During our interview with Whale trainer Paul Fernandes, he gave us break down of skate sharpening, and the different hollows the players used. Sasked Alyssa about her preferences
“Nothing against Paul" she laughed, "but I don’t use the machine he uses, because it’s automatic. I’m old-school. I like a human to do it. So I don’t use the machine he uses, but the hollow that I get my skates sharpened to,I don’t think I’ve met any other female hockey players that use it.They might, I don’t know, but most girls skate on a half inch hollow. And I skate on a full inch, one inch. A few years ago that’s what goalies used to use. So what that means is it’s more shallow so there’s more glide on the ice, where my skates aren’t digging into the ice as much. So a half inch hollow is a deeper cut and your blades are going to dig into the ice a little more. So players that use a half an inch hollow can probably stop faster than me, and maybe change directions quicker than me. But my skate is more on top of the ice, and not in the ice. But I can get away with using it because I’m a little bigger and a little heavier. So the heavier you are, the more you can get away with using a shallow hollow. Because you’ve got more weight on your skates so you don’t really have to worry about slipping. But some of the smaller girls, it might be tough for them to do.”
“So the last few years I’ve kind of messed around with my hollow, and changed it up. It’s actually been pretty eye opening. Like: Shoot, I wish I had done this ten years ago! I think most girls don’t realize what the hollow actually means, and what it is, because I didn’t. Half inch is kind of the main stream hollow that everyone gets, that’s like the default. So I would get that, but I wouldn’t like my skates until like two weeks after they got sharpened. So I was like why don’t I just get them sharpened at a different hollow? So people think that a half inch is sharp and a full inch is dull, but that’s not the case at all. A half inch just has more bite into the ice. An inch is still sharp but it just has more glide on top of the ice. So I was at a half inch a few years ago, And then I went a little more shallow to 5/8 inch. And I said: Oh, I like this, it’s such a difference! And then I went up again and I was like : Well, I’ll try 3/4 of an inch, and I said: Oh yeah, I like this! And then I went up to 7/8 of an inch, and I was like: Oh yeah, I like this too, might as well keep going! So now I’m up to an inch and I probably won’t go any lower than that. As I said, I don’t think I’ve met any other girl who uses an inch hollow.”
Cetacean Nation has heard the rumors about the NWHL possibly expanding to Montreal, and we asked Alyssa for her thoughts on that as well. She stated
“I’ve heard that too. I’m kind of mixed on it it. I think if we expand too quickly, it kind of waters down the product. I also don’t want to have an odd number of teams in the league” she laughed."Because every weekend one team is off. So I hate that. But if there’s private ownership that wants to bring in a team and treat it professionally, then I guess, go for it. But I mean, the NHL was six teams for how many years? I don’t know why we would be adding a team every single season. We don’t need 12 teams yet! " she laughed "So I’m not sure how I feel about it."
We had also heard some talk about roster expansion, and thought that was a good idea. Alyssa concurrent, saying
“Yeah I agree. We expanded from last season. So last season we were only allowed Yeah I have done some clinics yeah I have done some clinics yeah I’ve done some clinicsto have 18 maybe and this year it was 20 or 21. And I guess you’ve got to have three goalies but when roster spots are scarce, it makes it harder to justify keeping three goalies and keeping a skater off the roster. But that’s why I’m not a GM” she laughed.
In her last interview, we had talked with Alyssa about her reputation for chirping. We followed that up by asking about her chirps possibly directed at refs. She responded
“Oh, man, I like to say I’ve gotten better. But yeah, the refs just do a number on me" she chuckled. "It’s just really tough to keep my mouth shut around them. So I think I’ve gotten better. I have gotten ten minutes penalties before for yelling at the ref. But that was a long time ago. Sometimes they are just a little overly sensitive she chuckled, they get mad at me too easily and give me ten minutes, so… I’m very competitive and passionate, and if I feel that a ref is taking over or not being fair, that’s when I start getting mad. I’m like: Just let us play, just leave it alone. When I feel like a ref is just too involved, that’s when I start mouthing off. I just also get mad because I:ve gotten so many penalties where it’s a 50/50 race to the puck and me and this girl are going for it and we collide, she falls down and I don’t, and I get a penalty. I’m like: Why are you penalizing me for that? It’s not my fault she fell down! It’s frustrating to bust your butt in the gym so hard, and basically get a penalty for it."
We mentioned that her Whale teammate Laurel Hill had a couple of similar calls calls go against her last season. Alyssa revealed
"Actually she took a penalty against me. We were going for a puck and I did not have the right angle on her, so I tried lean into her but she had a step on me. So by trying to lean into her I was leaning too far forward. And so I was already off balance, and so then I ended up falling and going into the boards head first and they did call that a penalty. And that should not have been a penalty. So I remember that play well, it should not have been a penalty, I’m surprised they even called it. Because I don’t go down easily, unless I’m off balance. So that the reason I went down so hard on that play. I was off balance and didn’t have the right positioning. I totally agree with her. Something like that should not have been a penalty. There’s some refs where you know, you’ve got to be careful. But actually Katie Guay (the ref in our game vs Minnesota), she’s one of my favorites she actually let’s stuff like that go. Because she can tell it’s just a hockey play, and nothing malicious." (You can learn more about Katie’s in her own interview here on our website Katie Guay: From Wrist Shots To Whistles)
Before we wrapped things up with Alyssa, we had to ask about something we learned when we interviewed her father, Chuck, for our "All In The Family" series: Alyssa's once had a pair of pink skates!
"Not by choice" she laughed. "Yeah, I know, Dad spilled the beans on that one. They weren’t all pink, I think just a plastic part of them ended up being pink. It wa almost like peach, even. I think it was my first pair of rollerskates. I always joke that that was before I had a conscience, and made my own decisions. Because at that age you don’t know you just want a pair of rollerskates.To my Mom’s chagrin, it was probably my last pink thing. I kinfpd of go either way on that though. I see a lot of girls with like pink stick tape or pink laces, pink helmet.I’m like, God, you don’t need the pink,ir doesn’t matter. But I’m like: You know what? They’re five! If they like it, then go for it! If they’re doing it when they are twelve, you’ve kind of got to draw the line" she laughed.
We thank our "Once and Future Whale" #8 Alyssa Wohlfeiler for sharing these thoughts and opinions with us, and look forward to hearing more from her. And, to see her hoisting the Isobel Cup when it completes it's journey to Connecticut next season. Fins Up to that and to Alyssa!