbag Monday. Remember you can submit your questions HERE, email them to us at womenscollegehockey@gmail.com, or send us a Tweet to @WMNSCollHockey and use the hashtag #MailbagMonday.


Post #53

In This Post…

  • Part II – Mutual Respect Series – Hockey Players |

Today we bring you the 2nd-part of our 3-part series on mutual respect within women’s hockey. We’re taking a look at three key participant groups – Youth hockey Parents, Players, and Club / High School coaches. We’ll identify some situations that commonly occur and ways in which we can show a bit more mutual respect to those we deal with throughout the hockey season. Enjoy!

Hockey Players

  1. Treat your teammates well… This is an issue that is rampant in the sport (as well as society) and has no place at any level in hockey–Bullying someone. Hockey has a code, an unwritten rule that teammates look out for one another-no matter what. You stand up and support each other with respect. Now, you don’t have to like everyone on your team, but you do have to respect everyone as your teammate and how they want to be treated. Great teammates are always building people up – not tearing them down. Bullying is dangerous stuff. It rips apart teams and lives. It messes with people’s mental health, no one wants to mess with that. There’s nothing more important than you’re well being or preserving someone else’s. So… Do keep the conversations as positive as you can with teammates. Every conversation isn’t always going to be positive – but it’s how you frame your words that will make all the difference in the world. Asking someone is always a bit better than telling (or yelling) at someone. Celebrate the great plays or near misses with words of encouragement. And in general, be nice to one another.
  2. Be a good follower… There’s value in being a good follower. It sounds easy, but sometimes all it takes is just following directions and doing what is asked of your coaches or captains – that’s it. We mentioned last week how parents can commiserate and complain in groups–players can be the same way. That won’t get you very far up the hockey ladder. One definite way to show respect to your coaches and the players in leadership positions, like captains, is following their direction and doing what is asked. Being a good follower is a great leadership quality in fact. Be easy to deal with… meaning don’t always go against what is being asked – don’t be the player who always complains. Going ‘rogue’ and on your own path is never a good thing within a team sport.
  3. Be good ambassadors for your team/program… Being part of a hockey program is really fun and special. But it also comes with an important responsibility–to uphold the values and expectations set by your coaching staff and or school/club association for which you play for. Respect who you play for and where you play. There were probably many people before you who laid the groundwork for your culture and how things get done. Here are a few ways to uphold that tradition. Please & Thank You’s – If anyone offers you help – the phrase ‘please and thank you’ go a long way. Use them early and often. They will put you and the program in a great light. Be ‘Present’ – Your team got asked to volunteer at the local food shelter; stay engaged, don’t make it seem like this is the last place you’d rather be. Show some level of enjoyment. The group you are supporting will have a great report back to your coaches. If you’re playing college hockey, conduct yourselves well across campus, in public, and online – You can’t hide from being a college hockey player, people on campus and off, know who you are. Each interaction you have impacts the reputation of your program. Positively interact with other departments around campus, especially those within the athletic department. Out to dinner with teammates after practice? Be extra careful what you say at the table and be nice to your servers and waitstaff. Who knows, you or your team photo might go up on the wall there! Keep it clean online with social media posts. Be funny, engaging, creative and above all – POSITIVE!

Until Next Time…


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.


Post #3 – Sept. 6th – Mailbag Monday & Last Week’s Pipeline Post #51


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: womenscollegehockey@gmail.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.


In This Post…

  • Mailbag Monday #3|
  • Today’s Pipeline Post #51|

Mailbag Monday #3

Click on the link below to watch this week’s version of Monday Mailbag!

Great questions Pete. We hope this helps!

Be sure to tune in next Monday for another addition of Mailbag Monday. Remember you can submit your questions HERE, email them to us at womenscollegehockey@gmail.com, or send us a Tweet to @WMNSCollHockey and use the hashtag #MailbagMonday.


Post #51

In This Post…

  • Part I – Mutual Respect Series – Hockey Parents |

Beginning today we start our 3-part series on mutual respect within women’s hockey. We’ll take a look at three key participant groups – Youth hockey Parents, Players, and Club / High School coaches. We’ll identify some situations that commonly occur and ways in which we can show a bit more mutual respect to those we deal with throughout the hockey season. Enjoy!

Youth Hockey Parents

  1. Let the coaches, coach… It’s hard. You see something that makes you go cross-eyed and scratch your head. “What in the world are my daughter’s coaches doing,” you think to yourself. Before you get too frustrated and wind up telling your own daughter how YOU think she should be playing – try asking the coach first what her/his thoughts are. Sometimes parents can wind up undermining the coaches efforts and possibly confuse their own daughter without knowing it. Best to get all the facts first. Your daughter may not know who to listen to if she has 2 sets of people telling her what to do. So before coaching your daughter, ask to talk with the coach. You can frame your question as, “Hey I noticed you did x, y, or z in the game the other day. I wanted to ask you first so I don’t mix messages with my daughter. Can you help me understand what you want from her?” Any coach would not only welcome the conversation but respect you for understanding her/his position. By doing this, you are clearly respecting the boundaries between coach, player and parent.
  2. Use your words to be supportive, acknowledge great effort, and encourage… Hockey is an exciting game that elicits instant knee-jerk emotional reactions. Sometimes it’s hard not to voice that excitement out loud. So when the occasion presents itself and something exciting happens – be that positive voice in the crowd! Let it be known, appropriately of course, that someone other than your daughter just made a great play. Her parents will appreciate you for it! As fast as hockey is, mistakes happen. You don’t want to be that parent who lets everyone in the building know who just made a mistake, believe me, they saw it too. And especially if it’s not your own daughter! Probably best to watch your comments about the officials as well. They have a tough job as it is. If you don’t have something positive to say, best not to say it. The more you praise, the better everyone will feel around you, and the more respect you’ll earn as someone other parents will enjoy being around.
  3. Be a positive organizer… Pizza parties at the team hotel, pool parties at someone’s house in the summer, if it’s positive and for the good of the team – go for it! If you are getting people together – make sure it’s for a positive purpose and for everyone to enjoy. As they say, misery loves company too, and the disgruntled hockey parent is one person you don’t want to commiserate with. You know this person… the one who always complains about the coaches decisions or lack of ice time their daughter gets. Some of the stuff that goes on from parents these days is down-right diabolical. Respect your daughter, her experience, and her teammates enough to stay away from the negativity. There is no need to corral a group of parents to plan and take down your daughter’s youth coach because she or he is not working on the PP breakout enough. You have an out, it’s called the end of the season when you have a choice to return to the club or not. Be the type of parents who bring people together, not pull teams apart!

Until Next Time…


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.


Post #2 – August 30 – Mailbag Monday & todays Pipeline Post #50


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: womenscollegehockey@gmail.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.


In This Post…

  • Mailbag Monday|
  • Today’s Pipeline Post #50|

Mailbag Monday #2

Click on the link below to watch this week’s version of Monday Mailbag!

Great question Shae. We hope this helps!

Be sure to tune in next Monday for another addition of Mailbag Monday. Remember you can submit your questions HERE or email them to us at womenscollegehockey@gmail.com


Today’s Post #50

In This Post…

  • D-I Schools Start The Year |
  • Observations: 3-Part Mutual Respect Series |
  • Sifters |

D-I Schools Starting-Up

By the end of Friday this week, 14 more D-I programs will have joined Franklin Pierce and Syracuse University and started classes for the 2021-2022 D-I season. Just about under 40% of D-I teams will potentially be on the ice this week back in session ]. Whether or not teams are on the ice, is an entirely different story. Ice needs to be laid down, lines need to be painted, equipment needs to be handed out, NCAA compliance meetings need to be held, medical physicals have to occur, COVID protocols need to be met, and classes have to begin. Needless to say there’s a lot that goes into getting a team on the ice. Check below to see who starts class this week.

WCHACHAECACHockey East NEWHA
Bemidji St. – Aug. 23 Syracuse – Aug. 20St. Lawrence – Aug. 25 Boston College – Aug. 30 Franklin Pierce – Aug. 18
Mankato – Aug. 23Lindenwood – Aug. 23Colgate – Aug. 26Merrimack College – Aug. 30 Saint Anselm – Aug. 23
St. Cloud St. – Aug. 23 Mercyhurst – Aug. 23Cornell – Aug. 26Providence College – Aug. 30 Saint Michael’s – Aug.23
Ohio St. – Aug. 24Penn State – Aug. 23Clarkson – Aug. 30UCONN – Aug. 30Post Univ. – Aug. 30
MN-Duluth – Aug. 30 Rochester Inst. of Tech – Aug. 23 Quinnipiac – Aug. 30Univ. of Maine – Aug. 30Sacred Heart Univ. – Aug. 30
RPI – Aug. 30Univ. of New Hampshire – Aug. 30
Univ. of Vermont – Aug. 30

Observations – 3 Part Series On Mutual Respect

There is a tremendous amount of excitement as the 2021-2022 hockey season begins. Not only for NCAA programs, but for minor/youth players, coaches, parents, and everyone who plays a part in women’s hockey alike. We all want to get back to what was normal prior to the pandemic. We miss that sense of enjoyment we get from hockey. One of the ways we can ensure that enjoyment, is in how we treat one another. The better we treat one another, the more we enjoy the game. No matter what your role is within the game, we can all show a little more mutual respect between one another.

So, beginning tomorrow we’ll introduce part 1 of our 3-part ‘More Mutual Respect’ series and take a look at ways in which Parents can be more mutually respectful of one another this season. We’ll follow that up over the next two Tuesday’s, September 7th and 14th, with posts about how Players and Club/High School Coaches can be more respectful as well. Club and High School coaches who intersect with NCAA coaches during the recruiting process will definitely not want to miss this post.

Sifters

College Hockey Season Update… The AHCA, American Hockey Coaches Association met last week to begin it’s 2021-2022 season. One item of note that came up was how conferences and the NCAA will treat COVID related games that do not get played. The Hockey Commissioners association met to discuss possible options. Football conferences, such as The Big 10, have determined how they will handle certain situations should a team not be able to compete due to COVID. We expect all D-I hockey conferences to announce how to handle such situations. The NCAA on the other hand, does not recognize forfeits and no contest games. It will be interesting to see how the men’s and women’ ice hockey committees handles these situations for the NCAA National Tournament. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Northern Michigan University Talking Women’s D-I Hockey… As it has been talked about before, Northern Michigan University has voiced its desire to have a D-I women’s NCAA program again. Just two days ago an article that appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch where AD Forrest Karr was quoted, “To me it’s an obligation that we have in the state of Michigan to help grow the sport.” You can read the full article HERE. Michigan did have a D-I NCAA program at Wayne State University, where yours truly worked from 2003-2007 under then Head Coach Jim Fetter. But the program fell prey to statewide budget cuts in 2011. No women’s D-I team in the state has existed since.

Coaching Hires Continue… We are just a few weeks away from the start of the season and there are still a few coaching positions both at D-I and D-III left to be filled.

LIU… Head Coach Rob Morgan announced he has filled one of his two open Assistant positions with former Brown alum Erica Kromm. She played for the Bears from ’07 – ’11. You can read more on Kromm’s hire HERE.

St. Anselm College… Head Coach Jen Kindret recently announced the hiring of Vinnie Ferrainola as its new full-time Assistant Coach. Ferrainola comes to St. A’s after spending the 20-21 season as Director of Hockey Operations for women’s hockey at Robert Morris University. You can read more his hire HERE.

Concordia University Wisconsin… has hired Ellie Tabaka, former player at Augsburg College ’20 and will assume the Assistant Coaching duties. You can read more on Ellie’s hire HERE.

RIT, Merrimack, and LIU… still have Assistant positions to announce.

At Division III… There are several Head and Assistants positions that need to be announced. Trinity College has a job posting for it’s Full-Time Assistant Coaching position. Anyone interested in applying can do so HERE.

RMU Update… And speaking of Robert Morris, it appears there will be no hockey played for either the women’s or men’s team for the 2021-2022 seasons. However, the school athletic department announced a ‘Hockey Is The Goal’ fundraising campaign on August 18 to help reinstate the women’s and men’s programs. An amount to get to was never announced.

Muddying the waters a bit is a story on TribLive about a lawyer representing a few RMU hockey players, who has alleged, “…a university official ordered an athletic department employee to “get rid of” text messages and emails about the school’s decision to eliminate the men’s and women’s ice hockey programs.” You can find that story HERE.

Upper Midwest HS Elite League Schedule… The Girls Minnesota High School Elite League gets back into action for the Fall of 2021 September 7th. You can find the entire league schedule HERE. The schedule spans 7 weeks this year culminating the the Girls NIT Tournament October 22-24, 2021.

Ontario U18 Camp… Women’s minor hockey in Ontario is looking more normal as the weeks go by. One sure sign is the OWHA announcing its annual U18 High Performance Invitational Camp September 3-5 in Allston, ON at the Nottawsaga Resort. Eighty players born 2004 and 2005 will be invited. This event in preparation for the Female U18 Canadian National Championships Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, 2021 in Dawson, Creek, BC. Ontario will have 2 team entries – Red and Blue.

World Championship Update… Today the US meets Finland at 3pm EST and Canada meets the Swiss at 7pm EST. Winners of today’s semi-final matchups face one another for the World Championship tomorrow, Aug. 31 at 7:30 EST. The US’s lone loss in the tournament so far was to Canada 5-1 in the prelim round. Canada remains undefeated. Placement games for all other countries have been taking place, Russia takes on Japan tomorrow at 12:00pm EST in the final placement game.

Until Next Time…


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.

Post #1 – August 23 – Mailbag Monday & Last Week’s Pipeline Post #49


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: womenscollegehockey@gmail.com

Recruiting Events/League Online Directory… Find all the high value recruiting events we’re are aware of HERE. Want to add your event? Click HERE to fill out our WCH.org event form.


In This Post…

  • Mailbag Monday|
  • Last Week’s Pipeline Post #49|

Mailbag Monday #1

Today’s Mailbag Monday question is:

1. How important is it to attend college/university specific camps/clinics if you are interested in a particular school? 2. If you are not set on a particular school is it better to attend showcases or school specific camps?

Russ from Greensboro, NC

Great question Russ. Your question would have been timed perfectly had we started Mailbag Monday’s earlier in the Spring when summer recruiting got underway with camps/clinics, showcases, and exposure events. But nonetheless…

Question #1 – How important is it to attend college/university specific camps/clinics if you are interested in a particular school?

The short answer is – VERY IMPORTANT. Attending a college camp or clinic program could be the single most important college decision making exercise a recruit goes through to help them make-up their mind and pick a school – OR NOT!

Here’s why.

  1. Attending a college’s camp or clinic automatically communicates to the coaching staff you have at least some interest in their program. Coaches LOVE when they know recruits have interest in their program and attending a college camp/clinic is a great way to show it. It’s always a good idea to send an email or call the coaching staff to remind them you have interest in the school and their hockey program. You’ll potentially stick out a little bit extra and perhaps the coaching staff will pay a little more attention to you during camp.
  2. You actually get to be coached by the coaches! One of the hardest things for recruits to do in the recruiting process is evaluate their potential future coaches… as coaches. You can have all the emails, phone calls, texts, etc., it’s still extremely hard to determine if these people are the type of coaches you would enjoy playing for. What better way to evaluate your potential college coaches than to have them coach you at a camp? You’ll get to see how they communicate with you, other campers, as well as the other camp/clinic staff members. May you don’t want someone who is a bit of a ‘yeller & screamer’ or a coach who is too laid back. Going to a camp can also tell you a bit about their hockey knowledge and how they teach the game. Attending a camp is a great way to judge how you might be treated as a part of their program.
  3. You put yourself on campus and in the physical environment. Pictures look great on the internet, but there is nothing like putting yourself in the exact physical environment of the school. A lot of college hockey camps take place right on their own campuses. Getting a chance to see what campus not only looks like but feels like could be crucial in making your college decision. Tough to do that from the internet.

Question #2 – If you are not set on a particular school is it better to attend showcases or school specific camps?

Great question Russ… there are a number of qualified answers we could give that might be acceptable. With out knowing your particular end-game in attending both, we’ll answer it this way.

If you are looking to become a better hockey player and improve your overall game, go to a camp that provides a structured hockey development experience you feel will help you improve as a player.

If you’re more interested in trying to catch the eye of a college coach with the hope of getting recruited, an exposure type showcase event is probably the right call.

Can you accomplish both development and exposure? Yes, you can, but most likely only at camps. Showcases are great for playing in front of many college coaches and showcasing your skills. They are not great on the hockey development end of things. There really isn’t a lot of teaching going on at a showcase. Camps can provide both hockey development and exposure (to a limit) at the same time. Only camps where many college coaches are part of the camp staff do you know what kid of exposure your getting. Don’t assume all college hockey camps are going to have 10-12+ other college coaches working at it.

Thanks for your questions Russ! Be sure to tune in next Monday for another addition of Mailbag Monday. Remember you can submit your questions HERE or email them to us at womenscollegehockey@gmail.com


Last week’s Post #49

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.

Sifters

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, IIHF.com 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 WCH.org’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 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.

Post #48– 8/12/21 – Visits and Communication, Mailbag Monday, Stick Taps, Sifters

In This Post…

  • Recruiting Visits and Communication|
  • Mailbag Monday|
  • Stick Taps|
  • 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: womenscollegehockey@gmail.com 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 WCH.org recruiting event form.


Recruiting Visits & Communication

It’s that time of year. Mid August is just about here and the desire for recruits to take unofficial and official visits grow with each passing day. Although the NCAA clearly defines what Unofficial visits are and what is allowed to occur, we would argue there are actually different types of unofficial visits. Every coaching staff has their own philosophy on how to structure and schedule their unofficial visits. But with literally hundreds of players asking coaches to take a visit, they all can’t be the same. We identify a few of those ‘different’ types of visits below as well as give a few tips on how to approach your communication with coaches on the visit subject.

Different types of ‘Unofficial’ Visits… You won’t find these defined in the NCAA manual, rather these visit types are actually based on the priority coaches have for the player who wants to visit and the amount of time available as well as which coaches will be around campus. 1) There are Unofficial visits that seem more like Official visits, 2) There are Unofficial visits with some or very little to no facetime with members of the coaching staff, and 3) There are visits where you won’t spend any time with the coaching staff at all–you are basically on your own.

We’ll call #1 ‘The Proper Visit’. This is the type of visit where you are invited to campus (the invite is key!) by the coaching staff and what occurs is more akin to what takes place on an ‘Official’ visit. That is to say recruits get a top notch experience with lots of facetime with the coaching staff, strength coach, perhaps athletic trainer, and even current players, other coaches in the department, academic or financial aid personnel. A tour of campus and athletic/team facilities led by one or even all coaches on staff, may be a driving tour of the area around campus. Of course–facetime with the coaching staff for a good discussion on how the recruit fits into the programs’ recruiting plans is the main event. Possibly even an overnight stay might be part of the visit plan depending on time if year. Bottom line, the coaching staff wants you there and they set everything up for you-usually.

Unofficial visit type #2, we’ll call this the ‘Soft Visit’. This is the type of visit where there is probably some facetime with a member (or entire) coaching staff, but not a ton. Or may be the coaching staff directs you to the admissions office for your campus tour and to set up academic meetings. An invite from the coaching staff could or could not happen, but the classic situation here–is when there is no initial invite from the program but rather the recruit basically invites herself to visit. One of the coaches may respond with – yea, sure – we can make that work. There is usually a discussion had at some point where questions can be asked/answered and potentially some direction from the staff on where they see the recruit fitting into their plans. But there are legit reasons why visits get set-up this way… 1) the recruit may only have a particular day to visit that conflicts with the coaches’ schedule. 2) The coaching staff may know absolutely nothing about the recruit and this is how they handle visits of this nature. 3) The player may simply just not be a high priority–and coaches do have to prioritize who they want to spend their time with. It can’t be everyone who wants a visit – that could be a full-time job in itself.

Visit type #3 is the ‘Self Directed’ visit… This type of visit happens when either a recruit has contacted the hockey program to see if visiting is possible but hasn’t gotten a reply back… or just wants to visit the school on her own and does not contact the hockey program she is doing so. In both cases – the recruit winds sets up all the appropriate appointments herself–tour of campus, academic meeting, may be financial aid, even potentially with the coaching staff. The coaching staff basically has no involvement, and unless the recruit communicates to the staff she would like to set up a time to chat about the hockey program, it’s doubtful the staff will even know you’re on campus. Sometimes the admissions office alerts coaches if a recruit indicates an interest in playing a sport (usually asked by admissions to the recruit). But as the name indicates, this type of visit is all directed by you.

Communication with Coaches About Visits… There are generally some Do’s and some Don’ts when communicating with coaches about visits to their school. Here are some tips that can help you in the process. And in doing so, you’ll learn some pretty important information which should help you in your process. You potentially are going to know exactly where you fall on that school’s priority list.

Do’s…

  • Use Email First… It’s a great respectable option to open up the lines of communication with coaches about your desire to visit the school–especially if you’ve never communicated with anyone on staff before. If you don’t have a prior relationship, email is best instead a text or a phone call. Be sure to add a bit about your hockey and academic background, like what position you play, what team you play for, what year you are graduating, your GPA, perhaps intended academic area of interest, as well as your contact info and preferred method of communication desired.
  • Communicate You Want to Visit Campus… Let the staff know you want to visit their school by asking if you can take an unofficial visit. Be sure to include what you might want to accomplish on the visit, like a tour of campus, athletic/hockey facilities, meet with the coaching staff and or a current player, admissions and or financial aid office etc. Asking does 2 things – one, it gives coaches a chance to see you are organized and two – it gives the staff a chance to respond and set something up with you.
  • Be Prompt If You Get A Response Back… If you get a reply back about your request to visit, be prompt in getting back to the coach who communicated with you and include any information the coach was asking for.
  • Be On-Time and Look Nice… You’ve got your visit date all set and a time to meet the staff… DON’T BE LATE! Things happen, so if your arrival time needs to adjust because of traffic, wrong turn, something unforeseen etc. be sure to communicate with someone on staff so they can be aware. Dress for the occasion… you are meeting for the first time people who could potentially change the trajectory of your life. Appearances matter, so dress like the visit is important to you. It’s not a formal event of course, but don’t show up looking like you just came from the gym either.

Don’ts

  • Leave Spelling/Grammar Mistakes… Make sure you proofread your emails and any written communication back to coaches. Eliminate spelling/punctuation mistakes, and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… make sure you address the email to the correct coaches at that particular school! You have no idea how many emails coaches get with the wrong names of coaches or the school.
  • Expect Coaches to Meet With You Because You Show Up On Campus… Often times recruits will just stop by campus, find there way to the hockey office, poke their head in and ask to meet and get shown around. Unless you’re a future olympian, this is generally not a good idea. Just because you took the time to visit campus on your own doesn’t entitle you to a sit down with the staff. Especially during the season, the days for coaches are jam packed and the schedule is tight. If you are coming to visit campus, send them a note and wait for a reply.
  • Ask for an official visit… Official visits are paid for by the school, so the staff decides who they will offer an Official visit to. Asking for one is a bit presumptive, especially if you’ve never communicated with a particular coaching staff before. Best to let the staff invite you on one rather than you ask for one.

Mailbag Monday

Mailbag Monday… There’s a new Women’s College Hockey Pipeline blog post coming on Monday’s where we’ll be answering your questions about women’s NCAA college hockey. Ever had a question about women’s college hockey but just never had the opportunity? May be a question about the recruiting process or how coaches plan practices? Now you can get your questions answered in our new ‘Mailbag Monday’ question and answer series. Each Monday we’ll select a few questions to answer submitted by our loyal readers. It’s easy, just click HERE to submit your questions by Friday and we’ll answer them the following Monday. So get those questions ready and ask away – Start HERE!

Stick Taps Go To…

With August now upon us, we will begin announcing our Monthly ‘Stick Taps’ winners during the first post of each month. Anyone connected to the game of women’s NCAA college hockey and who is doing ‘good work’, can be nominated. Who can nominate someone–YOU CAN–our loyal readers! There are lots of people in this game who deserve recognition of their work. All you need to do is fill out our ‘Stick Taps’ online nomination form HERE.

So, without further ado, the July Women’s College Hockey.org inaugural ‘Stick Taps’ go to: Joel Johnson for being named Head Coach of the 2022 US Women’s Olympic Hockey Team and Brian Idalski for being named Head Coach of the 2022 Chinese Women’s Olympic Hockey Team.

Joel Johnson, just named to his first Division I head coaching position in July taking over the University of St. Thomas program of the WCHA, is no stranger to USA Hockey. He served as Head Coach of the US Under-18 Team from 2015 to 2018 winning 4 Gold Medals. Also in 2018, Johnson led the US Under-22 Team to a 3-game series victory vs. Canada. In addition he helped guide the US Senior National Team as an Assistant Coach to a 4-Nations Cup victory. In 2019 he also helped lead Team USA to an IIHF World Championship. Johnson was just recently named Head Women’s Hockey Coach at the University of St. Thomas. Prior to that, Johnson spent the better part of his coaching career as the Associate Head Coach of the Minnesota Gophers Women’s program where he helped guide them to 6 NCAA National Titles.

Brian Idalski was the former Head Women’s Hockey coach at the University of North Dakota from 2007-2017 before the program was abruptly shut-down. Idalski, a U.S. citizen has never coached in an IIHF sanctioned event for USA Hockey, is no stranger to success behind the bench as a head coach. Idalski started his head coaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he won 108 games during his five years there ending with two trips to the NCAA’s and a 3rd place finish in his final year. After 2 years as an asst. coach at St. Cloud University, Idalski took over as Head Coach of a University of North Dakota team that went winless the season prior to his arrival. During Idalski’s ten years at UND, he put the program on the national map as it became a nationally recognized and ranked. While at UND, he coached the fighting Hawks to 5 straight 20-win seasons, amassed an overall record of 169-156-39 which included 2 NCAA appearances in 2014 and 2015. The 2014 NCAA appearance included an EPIC triple OT loss in the 2014 NCAA quarter-final to Minnesota who went on to an undefeated season.

Congrats to Joel and Brian on their well deserved career achievements. Perhaps we’ll see these two outstanding coaches go head to head in Beijing?

Sifters

Idalski Heads Up Team China in 2022 Olympic Games… As mentioned above, former North Dakota Head Coach and current Vaneke Rays bench boss Brian Idalski has been named 2022 Women’s Olympic Head Coach for Team China. The move was announced by the Chinese State Administration of Sports in late July.

Here is a great piece by Grand Forks Herald reporter Brad Elliott Schlossman about Idalski’s rise to become China’s choice in Beijing–just click HERE.

IIHF Worlds Update… The IIHF World Championships are set to take place in Calgary in little less than 2 weeks after having been postponed back in May due to COVID concerns. The US is looking to defend its 2019 World Championship title, and 6th since 2012. The official IIHF Worlds event website can be found HERE. All Team USA games will be broadcast on The NHL Network – you can find that schedule below.

Team USA is coached by Joel Johnson, Head Coach at the Univ. of St. Thomas and assisted by Courtney Kennedy, Associate Head Coach at Boston College, and Brian Pothier. Pothier may be a bit unknown in the women’s coaching world but he does have a vast playing experience at the NHL/AHL level and has worked with Team USA Women’s teams in the past. You can find a link to his bio HERE.

Several NCAA players with eligibility remaining will play in this tournament for various countries. Rosters have not been named for each country except for Canada and Team USA. Here’s a look at who from Team USA Team Canada still have NCAA eligibility left. Once additional rosters are names, this list will be updated.

FirstLastPositionCountryLast TeamNCAA Years left
CaylaBarnesDTeam USABoston College2
NatalieBuchbinderDTeam USAWisconsin1
CarolineHarveyDTeam USANAHA White U194
JesseCompherFTeam USABoston University1
BritaCurlFTeam USAWisconsin2
LaceyEdenFTeam USAWisconsin4
AbbeyMurphyFTeam USAMinnesota4
GraceZumwinkleFTeam USAMinnesota1
SarahFillierFTeam CanadaPrinceton2
AshtonBellDTeam CanadaUniv. MN-Duluth1
EmmaMaltaisFTeam CanadaOhio State University1

Coaching Changes… Long time D-III coach Jackie MacMillan has decided to step down from her post as head coach at The College of St. Scholastica to pursue other opportunities. Assistant Coach Julianne Vasichek will take over and become the 2nd Head Coach in program history. You can read more on Jackie’s departure HERE.

Former Brown assistant coach Melissa Kraus (Paluch) has been named Associate Head Coach at Trine University. Head Coach Tom Hoffman made the announcement August 10. Kraus is returning back to the midwest as she was a star player at Lake Forest College and coached there for two seasons before heading off to Brown for the 19-20 season. You can read more on Kraus’ hire HERE.

Stonehill Hires Myers… Tara Watchorn has announced the hiring of assistant coach Megan Myers. Myers had spent the previous five season as an Assistant Coach at D-III Becker College. You can read more about Megan’s hiring below.

Conference Schedules Released… Hockey East and the NEWHA have finally revealed their season schedules. In Hockey East, the season begins September 24th with 3 games as LIU visits UCONN, Minnesota State travels to Merrimack, and Maine heads to Hamden, CT to take on Quinnipiac. You can view the composite Hockey East season schedule HERE. The NEWHA – New England Women’s Hockey Alliance has their composite schedule which you can find HERE. In addition to LIU @ UCONN the Sept 24-26 weekend, Sacred Heart hits the road and travels to the North Country to take on Clarkson.

Olympic Medal Payouts… Speaking of the Olympics, did you know many countries pay their medal winning athletes? In some countries – it’s a hefty payout. Here a list of the top paying countries and what they pay.

NCAA D-I Women’s & Men’s Conferences Tackle Social Justice Issues… Lastly, this story appeared on NCAA.org about NCAA D-I Women’s and Men’s hockey conferences joining together to make playing NCAA Hockey more Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive. The story features UNH Goaltender Nikki Harnet. You can read her story and how NCAA conferences are trying to help HERE.

Until Next Time…


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.