Toronto’s Professional Women's Hockey League team skated to victory Wednesday night, kicking off the league's first playoff match with a 4-0 win over visiting Minnesota.

Natalie Spooner — the league's leading regular season goalscorer with 20 goals in 24 games — opened things up with the first playoff goal in PWSHL history at 9:47 of the first period, later notching an assist in front of Coca-Cola Coliseum's 8,473 fans. Captain Blayre Turnbull followed up Spooner's efforts with two goals of her own, securing the game's final point with just 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

In the defensive end, goalie Kristen Campbell put a stop to all 26 shots fired her way. With game one behind them, Toronto has pulled ahead of Minnesota 1-0 in the best-of-five series.

"It's what I believe I expect and I think what the group expects as well," head coach Troy Ryan said in postgame remarks. "Being everything we thought it would be, I think the atmosphere was incredible. I think our performance was pretty good and I think it's a great stepping-stone for us to continue to build on for this series and hopefully moving forward.

For Turnbull, the win came as a result of weeks of regular season preparation, adding that the team was "proud" of its execution throughout their first playoff game. 

"The whole season we’ve been building and building waiting to get into playoffs and trying to find our game every week and get better so that when players arrived, we are ready to go," Turnbull said. "I think there’s still a few areas that we can keep improving on, but overall, we’re pretty happy with where we’re at, so we’re excited to get back on the ice for game two."

The postseason outing continues a record-breaking regular season for the young league. In total, the PWHL set six attendance records for women’s hockey this year, with nearly 400,000 fans showing up to watch the inaugural teams take the ice over the 72-game season.

Toronto will face Minnesota at home once more in Game 2 of the series on Friday, before the teams move to Minnesota for Monday's Game 3. 

Team USA won the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship title on Sunday night in a thrilling come-from-behind victory. The U.S. defeated Canada, 6-3, at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, to win its 10th women’s hockey world title — and first since 2019.

The final score was not indicative of just how tight the game was. Canada led three times on Sunday night, with the U.S. coming back each time.

Tied 3-3 with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, U.S. captain Hilary Knight scored the go-ahead goal on a 5-on-3 power play — her 100th career world championship point. Knight, who also scored Team USA’s second goal of the night, completed her hat trick just 27 seconds later.

Aerin Frankel anchored the U.S. in net, turning away 24 shots.

Canada entered the final with momentum in the cross-border rivalry, having won the last two world championship titles, plus Olympic gold in 2022. Then add in that Canada was on a five-game win streak versus the U.S., which included a nine-round shootout victory during the preliminary round.

For the 22nd time in 22 tournaments, the U.S. women’s hockey team will play in the final of the IIHF Women’s World Championship.

The U.S. defeated Czechia, 9-1, at CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario, on Saturday to book a spot in this year’s championship game (Sunday 7pm ET, NHL Network). Team USA will play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal (Canada vs. Switzerland).

The U.S. kicked off scoring into the first period with an Amanda Kessel power play goal (video embedded below).

While Kessel’s was the only goal scored in the first period, the U.S. opened the floodgates in the second with two goals from Hilary Knight, one from Abbey Murphy, one from Abby Roque, and another from Kessel.

Czechia also recorded its lone goal of the game the second period with this snipe from 16-year-old Adéla Šapovalivová, who is making her second senior world championship appearance in Brampton (video embedded below).

 

With the win, the U.S. women’s hockey team continues its unprecedented streak of World Championship finals appearances. Beginning with the first IIHF Women’s World Championship in 1990, the U.S. has qualified for the final each and every time, winning the world title on nine occasions.

Archrival Canada has made the world championship final every year save one: 2019, when the Canadians were upset by Finland, 4-2, in the semifinal round.

Women’s Hockey World Championship – Year-by-Year Finals History

  • 1990: Canada def. United States, 5–2
  • 1992: Canada def. United States, 8–0
  • 1994: Canada def. United States, 6–3
  • 1997: Canada def. United States, 4–3 (OT)
  • 1999: Canada def. United States, 3–1
  • 2000: Canada def. United States, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2001: Canada def. United States, 3–2
  • 2003: Tournament cancelled due to SARS outbreak
  • 2004: Canada def. United States, 2–0
  • 2005: United States def. Canada, 1–0 (SO)
  • 2007: Canada def. United States, 5–1
  • 2008: United States def. Canada, 4–3
  • 2009: United States def. Canada, 4–1
  • 2011: United States def. Canada, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2012: Canada def. United States, 5–4 (OT)
  • 2013: United States def. Canada, 3–2
  • 2015: United States def. Canada, 7–5
  • 2016: United States def. Canada, 1–0 (OT)
  • 2017: United States def. Canada, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2019: United States def. Finland, 2–1 (SO)
  • 2020: Tournament cancelled due to COVID-19
  • 2021: Canada def. United States, 3–2 (OT)
  • 2022: Canada def. United States 2–1

After an up-and-down regular season, the Wisconsin Badgers put on a postseason clinic, winning the 2023 NCAA women’s hockey national championship on Sunday. With the win, the Badgers broke their tie with the University of Minnesota for most NCAA titles in women’s hockey (7).

Wisconsin defeated defending national champion Ohio State, 1-0, at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota. Badgers first year Kirsten Simms scored the lone goal of the game, 13 minutes into the first period. It marks the first time Ohio State’s women’s hockey team was shutout in over a year.

Despite the program’s historic success, Wisconsin didn’t enter this year’s NCAA tournament as the favorite. The Badgers had a rough start to 2023, dropping five straight games in January (including two to Ohio State). After losing to Minnesota in the WCHA Championship earlier this month, Wisconsin got an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as the No. 6 seed. They went on to defeat No. 3 Colgate in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Minnesota in the semifinals (winning with a thrilling OT goal), and then met No. 1 Ohio State in the championship game.

All seven of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey NCAA titles (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2019, 2021, 2023) have been won under longtime Badgers head coach Mark Johnson.

Ohio State graduate student Sophie Jaques was named the 2023 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, which is awarded annually to the best Division I women’s college hockey player. Jaques is the first Ohio State athlete and first Black player to win the award. She is also just the second defender to receive the honor, joining Harvard’s Angela Ruggiero, who won in 2004.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award,” Jaques said during her acceptance speech at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota on Saturday. “I am grateful to be a recipient of an award named after the incredible athlete, scholar and human being, Patty Kazmaier. While this is an individual award, I have been supported by a whole team of people throughout this season and my career at Ohio State, and I owe this all to my coaches and teammates over the last five years. Receiving this award is something I never even could have imagined was possible.”

Jaques is the WCHA record holder in career goals by a defenseman (61) and also owns 95 career assists. The Toronto native is the 10th Canadian winner of the Patty Kazmaier award, joining Jennifer Botterill (2001, 2003), Sara Bauer (2006), Sarah Vaillancourt (2008), Vicki Bendus (2010), Jamie Lee Rattray (2014), Ann-Renee Desbiens (2017), Daryl Watts (2018), Loren Gabel (2019), and Elizabeth Giguere (2020).

Jaques was a top-three finalist for last year’s Patty Kazmaier award and went on to help Ohio State win its first ever NCAA championship in women’s hockey. The Buckeyes will attempt to defend their national title in Sunday’s final against the Wisconsin Badgers (4 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

Last spring, Jaques graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and she is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Ohio State in the same field. The 22-year-old is also the vice president of SHEROs, which according to an Ohio State press release, is an “organization that provides a safe space for minority female student-athletes to have open discussions and promote diversity in sport.”

The other finalists for the 2023 Patty Kazmaier award were Northeastern University forward Alina Mueller and Colgate forward Danielle Serdachny. Mueller was also a top-three finalist in 2020.

Wisconsin freshman Caroline Harvey scored a clutch overtime winner in Friday night’s Frozen Four semifinal against the University of Minnesota to send the Badgers to Sunday’s NCAA women’s hockey championship game.

“Honestly, I blacked out, but it was pretty crazy,” Harvey said of her game-winner at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.

Harvey, 20, deferred her freshman year at Wisconsin in order to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where she was the youngest member of the silver medal-winning U.S. hockey team. On Thursday, the New Hampshire native became just the second Wisconsin freshman to earn All-America honors.

Friday’s NCAA semifinal marked the sixth meeting between Minnesota and Wisconsin this season and was the third determined in overtime, with two other games ending in a tie.

Minnesota took the early lead after 2022 Patty Kazmaier winner Taylor Heise scored just over three minutes into the game. In the third period, Wisconsin scored two goals in 57 seconds with tallies from Laila Edwards and Sophie Shirley. After pulling goalie Skylar Vetter for an extra attacker, Minnesota forced overtime with 1:11 remaining in regulation thanks to a goal from Madeline Weathington.

In Friday’s other NCAA hockey semifinal, Ohio State defeated Northeastern 3-0. Ohio State enters Sunday’s championship aiming to defend its 2022 NCAA title, while Wisconsin could break the record for most NCAA titles in women’s hockey. The Badgers are currently tied with Minnesota at six titles each.

Sunday’s NCAA hockey championship game between Ohio State and Wisconsin will air on ESPNU (4 p.m. ET).

After being cancelled twice due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2021 Women’s World Championship will now be held from Aug. 20-31.

The tournament is expected to take place in Canada, though the exact location has yet to be revealed.

The announcement by the IIHF and Hockey Canada comes just one week after the world championships, set to take place in Nova Scotia from May 6-16, were called off due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the region.

Team USA star Kendall Coyne Schofield took to Twitter after last week’s cancellation to express her disappointment with the IIHF, specifically in the governing body’s lack of contingency planning. She was just one of several players to publicly criticize the result.

The rescheduling will be seen by some as a small step in the right direction, as players felt the IIHF’s planing failures signaled a lack of investment in the women’s game.

If the new dates hold, this will be the first women’s hockey world championship played since 2019.

Kendall Coyne Schofield has a bone to pick with the International Ice Hockey Federation. 

The U.S. women’s hockey forward took to social media Thursday to express her frustrations with the cancelling of the 2021 Women’s World Championship.

On Wednesday, the tournament was cancelled for the second year in a row due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the Nova Scotia area, where the tournament was being held. On Tuesday, the province banned all non-essential travel due to the outbreak.

Coyne Schofield cited the IIHF’s lack of a contingency plan as her main point of frustration, particularly when knowing how strict Halifax’s handling of COVID-19 is.

“This response shows a lack of care that the IIHF had when it came to making sure that the Women’s Worlds was successful like the other international hockey events we have so joyfully watched over the last year,” Coyne Schofield said in her statement. “Those tournaments had contingency plans and plans to pivot the location if the dialogue between the tournament and local health officials couldn’t be mutually agreed upon.”

“Women’s hockey, once again, deserves more and better.”

The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro has reported that Dallas Fort Worth officials and the Dallas Stars are working on possibly hosting the women’s world championships. This has received support from multiple federations, especially after the U-18 men’s tournament found a home in Frisco and Plano, Texas. 

Regardless, Coyne Schofield has a point. Women’s hockey deserves to have the same level of treatment as the men’s — and that includes contingency plans amidst such ongoing uncertainty.

The 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns for the second time.

The championship was scheduled for May 6-16 in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia.

In a joint statement, the IIHF and Hockey Canada said they would attempt to reschedule the tournament once again, this time in the summer of 2021.

“In the end, we must accept the decision of the government,” the organizations said. “This does not mean that we will not have a Women’s World Championship in 2021. We owe it to every single player that was looking forward to getting back on the ice after such a difficult year that we do everything possible to ensure this tournament can be moved to new dates and played this year.”

While the U.S. women’s national team was set to arrive via ground transportation, eight teams boarding IIHF charters Wednesday had to forgo their travel plans. 

The reigning world and Olympic champion U.S. women’s national team was also set to have a new coach, as Bob Corkum stepped down Saturday citing disagreement with the COVID-19 protocols. 

Less than three weeks before the world championships are set to open in Canada, the United States women’s national hockey team has a new coach.

Assistant coach Joel Johnson will be taking over for Bob Corkum, who has abruptly stepped down, citing COVID-19 protocol concerns.

“I was not comfortable with the protocols,” Corkum wrote in a text sent to The Associated Press on Saturday. 

While he didn’t specify his concerns, Corkum added, “It was a difficult decision to make, but one that I am at peace with. The team will not miss a beat. They are in great hands.”

Corkum has previously supported a business announcing that its employees will not wear masks, writing: “We need more educated citizens like this small business owner.”

Additionally, he has questioned some of Canada’s coronavirus pandemic support plans via his LinkedIn account, commenting on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s post and calling them “propaganda.”

Kirsten Whelan provided more insight on Twitter, reporting that Corkum’s issue wasn’t due to him being uncomfortable but rather opposing recently-released stringent tournament protocols.

Reportedly, Corkum came to the decision on Friday while in Maine with his players prior to the start of training camp. Competition is set to begin on May 6 in Nova Scotia. 

A 12-year NHL veteran, Corkum’s first international tournament as head coach with the U.S. Women’s National Team was the 2018 Four Nations Cup. The U.S. women went undefeated en route to its fourth straight tournament title. 

Most recently, Corkum helped lead the team to its fifth consecutive gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in 2019. 

“Bob put his heart and and soul into continuing to build on the legacy of our women’s national team program over the past three seasons, and we’re grateful for all he did,” USA Hockey’s director of women’s national team programs Katie Million said, per The Associated Press. “While he’s stepping away, he’ll always be a big part of the USA Hockey family and we’ll certainly miss him.”