WHALE’S TALE’S 12/15/18: IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON

With our upcoming home game at the end of the month against the Boston Pride, our Whale will have reached the midway point of the season. It has been a really exciting season to date, and we are poised for a great second half. We are sending a remarkable contingent of the United Nations of Whale to the All-Star game in Nashville in February. Five Whale from five different nations, turning the town into Splashville. We will also get our first look at.the MInnesota Whitecaps both at Terry Connors Rink for one game and at Tria Rink out in Minneapolis for two back to back games in a single weekend. The second half of the season has us at home for five games at TCR. The upcoming game is only the second in Connecticut in the first half, since the neutral site game against the Rivs was designated as a home game for us. And every upcoming game will be impactful to the standings, as the Whale will be seeking to earn the best playoff ranking possible. And to host a home playoff game for the first time since March 6, 2016.

 

That is some great hockey to look forward to and dream about during the holiday season! And looking at the league as a whole, this winter the NWHL will pass the 150 game mark, something every player, coach , staff, administrator or fan, in fact anyone in our sport, should be proud of and excited about. All of the above are integral parts of the success we’ve enjoyed and will enjoy in the future, and Fins Up to all! But there are two other key elements we have to be thankful for this holiday season. One is the amazing, and visionary array of sponsors and partners who have joined in to give financial support to professional women’s hockey by their affiliations with the NWHL. Whether it is endorsement or sponsorship opportunities for players, partnerships with NHL teams, or investors like the Pegula’s in Buffalo, they are on this journey with us. And to paraphrase our #31 Keira Goin, “Say it louder for the people in the back! Support those who support us”. Cetacean Nation believes in that mantra, and so does this entire league. When you have the choice, join our teams, and support the good people who help make this possible. We will need more individuals and organizations like these as the NWHL grows and strengthens, just like a developing child needs more from the world and begins to formal education, not just in the cognitive sense, but in the affective and psycho-motor aspects as well.

 

Which brings us to the other key element of the NWHL experience, our little Future Draft Picks. The players have all told us, these kids are a big part of “why we do what we do”. Little girls in the third grade have had the NWHL exist for them since they entered Kindergarten. As their love of sports develops, they have increasingly visible female role models to look up to, to emulate, to aspire to be like: in their sport of hockey. Like our players say, “You have to see it to be it”, and now with the reckoning that has begun with the NWHL, “it” is in plain site. They will still love the Crosby’s and Ovetckin’s etc. and the NHL. But they will also love the NWHL and most importantly, want to play there. Many of them are already playing in their driveways or street ends with their favorite Whale’s player’s shirsey on. If they’re not, keep that idea in mind for the little Future Draft Picks in your life. It is the holiday season after all and what more meaningful gift than some Whale gear and a special trip to the next game? The connection the NWHL players have with the liitle Future Draft Picks is heart warming, inspiring and crucial to the development of generations of women hockey players to come. If you are not already convinced of this, take a look at the faces of both the players and the little FDP’s skating around just before a game, or at the autograph tables after each NWHL game. Worth the price of admission alone. Think about where the women who will be the current Draft Picks this week, were when they were that age. They could reach for the stars, but didn’t have a NWHL full of them to aim for. Now there is and now they do. Fins Up to each and every one of them, our Past, Present, & Future draft picks, both little and grown.

WHALE’S TALES 11/27/18: COME TOGETHER

Our Whale have come in hot after the break and made a statement in great back to back games against the Riveters. Picking up three out of four points in your opponents barn, is a great way to send the season in a new direction. The Pod is playing the most exciting brand of hockey in the league right now! It’s one more once with the Rivs in the home neutral site game, and then back up to Buffalo to face off against the suddenly 3-3 Beauts. After that, the next game, and only our second game at Terry Conners Rink this year, is against Boston and is still a month away. That marks the midpoint of the season, and in this stretch, the Pod have the opportunity to build on their momentum and send a message to the league. There is the potential to finish the year with at least one win against every team we’ve played so far. (We’ll deal with the Whitecaps in January, three games in two weekends.) Everyone gets a postseason berth, nobody will want that to be against the Pod, playing the way we are. A lot of energy and two way play and constantly attacking. Part of it is simply the time it takes for things to mesh, and the chemistry that has developed on this team does not happen overnight, even with some of the stars we have on the team.

 

Before last Sunday’s game with the Riveters, our friend Erica Ayala did a few of her great live interviews. One of them was with our #26 Jordan Brickner, who mentioned how great the practices had been, and how everyone was pushing each other as everyone was trying to earn their playing time. It has worked well as a coaching strategy, but it also illustrates another point. Each team’s roster is full of really great hockey players, each truly the best of the best throughout much of their career. The skill level in the NWHL is awesome, and what separates the players are thin lines, not wide gaps. Several of our players have alluded to this, and our #12 Jamie Goldsmith laid it out like this in her interview with us: “For the Whale, it is no secret and we understand that we are not perceived to have the depth as some other teams in the league do talent wise. But the old adage goes, talent doesn’t necessarily win games, especially at this level. The margin of talent at this level is so much closer together than any level I have played before. There is not a huge huge difference between the Olympians, and the players that just miss the cut for their respected national teams, and the players just below that. What the league has done is give women the opportunity to continue to develop beyond college. So that is why we are seeing players that had considerably average college careers, or players rising out of the Division III ranks, succeeding at the pro level. As a believer in development through hard work, the right priorities, and attitude, it is awesome to see. What I am getting at is team chemistry can make all the difference at this level.”

 

Jamie continued “We understand that concept in our locker room. So we are really striving to connect on another level beyond the rink, and as a group we are committed to building trusting relationships with each other. It is important to do that now when it is still early so that when things do get hard, we can lean on each other and trust that we are all pulling the same rope for the same purpose. I have been a part of what feels like a million teams, and I really get the sense that this team is doing just that. Hockey is a game of peaks and valleys. The quicker we can get out of the valleys the better team we will be. When things get hard we will be able to turn it around more quickly. I think we saw that in our first games against Buffalo. I am excited to see what this team does and get the feeling we are going to surprise some teams this season. You can’t count us out, but we love being the underdogs.” All we can add to that is Fins Up, and see you in Pittsburgh!

 

 

UPDATE 11/29: Tickets are now on sale for the NWHL All-Star Game and Skills competition in Nashville on February 10th at www1.ticketmaster.com. You can also cast your vote, for your favorite Whale we hope, to send two players to the All Star Game via your ballot. You can only vote once, but may vote for three players. Voting ends December December 3rd. Cast your vote here: nwhl.formstack.com. Fins Up, send some Whale to Smashville, and turn it into Splashville!

 

UPDATE 12/4: Your votes counted Cetacean Nation! Our Captain #11 Emily Fluke won the fan balloting and is going to be representing our Whale at the All-Star Game in Nashville. This is how Emily responded to the news “To everyone who voted: thank you so much! This is a huge honor.” Fins Up Emily, well deserved!

 

UPDATES 12/5: Four more of our Whale will be joining our Captain, #11 Emily Fluke at the All-Star Game! Selected by the ASG captains were our magician #92 Katerina Mrázová, our OW #6 Shannon Doyle, our maalivahti #18 Meeri Raisanen, and our Scandia Sister #67 Michelle Lowenhielm. Five Stars, Five Nations! Fins Up to the United Nation of Whale!

 

The Whale today added defender Colleen Murphy from Northeastern, who signed a PTO agreement. Colleen who played last season with the Buffalo Beauts, will be with the when they face the Beauts on Sunday. Fins up to Colleen!

WHALE’S TALES 11/15/18: ON THE ROAD AGAIN

The NWHL announced some great news the other day in regards to the All-Star game. The league is partnering with the Nashville Predators of the NHL, to host the weekend of hockey in “Smashville” on February 9th & 10th, 2019. It will include a double header format, as the Predators will play their regular season game against the St. Louis Blues late Sunday morning, with the NWHL stars taking the ice in the afternoon. The previous day our players will conduct a skills clinic for young girls in the Preds youth hockey program, and then perform in the awesome skills challenge as before. More info on the ASG here: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/968119. We will be posting updates as well on our Twitter page.

 

Some more buzz about the possible merger our NWHL with our sister league north of the border was generated around this year’s recent Hall of Fame Inductions. I would particularly refer you to our friend Erica Ayala’s insightful article on the subject here:https://victorypress.org/2018/11/10/gary-bettman-and-jayna-hefford-talk-oneleague-at-the-hall-of-fame/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter Cetacean Nation, as we have stated before, is certain that a merger will occur, and sooner rather than later. And, it will involve the NHL in some manner. It will not be without some contentious rhetoric and posturing, which is the norm for negotiations. And that is exactly what we are looking at here, a negotiation. And it will not all be behind closed doors, it will be done via the media, especially social media, which has become the new normal. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman works for the owners or ownership groups of the NHL franchises. While he and the league must surely have altruistic intentions in terms of the sport of hockey, their main concern is financial. Their mission is to make money. So, negotiations involving the NHL, NWHL & CWHL are going to be driven by the dollar and structured by accountants. So, expect to hear more of a “public devaluation” of the two women’s leagues by the NHL. It is simply a smart negotiating tactic. It is not personal, it is just business. The coming together of these forces will not be seamless and clean, only inevitable. The future is female, and that future is now.

 

Just a quick note about the schedule as well. After opening the season at home on October 8th, the Pod will not be back at Terry Connors Rink until December 30th vs the Boston Pride. So after nearly three months on the road or on hiatus, we return for three consecutive weeks of hockey in our house. In the meantime however, and starting this weekend, we have the opportunity to take some interesting road trips. The most exotic is to Pittsburgh, where we host the Riveters at a neutral site game. The Steel City hockey fans embrace the NWHL to such a degree that Pittsburgh high on anyone’s list as an upcoming NWHL expansion city. It’s a long drive for many of our more local fans, but Cetacean Nation is, well, nationwide after all. So expect green & blue Whale gear in the stands at LSC next month. And we are only a couple of days away from two consecutive weeks vs the Riveters down in Newark. Relatively short drive, great facility, but usually awash in red. The fans of Rivs Nation are a great group to watch a game with, though we hope to see a good number of Cetacean Nation in attendance, in “proper attire” and in the mood to get loud, of course. Fins Up to what’s coming up!

WHALE’S TALES 10/29/18: TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

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.

WHALE’S TALES 10/5/18: CLOSING TIME

Well, the offseason and the pre-season are over and Cetacean Nation waits in great anticipation for season four to commence this weekend. It will be the first opportunity to see the newest manifestation of our Whale back in regular season action. And also our first chance to welcome Kelly Babstock back home, this time skating for the opposing Buffalo Beauts. It will be the first step in the Pod’s preparations for welcoming Isobel to Connecticut next March. There have been many changes to our roster, the most recent being the addition of #18 Meeri Raisanen the Finnish Olympic goalie. So as it stands today, the Pod takes the ice with twelve rookies and eleven returning veterans.

 

And with this squad, the Whale have assembled a talented and interesting roster of players. Players whose skills and passions are displayed, in the Whale tradition, both on and off the ice. The women who have donned the Whale sweater in the past, and those who do so again this season, would be role models even if they never laced up a pair of skates. One never knows beyond a certainty what the future may hold, and players who have departed at one point or another could return just as well. Our #43 Huey Huertas, is taking the season off to deal with an injury, and is a prime example of this, perhaps a once and future Whale if you will. We will continue to tell all their stories as available. Because as all of Cetacean Nation knows, once a Whale, always a Whale. And, that could come sooner than later, as there is still room on the roster for two more players, with only the goaltender position being at capacity. But for now and until we learn differently, we offer a fond farewell and many thanks to this second group of players who have finned into different waters, both in and out of hockey.

 

We have commented on the retirement of our iconic Captain, #28 Sam Faber, and have been impressed beyond words by the outpouring of respect and affection from her teammates and others, including the fans that comprise Cetacean Nation. We would be remiss not to share her remarkable retirement letter, which you can read here: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/952665 Fins Up to our present Pod, and those who pioneered the Whale culture in seasons past, including those pictured here below. From top to bottom, left to right in both photos: Stephanie Mock, Paige Savage, Sophia Agostinelli, Huey Huertas, Sam Faber, Grace Klienbach, Emma Greco, Cassie Dunne, Laura Brennan & Keira Goin.

 

 

Update 10/7: Our #33 goalie Laura Brennan has been practicing with the Whale and will remain with the team in what will probably be a flexible role. She was working behind the bench as a coach today in the season opener.

 

Update 10/13: The Whale have added defender Erin Brand from Plattsburgh State University to the roster. She will be active for today’s game, wearing uniform #28

 

Update 10/14: Cetacean Nation now has a Facebook page! It is another place to check out our player stories and articles. Take a look at Cetacean Nation Hockey on Facebook.

 

Update 10/19: The Whate have used their second PTO to add defender Taylor Marchin from Yale & the CWHL to the roster for their game tomorrow vs the Pride. Taylor will don sweater number # 37.

 

Update 10/24: The NWHL announced the 2019 playoff format, which will involve all five teams in post season play. The 4th & 5th place reams will play a “wild card” type play in game to advance to the semi final round to play the 1st place team, while the 2nd & 3rd place finishers play the other semi final game. All rounds including the finals, will be single elimination.

WHALE’S TALES 9/15/18: HOMEWARD BOUND

As of this post, there is less than a month to go before the season begins, and the first practice for the Whale is scheduled for Tuesday. And next weekend the Pod take on the Buffalo Beauts in Clinton, New York in a preseason matchnat Hamilton College. The offseason has been a busy one for the Pod, and it is not over just yet! With last week’s signing of defender Kim Tiberi from Norwich University, the Whale now have eighteen players under contract for the upcoming season. Seven of our Whale are returning veterans, and we have eleven rookies so far. Currently the roster contains five defenders, eleven forwards and two goalies. We do not know yet what the final roster will look like (updates will be noted below), but we do know where our Whale are playing.


The Pod will return again this season to 2,000 plus capacity Terry Conners Ice Rink (www.tcrink.com) located in Cove Island Park in Stamford. The rink has served as the skating hub of the Stamford area since its inception forty-five years ago. Terry Connors Ice Rink is owned and operated by the City of Stamford, Connecticut. In addition to serving as the home ice of our Whale, the rink offers ice time  for recreational and scholastic hockey, figure skating, as well basic skills programs and public skating. There are refreshments available at the Number 9 Café run by Nick Santagata a former player for the Stamford Shark and Westhill Vikings. The Whale will have a slate of seven home games at TCR this regular season, with the first puck drop on October 7th vs the Buffalo Beauts. Cetacean Nation has had a strong presence on the road as well, particularly in Boston and Newark we may be slightly biased, but we think Whale road trips are the best trips! Fins Ip to reppin’ on the road as well as at TCR!

 

 

UPDATE 9/18: The Whale announced the signing of four returning veterans today, #12 Jamie Goldsmith, #14 Elena Orlando, #26 Jordan Brickner & #32 Sam Donovan. The Whale also announced that single game seats are now available.

 

Update 9/24: Our #28, Captain Sam Faber, announced her retirement from the Whale & the NWHL today. "I will do my best to continue to help this game grow as much as possible because that's what women in our sport deserve." Fins up Sam! Thanks and congratulations for an incredible career both on and off the ice. You will always be loved, you are already missed!

 

Update 10/1: The Whale announced the signing today of Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen. Meeri  joins with #69 Maria Sorokina and #70 Sam Wather to complete the Pod’s goaltending trio. 

WHALE’S TALES 8/29/18:

Lil’ Bit of Past, Present & Future

 

 

Cetacean Nation is now at the four month mark of it’s social media presence. We are grateful for the 6,300 plus UV’s who have stopped by to read a little more about our Whale on the website, and those who follow and/or interact with us on Twitter. And to date we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing over twenty of our players, present and past, with more content to come shortly during the this preseason. Exciting times for our Whale & the NWHL!

 

Cetacean Nation recently realized that collegiate women hockey players in the graduating class of 2019 are unique in history. They are the first members of any class year that have played their entire college career knowing that the NWHL was a reality, and their pro hockey career was a possibility. .We think it was Shakespeare, but it could have been Bauer or Cooper or Sher-Wood, who once wrote  “All the world’s a rink and all the women merely skaters”. To which Cetacean Nation would add the following. The best of those skaters, the bravest, fiercest, most skilled and dedicated, become hockey players. And the best of those can now aspire to display their talents in the world of NWHL rinks, where a select few get to spend their professional career, or at least a portion of it, as Whale.

 

We now know some of those who are here now and comprise part of the Pod who will come over the boards to start of the Connecticut Whale’s fourth season on October 7th,  Thus far, we have welcomed five returning players and seven new faces to the Pod, all rookies, and have said our official goodbyes to four who are now former Whale. So we await with great anticipation the signings that complete our roster. We also look forward to the first puck drop, the first goal, assist, check,  and of course, victory. But we also can’t wait, fan and player alike, to again simply immerse our senses in the unique experience of watching or playing the fastest game on earth, as presented by our Connecticut Whale.


So, Cetacean Nation thinks it is a good time to reflect on some of those players we’ve cheered on in the seasons past,  the ones that made us impressed, made us obsessed. We’ve said individual good-byes to the players in that category from the 2017-2018 season. These former Whale will be following other paths, both on and off the ice this season. And we will continue to be in contact with our former Whale and share their stories as available. Because as all of Cetacean Nation knows, once a Whale, always a Whale. Here is a collage of photos of those players to date, who we offer a big Fins Up to for their time as members of the Pod. From left to right, top to bottom: #3 Amanda “Boo” Boulier, #4 Anya Battaglino, #8 Kelly Babstock, & #34 Sydney Rossman

 

UPDATE 8/30/18

The Whale announced that they have re-signed forward Kaycie Anderson. The native of Maple Plain, MN will be entering her second season with the Pod.

 

UPDATE 9/4/18

The Whale will play a pre-season game against their Opening Day opponent the Buffalo Beauts, on September 23rd. The game will be part of Kraft’s Hockeyville Weekend, and will take place in Clinton, NY on the ice at Sage Rink at Hamilton College.

 

UPDATE 9/5/18

The Whale re-signed #25 Juana Baribeau, and inked rookie forwards  Melissa Sheeran and Kayla Meneghin from Plattsburgh State. Roster now stands at sixteen players signed for season four.

 

UPDATE 9/10/18

The Whale announced that they have signed Team Russia goalie Maria Sorokina, joining Sam Walther between the pipes next season.

 

 

WHALE’S TALE’S 7/12/18

“So over the next few months, we may have to bid an unwanted farewell to some of our Whale, and welcome new sets of fins into the Pod.” In the May 9th edition of Whale’s Tales, “Loomings: The Teams They Are A Changin’, Cetacean Nation explored the impending free agency in the NWHL. Slowly but surely, that process is being conducted, somewhat in fits and starts, because that is the nature of the enterprise. As the article mentions, there are a lot of moving parts. But all of the five teams will have twenty-two skaters and three goaltenders when the puck drops this fall. As mentioned above, and as we now know, goodbyes and hellos are indeed being proffered. As of this morning, the fans of Cetacean Nation have had to bid adeiu to Kelly Babstock, but has welcomed back a trio of last year’s talented rookie contingent, Emily Fluke, Rachael Ade, and Hanna Beattie. We also have welcomed five new Whale into the the Pod: forwards Randi Griffin, Sarah Hughson, Michelle Löwenhielm, Katerina Mrázová and goalie Sam Walther. We know that the mixing of new and old will continue, but what is not known yet are the proportions. We can not always smell what’s cooking, but we can have faith in the chef that the recipe will be a good one. And if that is true, then the main course may well be a delicious season, washed down by a sip from the Isobel Cup. Fins Up!

WHALE’S TALE’S 6/27/18

Cetacean Nation has now been splashing around in the social media seas for two months, still a little wet behind the fins, but hopefully swimming in the right direction. We have had a lot of fun, interesting and thoughtful dialog with so many of our Pod. So again, a big Fins Up and Lob-Tails for all of the fin-tastic input from the players so far: #11 Emily Fluke, #10  Sophia Agostinelli, #14 Elena Orlando, #31 Keira Goin, #7 Rachael Ade, #33 Laura Brennan, #32 Sam Donovan, #9 Kaycie Anderson and #28 Sam Faber, #13 Cassie Dunne, #17 Emma Greco, #25 Juana Baribeau, and #94 Grace Klienbach!  Cetacean Nation plans to bring additional stories and content from these fourteen and the rest of our Whale as the tide rises rises through the summer. 

 

Although publicly the free agency period has been relatively quiet for our Whale, we have had to say good-bye to #8 Kelly Babstock. Kelly will be back skating next season, but as a member of the Buffalo Beauts. Cetacean Nation will miss her on the ice and in the community, but as we have mentioned more than once, she will always be a Whale. So we will still get to see Kelly in Connecticut a few times next season. The new Minnesota Whitecaps now have a permanent rink, the practice facility of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. Therefore it would seem that the NWHL should be able to formulate the ‘18-19 schedule shortly. 

 

Great job also by our Whale and the NWHL at the Pride March in New York last weekend. It is just the latest example of the league and players supporting their  community and the causes that matter. It is something they have always done, but this year it has been taken to a new level. Of all the terrific images that appeared over past season, perhaps this one is our favorite. And it is not a NWHL game photo, but a community event, the Hartford Wolf Pack’s Pride Night game, at which (left to right) Rachael Ade, Grace Klienbach, Sophia Agostinelli and Elena Orlando made an appearance on behalf of the Whale. This type of commitment and caring is why we admire and respect our Pod as much off the ice as on it.

WHALE’S TALES 5/31/18

The much anticipated NWHL Free Agency Period begins tomorrow. Cetacean Nation has previously offered the opinion that our Whale roster could see some shuffling once again. Cetacean Nation commented on some aspects in the May 9th Whale’s Tales, Loomings:The Teams They Are A Changin’. The players we’ve spoken with have been positive and hopeful about their desire to return to the Pod. But they also realize the complex personal issues associated with their decision to continue to play. Their health and off ice career are two of the concerns all players must reconcile each season.. And even exactly where any current NWHL player gets the opportunity to play is not a certainty. 

 

This year Free Agency will be impacted by the addition of the Whitecaps as a new possible destination for the players. And any returning Olympic players will also impact decisions.  And there is an ever growing pool of recently graduated college hockey players. And these players have known about the NWHL for most of the years they competed as collegians. It seems reasonable that more players than ever have planned on trying to take their careers to the next level. It is why Cetacean Nation certainly agrees that more expansion is needed to accommodate the burgeoning talent pool, as well as grow the sport.

 

And as we also mentioned previously, we may have to say a bittersweet farewell to some of our Whale. If that scenario plays out, Cetacean Nation hopes that our players were able to do what was ultimately best for them, whether that means moving to another team or even out of the league. We will also warmly welcome any new members of the Pod, as we always have. And for any who may have donned the Whale uniform for the last time, know this. You may take a player out of the Pod, but you’ll never take the Pod out of the player. Or out of the hearts of your fans, the Cetacean Nation. Fins Up, Whales Forever!

WHALE’S TALES 5/27/18

“Happy Anniversary” to the Whale fans of Cetacean Nation! We breached one month ago, after  three years of growth swimming around with our Whale, and now cheer and follow our team faithfully on our own social media. Off season coverage of the NWHL has increased each year, and we just can’t get enough, especially when it concerns the Whale. Cetacean Nation will continue to post links to any Whale coverage we swim up on, via our Twitter site. A big Fins Up and Lob-Tails to all of the fin-tastic input from the players so far: #11 Emily Fluke#10  Sophia Agostinelli#14 Elena Orlando#31 Keira Goin#7 Rachael Ade, #33 Laura Brennan#32 Sam Donovan#9 Kaycie Anderson and #28 Sam Faber! !  And Monday we have our #13 Cassie Dunnechecks in and provides some great content as well. 

 

Cetacean Nation has an update to our story  “ Between The Pipes With Keira Goin” .Keira  has recently earned her accreditation as a personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (see below).The members of our Pod lead busy lives both in and off season, both on and off the ice. Another Fins Up to Keira for her hard work and accomplishment, and we wish her every success in her endeavor.

 

Fun Fact: The branch of marine biology that concerns itself with whales is called cetology. Come to think of it, since Cetacean Nation also concerns ourselves with our Whale, maybe that makes us cetologists of a sort!  Perhaps we’ll ask our resident degreed marine biologist, #4, Anya Battaglino, for her opinion.

WHALE’S TALES 5/17/18

Cetacean Nation wishes a Happy Birthday today to Whale goalie #34 Sydney Rossman. It’s been a big month of May for Syd, who was acknowledged earlier this month by the Ice Garden as one of the NWHL’s five top rookies last season. And last week she also traded her hockey sweater for a cap and gown and received her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Quinnipiac University. While still a high school senior and recently committed to Quinnipiac, Syd spoke to interviewer Lisa Buck at her local Patch. When asked about the possibility of hockey after college, Syd stated: “Maybe I'll be coaching part-time.” Maybe, but lucky for us her playing days have continued into the professional ranks. Speaking of her lhigh school days, here’s a Fun Fact: Syd once stopped forty-nine pucks in a six period overtime win in the semifinal game of the Minnesota State Championship Tournament.

 

The addition of the Minnesota Whitecaps to the NWHL earlier this week was much anticipated and exciting news. Adding a team located in the middle of such a storied hockey region can only help to further fuel the mission and future of the NWHL. As Sydney Rossman tweeted on Tuesday: “So exciting to have such an amazing league enter the best state in the country!” Cetacean Nation, and all of the players and hockey personnel we’ve talked with, are anticipating the growth of women’s hockey and the NWHL to continue on the near future. It makes the impending free agency commencing June 1st even more interesting. Cetacean Nation also applauds the enthusiasm of Minnesota’s Governor  Mark Dayton, but perhaps not his powers of prognostication: “I am thrilled to welcome the NWHL to the State of Hockey. I’m very proud of our Whitecaps and the exceptionally talented Minnesotans who play for them. I look forward to cheering, as they win the Isobel Cup next year. Let’s Play Hockey”!  I guess he doesn’t see yet that the Isobel is actually headed northeast next year, when it is awarded to our Connecticut Whale!

 

 

 

And two Fins Up to @puckish- who administers a comprehensive  NWHL Content Navigator, a source for links to all things NWHL. Cetacean Nation was honored to be included in the recent update, along with the Minnesota Whitecaps. Here is the link to this excellent resource:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18jJbiGZROZFrOhc2tLNy8_WDh9qEeB_9-0RWqwyHt0k/mobilebasic’

WHALE’S TALE’S 5/9/18

Loomings: The Teams They Are A Changin’

 

 

The NWHL has announced that June 1st will mark the beginning of free agency this year. Coming off one year contracts, and based on past seasons, there will likely be movement of players between teams or even to or from the CWHL. Cetacean Nation and some of the Whale players have already shared thoughts on expansion, and expansion will also play a role in  player movement this year. How this will ultimately effect the composition of the Whale roster remains to be seen. Cetacean Nation would like nothing better than to have our whole Pod return, of course. But it is understood that there are pressures, responsibilities, obligations and aspirations that the league, teams, and players deal with, that will all figure into the roster of the Whale going forward.

 

On the college level, coaches, players and fans can look at a roster and more or less predict the year by year changes. Your seniors are leaving, and their spots must be filled by remaining players or incoming freshmen. And ideally, you have a core of players everyone hopes that they will be cheering on for four years. No sudden changes, only predictable graduation. Once on the professional level, the eligibility clock doesn’t start ticking when you first pull on your skates, and a longer tenure may be possible. Long term or multi year contracts can help that along certainly, but the NWHL is not yet there.

 

So over the next few months, we may have to bid an unwanted farewell to some of our Whale, and welcome new sets of fins into the Pod. But over the past three seasons, Cetacean Nation has come to realize a singular fact about our Whale. The culture of the Whale is unique, and what they are doing for the sport of hockey is something special, and historic. No Whale will ever doubt how much the fans of Cetacean Nation appreciate their efforts, regardless of whose sweater they may be wearing at some other point in time.  I think every Whale player who has taken the ice over the past three seasons, and in the future, will always be a Whale. You might take a player out of the Pod, but you’ll never take the Whale out of the player. 

WHALE’S TALES 5/8/18

Cetacean Nation wishes a Happy Birthday to our Captain, #28 Sam Faber, who has taken to the ice in fifty-five career games for the Whale. Fun Fact: Like most of our talented Whale Pod, Sam  has both on and off ice athletic skills. She has also excelled at both soccer and lacrosse, before concentrating on her hockey career.

Also a big shout out to our six Whale who ranked in the top twenty of player apparel sales this past season. Fins Up to #31 Keira Goin 2nd, #4 Anya Battaglino 3rd, #8 Kelly Babstock 5th, #11 Emily Fluke 7th, #7 Rachael Ade10th, and #10 Sophia Agostinelli16th. You can support and rep’ your own favorite Whales with official player gear from :https://www.theloyalist.com/connecticut-whale

 

And as usual our Whale have continued to be very active off the ice this spring. For example #8 Kelly Babstock has been coaching lacrosse, and as you see in the excellent photo above taken by Donna Doherty, #10 Sophia Agostinelli has been playing rugby. In the coming weeks Cetacean Nation will keep you posted on the off season activities of as many of our Pod as we can. 

WHALE’S TALES 5/3/18

Cetacean Nation offers a Fins Up to the career and journey of Harrison Brown, who retired from the NWHL this week. Harrison was a two time member of Isobel Cup winning teams, most recently with the Riveters this season. Harrison, a transgender person, was a role model for the LGBT community and an inspiration to team mates and opponents alike, both on and off the ice. And will continue to be.

 

Another Fins Up to Michael Lopez, who designed the (now) official Cetacean Nation logo. And in three different renditions no less! Check out one of them below. They should be making frequent appearances on this page and on our Twitter page as well. Terrific artwork Michael!

 

And continuing our discussion of imminent and future NWHL expansion, Cetacean Nation had a chance to check out the Penn Ice Rink in Philadelphia. Home of the school’s Ivy League hockey program, the facility hosts everything from recreational skates and hockey, to a local junior team and even the occasional NHL practice for teams in town to play the Flyers. It would be a perfect venue to “test the market” in Philadelphia for the  NWHL.  As Philadelphia’s native Whale Cassie Dunne #13 has exclaimed, “Let’s get Philly into the NWHL! “

WHALE’S TALES 4/29/18

First edition of Whale’s Tales, where Cetacean Nation will post news and info on the Pod. Today we want to start off by wishing a Happy Birthday to #9 Kaycie Anderson. Fun fact: Kaycie also ran both cross country and track! CN suspects she might go for a little birthday run today. Also on the menu, Cetacean Nation has it’s own Twitter page, @nation.cetacean. Please check it out and share. First article, featuring some players thoughts on the potential expansion of the NWHL, will be posted shortly. Fins Up!