Your Curated Guide to Women's Sports

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, AP Women's Soccer
Twitter: @AnnieMPeterson

Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, High Post Hoops
Twitter: @HowardMegdal

Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, NWHL Broadcaster
Twitter: @Elindsay08
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The promise and limits of #SheIs—Carolyne Prevost interview—must-click hockey links

I was at a rest stop in New Jersey when the #SheIs initiative was announced on social media–the Molly Pitcher Rest Stop to be exact. 

The #SheIs initiative is a professional sisterhood of eight women's professional leagues, committed to increasing the visibility of girls and women in sports. 

Since I began writing about sports three years ago, I've often questioned why women's leagues don't cross-promote more. I've asked commissioners, player's association leaders, players, and more. Often, I was told that [insert team] wanted to focus on themselves first, then grow to involve other women's sports. 

I've always found that to be such an unsatisfying answer. 

There is still a hesitation to "allow" women's leagues to be unapologetically for women. As a women's sports writer, I have a lot of conversations about what the media isn't doing for female athletes, coaches, executives, etc.

Despite this, the NWSL received a great deal of criticism for landing a broadcast deal with A+E Networks last season. Isn't the goal to have women's soccer on national television? Well, sure! Just not on Lifetime, apparently.

So, if criticism will come at any and every turn by a (male-dominated) media core, why not do your own thing? I support creating spaces exclusively for women's sports. Like, a newsletter that curates sports news three times a week (thank you, subscribers)!

I've always wanted leagues to overtly support one another. Instead of offering the Ron Duguay's of the sports world social media real estate, why not invite the New York Sharks to a Liberty game? Why not have Hilary Knight attend a WNBA game (shout out to the Connecticut Sun who did have the gold medalist at the 2017 WNBA Playoffs)?

Thus, I am excited to read the #SheIs movement is focused on, "Using the power of women’s sport to create a future of, by, and for strong women." The collective is looking to increase visibility for girls and women in sport. Supports can donate, attend a game, and take the pledge to support the growth of females in sport. 

Now, I am not of the opinion that a "for us, by us" approach to women's professional sports alone can sustain the eight leagues participating. However, I am thrilled to see women's leagues becoming more proactive in what they want from their fans, the media, and each other. 

In his pieces for Forbes (link below), David Berri reminds us that society is still male-dominated. Thus, there are social and systemic biases that will need to be addressed for women's sports to be successful.

Because of the systemic suppression and oppression of women in all spaces of our society, it is comforting to know there are growing spaces to lift up like-minded leaders, as opposed to the seemingly Sisyphean task of changing the minds of male-dominated spaces. At the least, #SheIs is a rest stop along the incline. 


This Week in Women's Hockey 

Here is the Forbes article about the #SheIs movement mentioned above. Berri has written a few solid pieces about the state of women's sports, including this one about basketball's gender wage gap. 

Here is my blog entry about the retirement of two-time Isobel Cup Champion and LGBTQ advocate, Harrison Browne. Brownie's retirement was covered by The Ice Garden, The Buffalo News, and The Athletic, among others. 

Jacqui Pierri announced her retirement from the CWHL yesterday. She posted a few thoughts in a Twitter thread #5YrsofProgress. 

Digit Murphy is out as head coach of the Kunlun Red Star and Team China. Hannah Bevis has the story for The Ice Garden. Here is Mark Dyer's take for SupChina. 

Emily Kaplan writes about how pioneering broadcaster AJ Mleczko hopes her first Stanley Cup Finals experience is remembered. 


Tweet of the week!


Five at The IX:
Carolyne Prevost, Toronto Furies forward

Erica L. Ayala: I read you will be participating in a regional CrossFit event. What initially got you involved in CrossFit competitions?

Carolyne Prevost: I initially started CrossFit after not making the centralized Olympic roster in 2013 and being released from the Hockey Canada program. The transition from a very structured University hockey team to the real world can be challenging as we are now essentially left on our own for workout programs. When I stepped foot into a CrossFit gym, it felt like I was part of this amazing team/community again and I was hooked on the workouts and the different challenges. 

CrossFit allowed me to repurpose my competitiveness in a new activity. I always loved intense physical activity and would strive to be the best I could be in any physical test. Crossfit is not a specialized fitness program but wants to develop people in all aspects of fitness. As a multi-sport athlete, it's exactly what I wanted. I started competing almost right away in the sport of it but for the regular population, most people do CrossFit as a workout lifestyle vs competing.

ELA: It seems you've always been a versatile athlete. Did you ever feel pressure to "specialize"? What are the advantages of being a multi-sport athlete?

CP: I have seen many of my friends specialize in a sport and I have to say it has crossed my mind a lot over the years. I always wondered what kind of athlete I would have been had I specialized in a particular sport. However, I believe I am the athlete I am today because of the experiences I have had in all my sports. I have learned to transfer different abilities from one sport to the next and it has made me a more complete athlete. I think it's so important for kids to play a variety of sports and learn different skills. I enjoyed all the sports I did and I still do. I believe I have this ongoing love for all my sports because I didn't specialize or get ''sick'' of playing it all the time.

ELA: Do you recall your hardest workout, either in hockey or CrossFit? What made it such a difficult practice/circuit?

CP: I have done so many hard workouts in my life that it's hard for me to pick one. I think you can take the most simple workout and make it as hard as you want it to be with the intensity level you attack it with. I love suffering in workouts and laying on the floor dead at the end of a workout. It's a great feeling!

ELA: Are there workouts you've learned through CrossFit that seemed particularly well-suited for ice hockey or vice versa?

CP: I think everything I do in CrossFit is well-suited for hockey. I am constantly working on all aspects of fitness and trying to be great at all of it. I definitely don't think I need specialized hockey workouts. I feel stronger and faster now on the ice because of my training. I am also able to recover between shifts or games much faster. It has only helped me in hockey. All of my experiences in sports growing up have also helped me in CrossFit as well. I was able to adapt to the sport much faster than most because I had a variety of training backgrounds.

ELA: What are your main methods of recovery between competitions and/or games? What are some of the more challenging aspects of staying fit and recovering since your college days?

CP: I get treatment done weekly (chiro or massage) to help with recovery. I also have a nutritionist I'm working with that makes sure I eat enough for the amount of activity I do. Sometimes recovery for me is playing another sport. I often workout on game days just as hard as any other day. However, I've built this volume of training over the years where I am able to train as much as I do. If I feel I need a break or if something doesn't feel right physically/mentally, I know my body well enough that I take the day off. I typically take 1 day off a week and 1 lower intensity active recovery day.
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