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Big moments in women’s hockey in 2020

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The year that was, and wasn’t, in women’s hockey.

Canada v United States
Remember when we were able to be this close to other people? No, me either.
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Looking back on 2020, the biggest story is, undoubtedly, all of the untold stories due to the pandemic. Seasons and careers ended with no real send-off. Tournaments, games, and events were canceled, leaving massive gaps in the schedule.

But before the world ground to a halt in March and even during the height of the pandemic, there were moments in women’s hockey worthy of celebrating and remembering.

Jan. 24 - Canada beats US, 2-1, at NHL All Star Game
It’s hard to believe the US v Canada 3-on-3 game at the NHL All Star Weekend took place in 2020, I know. But it did!

Feb. 5 - Hilary Knight records her 200th Team USA point
In the second portion of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series, Knight had a big night. (Also lol at the last line of this story, how little we knew back in February.)

Feb. 9 - Team USA wins Game 5 of the 2020 Rivalry Series, in front of a record crowd of 13,320 fans
Who knew this would be the last time the US and Canada would play each other for all of 2020? But what a last game it was!

Feb. 23 - LIU wins NEWHA championship in their inaugural season
The Long Island University Sharks, newcomers to the Division I scene, won their first conference championship in their first season of play, making every other team in NEWHA shark bait ooh ha ha!

March 7 - IIHF cancels World Championships due to coronavirus
Sad! But seriously, this was devastating for women’s hockey as, outside of the Olympics, it’s the biggest tournament in the sport.

March 8 - Princeton and Ohio State win their first-ever conference championships
Happy! Two more D1 teams won their first-ever conference championships and punched their tickets into the National Championship bracket.

March 11 - KRS Vanke Rays win the Russian Women’s Hockey League championship in their first season in the league
The KRS Vanke Rays made an immediate impact in their new league.

March 12 - NCAA tournament canceled
With teams literally in route to their first round games, the National Championship tournament was canceled.

March 12 - NWHL postpones Isobel Cup Final
The day before they were set to drop the puck on the final game of the season - the Isobel Cup Final between the Boston Pride and the Minnesota Whitecaps - the NWHL postponed the game until a later date. The game was eventually canceled.

March 27 - Élizabeth Giguère named 2020 Patty Kazmaier Winner
Giguère was named the 2020 winner in a live-streamed ceremony. She’s the second straight player from Clarkson to win.

April 22 - NWHL announces expansion into Canada with new team in Toronto
Grow the game NWHL edition! A private ownership group emerged to set up a new NWHL team, the sixth in the league.

May 13 - PWHPA restructures ahead of second season
Just after their first anniversary of existence, the PWHPA announced a new structure, driven by player feedback from their first season.

June 24 - Kim St-Pierre elected to Hockey Hall of Fame
St-Pierre becomes the first female goaltender in the Hall, and the 8th woman.

July 15 - St. Thomas joins the WCHA for the 2021-22 season
Grow the game NCAA edition!

Aug. 1 - SDHL and SHL extend agreement through 2024
The men’s Swedish league renewed their support for the women’s league, with a reported millions in financial investment.

Sept. 17 - IIHF cancels U18 World Championships due to pandemic
Sad times two, but this time with a side of “what are you doing, IIHF” because in the same breath they canceled half of the international women’s hockey tournaments for the season, they announced a bubble for World Juniors.

Oct. 13 - NWHL changes governance structure, including a new commissioner in Ty Tumminia
In my opinion, this was the biggest story in 2020, especially since part of the restructuring included Dani Rylan Kearney, the founder and only commissioner in the first five seasons, stepping down, and Ty Tumminia, an outsider to the hockey world before she was named the chairman of the Six earlier in the year, being named the interim commissioner.

Oct. 13 - Meghan Duggan retires
So long, Captain America.

Oct. 22- PWHPA announces $1 million corporate commitment from Secret Deodorant, the largest in North American women’s hockey
To borrow from something I tweeted from our Twitter: It’s no secret that the pandemic is impacting women’s hockey, so Secret stepped up to help to the PWHPA in a huge way.

Nov. 25 - NWHL announces plans to play 2020-21 season over a two week period in Lake Placid
The NWHL opted for a two-week tournament in Lake Placid, over trying to patch together a “normal season” in the most abnormal year we’ll ever live though. As we watch other sports struggle to keep their season going, it seems to be the best option for the league as well.

Dec. 22 - NBCSN to broadcast NWHL playoff semifinal games, Isobel Cup final from Lake Placid
For the first time, pro women’s hockey will been broadcast live on a major network in the US. To top it off, the games are scheduled for prime time, instead of being relegated to some random time slot.