Cetacean Nation has reached the sixth month of its existence on social media, and has recently added a Facebook page called Cetacean Nation Hockey. All of our player interviews are posted on that site as well. We have had the pleasure of presenting the thoughts and stories of 30 members of the Pod to date, and their input has made Cetacean Nation what it is. We have now existed through our first offseason and preseason, and into our first regular season. The number of Cetacean Nation fans who follow the Whale on our Twitter page has steadily grown and the UV’s on our website have topped 14,000. The goal of Cetacean Nation has simply been to try and help spread the word about our Whale and help grow the fan base. Your responses and support have indicated we are succeeding, and we look forward to that grassroots growth to continue moving forward.
We are confident not just in the growth of the fanbase of our Whale, but of the NWHL itself. Earlier this month Commissioner Dani Rylan publicly stated what all women’s hockey fans had been hoping for: that we are heading towards a merger of some type between the NWHL and the CWHL. “One league is inevitable,” Rylan wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “We will get this done, It’s on us, and we embrace the challenge,” The other “us” in this would be Jayna Hefford the Commissioner of the CWHL, who has made similar unification statements. Of course a big factor would be a more formal partnership with the NHL, which their Commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated would not occur until the two leagues had become one. Stay tuned, Cetacean Nation thinks that we will hear a lot about this next off season.
Even though our Whale’s efforts have not resulted in a win over the first three games, that effort has been gritty and promising. We saw how our chemistry is really developing up in Boston, and a couple of goals resulted. The Pod have revealed flashes of some great play throughout these first three games, and the continued meshing of the component parts of the Pod can be expected. Due to the singular nature of our schedule this season, with off weeks due to a numerically odd number of teams, and a hiatus during the Four Nations Tournament, we are not slated to play again for nearly a month. That should allow more of the pieces to fit together in time for the first of three straight games against the Riveters.
Watching the Whale play over these past few weeks, Cetacean Nation recalled this old poem. With just the changing of a few pronouns, “The Great Competitor”, by sports journalism pioneer Grantland Rice, accurately describes the players in the NWHL, especially our Whale.
“Beyond the winning and the goal,
Beyond the glory and the fame,
She feels a flame within her soul,
Born of the spirit of the game.
And where the barriers may wait,
Built by the opposing gods,
She finds a thrill in bucking fate
And riding down the endless odds.
Where others wither in the fire,
Or fall below some raw mishap,
Where others lag behind and tire,
Or break beneath the handicap,
She finds a new and deeper thrill
To take her on the uphill spin,
Because the test is greater still
And something she can revel in.”
Cetacean Nation can attest that spirit exists in each of the Whale we’ve come to know, both in their play on the ice and in their off-ice careers and activities. It is the best reason that the Whale fanbase, the NWHL, and women’s hockey will continue it’s organic growth. We are getting amazing hockey from amazing women, who would be role models even if they never laced up a pair of skates. Looking forward to watching and cheering on our Pod, as Cetacean Nation begins the second half of our inaugural season. Fins Up!
UPDATE 11/2/18: After playing one game for the Whale vs Boston under a PTO agreement, #37 blueliner Taylor Marchin has signed a contract with the Whale for the rest of the season. Fins Up to this news, Taylor played great in her first game with the Pod, and we look forward to having her on the ice with us the balance of the season.