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Biggest stories in women’s hockey in 2018

Let’s look back at the year

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

2018 was a crazy year for women’s hockey. February featured the Olympics. March saw the crowning of champions in the professional leagues and the first freshman to win the Patty Kazmaier. The offseason saw surprising signings. Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest stories from the year.


International

Perhaps the biggest story in women’s hockey in 2018 was the PyeongChang Olympics. But the year brought a lot on the international play front outside of that.

USA beats Canada for first Olympic gold in 20 years
This one speaks for itself...

Win-land: Finns beat OAR, bring home bronze - The Ice Garden
Finland takes home their third bronze.

Japan stuns Sweden in classification game - The Ice Garden
For the first time in Team Japan’s history, the squad defeated a European nation.

After Losing Olympic Funding, Where Does Team Sweden Go From Here?
At a time when players are fighting for funding, Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) took away funding.

Ylva Martinsen Named Team Sweden Head Coach
The Leif Boork era of Team Sweden has ended.

Russia stuns Canada to open U18 Worlds - The Ice Garden
Team Russia defends home ice with upset win, first time in tournament history a North American team has been defeated by a European squad.

Women’s Hockey Wednesday: USA Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team - Pension Plan Puppets
USA Hockey recognized the sled hockey team, bringing them into the USA fold, a big step.

Team France earns promotion to 2019 Women’s World Championship - The Ice Garden
Team France was promoted for the next Worlds, to be held in Finland. The tournament will feature 10 teams for the first time, up from 8.

NWHL

The NWHL expanded, signed some crazy players, and more.

The Metropolitan Riveters are Isobel Cup Champions - The Ice Garden
The Riveters became the third NWHL team to win the Isobel Cup with their 1-0 victory over the Buffalo Beauts.

NWHL acquires Minnesota Whitecaps - The Ice Garden
The NWHL expanded by bringing the independent Whitecaps into the league.

Shannon Szabados signs with Buffalo Beauts - The Ice Garden
Honestly, no one expected this one. Canadian superstar goalie Shannon Szabados had long played in men’s leagues when not with Team Canada. Then she signed with the Beauts.

NWHL, SDHL Reveal Revised Champions Cup Details - The Ice Garden
In a historic moment for women’s hockey, a cross-continent game occurred with the Riveters playing the SDHL’s Luleå Hockey/MSSK.

Meeri Räisänen Signs with Connecticut Whale - The Ice Garden
Finnish Olympic goaltender Meeri Räisänen had quite the offseason. No one quite knew where she’d end up and then the Finn joined The Pod!

Buffalo Beauts Relieve Ric Seiling and Craig Muni of coaching duty - The Ice Garden
For the first time, we saw a coaching staff relieved of duty because of the team’s record.

CWHL

2018 was a tad bit rocky for the CWHL but also shows some promise for the future. The Vanke Rays were contracted; KRS was rebranded. An investor left the league in a rather public way. Brenda Andress, the only commissioner in the history of the league, retired. Jayna Hefford, a CWHL legend, was named interim commissioner as well as to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Markham Thunder win their first Clarkson Cup championship - The Ice Garden
CWHL Recap: Markham Thunder are 2018 Clarkson Cup Champions! - Pension Plan Puppets
The Clarkson Cup going to overtime was fitting for one of the craziest CWHL playoffs.

BREAKING: CWHL drops Vanke Rays - The Ice Garden
After only a season of play, the Vanke Rays were contracted.

Commissioner Brenda Andress to leave CWHL - The Ice Garden
Andress has been the only commissioner in the history of the league.

Breaking: Jayna Hefford named interim CWHL Commissioner - The Ice Garden
Hefford, a former CWHL player and legend, was quickly named the interim commissioner.

The CWHL’s Chinese team gets rebranded - The Ice Garden
After contracting the Vanke Rays, the league rebranded the remaining Chinese team to be the KRS Vanke Rays.

CWHL announces Blades move to Worcester, get new logo - The Ice Garden
The long struggling Blades made a big move — literally to a new city — in hopes of finding success.

Q&A with CWHL Interim Commissioner, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jayna Hefford - The Ice Garden
The CWHL interim commissioner discusses her HHOF induction and the future of women’s hockey.

CWHL loses major investor as Roustan Capital withdraws financial support - The Ice Garden
CWHL announces Board of Directors, responds to losing investor - The Ice Garden
In a rather public fashion, a CWHL investor pulled their money. The whole situation wasn’t handled the greatest by the league. The new Board of Directors has 11 directors, with a majority being female.

NCAA

Expansion seemed to be the theme of 2018 for the NCAA. A new team will be added next year as well as a new conference. Both have a big impact in the post season of college hockey.

NCAA Women’s National Championship: Clarkson Claims Second Straight National Title in OT - SB Nation College Hockey
For the first time in the NCAA era, neither team was from the WCHA.

SHE’S ELECTRIC! Daryl Watts Makes History, Becomes First Freshman To Win The Patty Kazmaier Award - BC Interruption
No freshman or sophomore had ever won the award... until now.

LIU Brooklyn to add NCAA Division I women’s hockey program in 2019-20 - The Ice Garden
Women’s college hockey continues to expand.

New England Women’s Hockey Alliance officially announces formation of new NCAA Women’s Hockey Conference - The Ice Garden
Teams have unanimously agreed to offer scholarships and begin scheduling other D-I programs.

Northeastern and Clarkson are playing the first ever NCAA women’s hockey games outside North America - The Ice Garden
Technically, the game is 2019. But it was announced in 2018. The two coaches discuss the implications of this historic match-up in Northern Ireland.