Eight-team bracket for 2018 NCAA women’s ice hockey championship unveiled
The National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Committee announced today the field of eight teams which will compete for the 18th National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. Quarterfinal competition will be conducted on the campuses of the participating institutions, while the 2018 Women’s Frozen Four will be hosted by the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, March 16 and 18, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Eight teams are selected for the championship. Of the eight teams, the top four teams are seeded.
Four conferences were awarded automatic bids for the 2018 tournament. The remaining four teams were selected at-large. The automatic qualifying conferences and their representatives are College Hockey America, Mercyhurst University; ECAC Hockey, Clarkson University; Hockey East Association, Northeastern University; and Western Collegiate Hockey Association, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Boston College, Colgate University, The Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were selected as at-large teams.
The quarterfinals will be played Saturday, March 10 with two teams competing at each of the four quarterfinal sites. The winning team from each quarterfinal will advance to the 2018 Women’s Frozen Four.
Clarkson enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed and will host Mercyhurst. Wisconsin, the No. 2 seed, will host Minnesota. Colgate enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, and will host Northeastern. Boston College, the No. 4 seed, will host Ohio State. All game times will be updated and posted on NCAA.com.
The semifinal games will be broadcast LIVE on the Big Ten Network at 5 and 8 p.m. Eastern time, Friday, March 16. The national championship game will take place at 3 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, March 18 and will also be broadcast LIVE on the Big Ten Network.
Olympic Women’s Hockey Gold Medal Game: USA vs. Canada
The United States will play Canada in the gold medal match on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The U.S. and Canada have played each other in four of the five Olympic gold medal games.
The Americans won in 1998 but Canada is riding a streak of four consecutive gold medals since that loss. Canada beat the United States 2–1 last week with goalkeeper Genevieve Lacasse making 44 saves in the victory. The United States advanced to the gold medal game by defeating Finland 5–0 in the semifinal. Canada beat the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5–0 in the semifinal on Monday morning.
HERE’S HOW TO WATCH THE GOLD MEDAL GAME:
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 21
Time: 11:10 p.m. ET
Where: Gangneung Hockey Center
Live stream: The game can be watched online at NBCOlympics.com
The U.S. women’s hockey team hasn’t won gold since 1998; will the spell be broken in Pyeongchang?
It could have been a disaster.
Hurricane Irma was on a path toward the Tampa, Florida, area on Sept. 9, and authorities were bracing for a direct hit. As it happened, the best women’s hockey players in the United States had just begun training in Wesley Chapel, a few miles north of Tampa International Airport.
Even though the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning had decided to evacuate its players, Team USA decided to shelter in place at the Saddlebrook Resort, where they were staying. One agent who was worried about his clients told USA Today, “Why isn’t the women’s team evacuated? Is it because they are just girls … to me this is stupid, they are our Olympic team.”
But Reagan Carey, the general manager for the team, had thought it through, even going so far as to find out the number and the strength of the steel trusses in the shelter area at the Saddlebrook Resort. So on Sunday morning, Sept. 10, the team members abandoned their apartments for the shelter, joining other evacuees to wait out the storm, which lost steam from its original designation as a Category 4. Still, 80 mph winds howled outside the building as Irma passed over. The women played cards, visited with Hilary Knight’s bulldog puppy, Winston, in a separate pet area, and made hockey fans out of their fellow refugees. Captain Meghan Duggan later called it “a big sleepover,” and by the next morning, they were able to return to their quarters and their lives.
“We were kind of scared,” said Kacey Bellamy, the veteran defenseman and one of six players who are in Pyeongchang for their third straight Olympics. “But the negative turned into a positive. It was a great bonding experience for us, the kind of thing that brings a team closer together. Plus, I learned how to play [the card game] euchre.”
By Tuesday, they were back to practicing and helping out in the community. Irma faded into a metaphor for a team that has had to weather a lot of storms over the years.
There was the crushing loss to Canada in the gold-medal game in Vancouver eight years ago. And the devastating 3-2 overtime loss in Sochi in 2014 that gave Canada its fourth straight gold medal. And the battle with USA Hockey last spring, when the women threatened to boycott the 2017 IIHF world championships if they weren’t given living expenses, travel accommodations and medal bonuses befitting representatives of the United States of America.
Not only did they win that battle, but they also went to Plymouth, Michigan, for the world championships and beat Canada 3-2 in overtime in the final — earning the team’s fourth consecutive title. “We’ve been through a lot together,” said Bellamy, now an assistant captain on the team. “I think that’s made us stronger.”
Resilience is part and parcel of hockey, but for female players — who often start out playing with the boys, who give up the comfort of home, who fight off waves of challengers and adjust to a succession of coaches all to pursue their Olympic dreams — well, you just bounce off the boards.
You might even write a poem about the sport you love.
Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announces five finalists for 2018
Latest In Hockey – The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announced the five finalists for the 2018 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service.
Camil Blanchet (Swanzey, N.H.) Senior, Forward, Bowdoin College
In addition to being a forward on the ice for the Polar Bears over the last four years, Camil Blanchet has been an exemplary member of the Bowdoin community. The McKeen Common Good Center representative to the Bowdoin Student Government, he is responsible for all communications with the student body. He has taken the initiative on numerous service efforts including the hockey team’s recent Cerebral Palsy Fundraiser Game, a fundraiser in conjunction with the football team for the American Cancer Society, and arranging 24 volunteers to assist with the “Race the Runway” half-marathon, a local road race that benefits numerous organizations, including Veterans No Boundaries and Coastal Humane Society.
Blanchet has also been a point person for the “Breaking the Bubble” initiative on campus, where he recruited 25 student-athletes to participate in community service leadership training. A graduate of Deerfield Academy, Blanchet is an Academic All-NESCAC honoree majoring in Neuroscience.
Courtney Pensavalle (Winchester, Mass.) Senior, Forward, Yale University
Pensavalle exemplifies what it means to be a student-athlete, active as a Division I varsity athlete and involved in a variety of ways around campus. The Yale senior hockey forward is a member of the acapella singing group composed of Yale student-athletes, the Unorthojocks. Pensavalle also currently serves as the lead drive coordinator for the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Registration Drive, partnered with Be the Match. She manages and executes the yearly spring drive in honor of former Yale teammate Mandi Schwartz.
She is dedicated to helping grow support for the annual White Out For Mandi game, as well as Be the Match and the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. The drive has led to over 30 lives saved and over 6,400 unique people being added to the bone marrow registry. The sociology major has also excelled in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA and multiple ECAC Hockey All-Academic selections.
Sidney Peters (Geneva, Ill.), Redshirt Senior, Goaltender, University of Minnesota
Sidney Peters’ contributions on the ice, in the classroom, and in the community at the University of Minnesota over the past five seasons are immeasurable. A left-handed goaltender majoring in kinesiology, Peters also is a certified Emergency Medical Technician. She has logged over 785 volunteer hours with various community outreach activities during her Gophers career, including a self-described life-changing trip to Haiti with Project Medishare where she spent eight days volunteering at Haiti’s only critical care and trauma hospital.
Her volunteer efforts also include serving as the head goalie coach for Hockey Ministries International in Chicago for two years, combining her love of the sport with her faith. Wise beyond her years, Peters brings a grounded perspective to the Gophers’ locker room and is the first to say that, while she loves the sport, there is more to life than hockey. Her teammates describe her as compassionate, dedicated, and thoughtful. Peters plans to attend medical school for fall 2018 with hopes to go into the military and eventually work for the Air Force.
Luke Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), Junior, Forward, SUNY Fredonia
Rivera came to Fredonia on a mission. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., native has seen his mother, Dana, battle back from a stroke that had left her paralyzed from head to toe. He had seen her undergo surgeries and rehab and get better and make speaking appearances to motivate other stroke survivors. Inspired by his mom, Luke approached Head Coach Jeff Meredith and asked to start a Stroke Awareness Game the following season. Camouflage red jerseys were ordered, a date was picked, and donations were solicited. The first event raised nearly $10,000, the second another $10,000 for The Foundation of Kaleida Health.
Even though Luke missed the entire 2017-18 season with an injury, he remained part of the team and its community engagement. Said Coach Meredith: “Luke’s work in the Stroke Awareness Game is testament to who he is as a young man and the level of care he has. Since his arrival in Fredonia he has wanted to make a difference in our community, and he truly has.”
Lauren Spring (Kelowna, British Columbia) Senior, Forward, The Ohio State University
Spring has spent four years being a leader both on and off the ice for the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team. She’s played in every game the team has had since first putting on the Scarlet and Gray in 2014, and is on pace to reach the top 10 in games played by a Buckeye in program history. In addition to playing in every game, she was named a co-captain of the team prior to the 2017-18 season.
Her leadership, however, extends beyond the ice. She made a “Soles for Souls” trip to Ecuador with other OSU student-athletes in May to distribute shoes to those in need. She’s also helped organize the team for Meals on Wheels events, and many other service opportunities. Lauren lives her life in a selfless manner, always working toward the best thing for the team and community around her.
Danny Divis and Justin McKenzie from Saint Michael’s College were named the 2017 recipients of the Hockey Humanitarian Award.
The 23rd recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award will be announced Friday, April 6th as part of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. Additionally, the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation will make a donation to the charity most important to each of the five finalists. These donations are made possible with the generous support of the award’s partners and donors.
“In the end, it’s not how many times you touch the puck, but how often you touch a life.”
Hockey runs in Hughes’ family bloodline
Latest In Hockey – Among the last Wolverines off the ice, Quinn Hughes, the Michigan defenseman, pulled off his helmet, sat on a bench in his practice gear and talked about being the son of hockey players.
“They definitely knew what they were doing,” said Hughes, an 18-year-old freshman ranked among the top half-dozen players eligible for the NHL draft. “My parents have kind of guided us.”
Hughes’ 16-year-old brother, Jack, plays junior hockey in the United States National Team Development Program in Plymouth. A forward, Jack also is a top NHL prospect, with his offensive creativity splashed on YouTube.
The youngest of the hockey playing Hughes, Luke, 14, is a defenseman for Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club. Scouting agencies have begun to list him.
“My dad says he’s advanced beyond me at some things when I was that age,” Quinn said of his youngest brother.
“Dad” is Jim Hughes, a former defenseman for Providence College and an assistant coach in the NHL for the Boston Bruins. Mom is Ellen Hughes, who played for New Hampshire when not also winning letters in lacrosse and soccer.
Her name then was Ellen Weinberg.
The Hughes all moved last year from the Toronto area to Michigan because of the opportunities in hockey for all three brothers.
“Growing up, everything was hockey,” Jack said before a two-hour practice on Thursday. “We’d be with friends on the outdoor rinks and then we’d go home and play mini-sticks until we went to bed.
“I mean, we all love the game, the three of us,” he said. “It played such a big role in our lives, and we’ve had so many great opportunities through the game.”
Of his parents’ purpose and focus, Jack said, “They would have been fine with us if we didn’t play. They don’t push anything on us.
“We’ve always had the drive and the love for the game.”
Nonetheless, encouragement and instruction are always present. Even an uncle, Marty Hughes, played for Boston College.
“My dad would bring home clips, and we’d watch a lot of NHL hockey together, the four of us,” Quinn said.
As he coached in Orlando, Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire, Jim Hughes said, his sons “grew up in a hockey environment.”
With a three-sport athlete as a mother, the father said, “We didn’t know what sport it would be, but I guess we thought our kids would be in athletics, some sort of competitive sports. And my wife got them involved in skating when they were very young. That’s what we did. We were a hockey family.