Yesterday, women’s hockey Twitter blurred those invisible and quite arbitrary lines and “got political”. Robb Stauber, head coach of the 2018 US Olympic women’s hockey team, spoke at a rally in Duluth, MN.
Stauber’s brother Peter—who is running for Congress—was congratulated by the President for a successful event in which 9,000 were in attendance and another 10,000 were turned away, according to Donald Trump.
Robb Stauber speaks at the Trump Rally. pic.twitter.com/ImjaPeL8oD— Leith Dunick (@LeithDunick) June 20, 2018
Controversy swirled around Stauber leading up to the 2018 Winter Games due to the omission of hockey stars like Kelli Stack, Alex Carpenter, and Megan Bozek. Additionally, USA Hockey, and hockey overall, greatly lacks in diversity.
However, with the United States winning Olympic gold for the first time since 1998, the questions about Stauber and indiscretions of USA Hockey (yes, I’m talking #BeBoldForChange) were drowned out by celebration.
Three months after guiding USA to gold in Pyeongchang, Stauber returned to the news when the Pioneer Press named him and wife Shivaun co-head coaches of the newest NWHL franchise, the Minnesota Whitecaps. Stauber coached the team in 2015 when they still operated independently.
This news appeared to be a coup for the newest NWHL team. Several 2018 gold medalists have been associated with the team in the past. In his interview with reporter Bob Sansevere, Stauber said he looked to recruit from the USA Hockey system, “We’ll do whatever we can to put the best team on the ice. The question is, why wouldn’t we? Our goal is to play a similar style to what our (Olympic) team played.”
However, questions quickly raised when the Whitecaps Twitter account removed any posts about the Stauber’s from their account. Further, the league never posted the news. When the Whitecaps finally signed their first three players, 2017 Isobel Cup champion Amanda Leveille and 2018 Olympians Lee Stecklin and Hannah Brandt, there was no mention of the Staubers. In fact, the StarTribune article announcing Leveille’s signing stated, “Whitecaps captain Winny Brodt Brown expects the team will announce a head coach in the coming days.”
Those who attended yesterday’s rally enjoyed Stauber’s speech, while the women’s hockey community is (again) confused at best, if not downright outraged. Reports on social media are that Stauber will not be coaching the Whitecaps, but no other coach has been named as of yet.
Social Media Round-Up
I'm told that US women's hockey head coach Robb Stauber will NOT be named head coach of the Minnesota Whitecaps of the NWHL. The decision had nothing to do with him speaking at a Donald Trump rally in Duluth tonight & had been made beforehand.— Salim Nadim Valji (@salimvalji) June 21, 2018
Robb Stauber speaking at a racist rally while some notable players of color have been left of the USWNT roster...— Title IX Hockey (@TitleIXHockey) June 20, 2018
These things aren't coincidence