2021 was quite the year. So much happened, and then also didn’t happen, thanks to COVID and, ahem, the IIHF. Let’s take a look back at some of the top stories of the year...
The then-NWHL tried to play their 2021 season in a two-week protected environment in Lake Placid. The tournament style season got off to a good to start, before quickly falling victim to a COVID-19 outbreak that started with the Metropolitan Riveters leaving early, then the Connecticut Whale, and eventually forced the postponement of the season.
Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux retired in February, leaving a long legacy of hockey greatness.
The World Championships were postponed from their originally scheduled April 7-17 dates to May 6-16.
In the NCAA world, Wisconsin won the National Championship, tying with Minnesota for most title wins in program history.
Aerin Frankel wins the Patty Kazmaier and inaugural Women’s College Hockey Goalie of the Year Award.
In March, the NWHL restarted their season in Boston, playing just three playoff games: two semifinals and the final. The Boston Pride became the first NWHL team to win two Isobel Cups.
Over in Sweden, the SDHL crowded their champion, Luleå.
Just 15 days before the puck was set to the drop on the World Championships, the tournament was cancelled due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. The provincial government of Nova Scotia made the call, but the IIHF still took a lot of heat for not having back up plans for the women’s tournaments despite having them for the men’s.
Two weeks later, the IIHF had an answer - rescheduled dates with no location. About a month after that, they announced a new location - Calgary.
Over in the PWHPA, the two US teams had a few traveling weekend showcases in the States. Up in Canada though, travel was much harder so the organization hosted a week-long quarantine environment tournament for the three teams.
The NWHL held two drafts over the summer - their normal entry draft and a new international draft.
After initially being named interim Commissioner, Ty Tumminia was officially the Commissioner of the league.
The PWHPA slightly organized going into their third season. They kept five training hubs but moved the New Hampshire team to Boston.
F i n a l l y, after two postponements and a “cancelation,” the 10-teams convened on Calgary for the World Championships. It was a memorable tournament.
Hilary Knight breaks all-time Worlds scoring record
Akane Shiga makes history, scoring Japan’s first goal against Team USA
Finland wins bronze
Canada wins gold medal, first at Worlds since 2012
NWHL is no more, at least in name, as they rebrand.
Typically, the World Championships aren’t held in Olympic years. But, the IIHF voted to add the tournament in the fourth year starting in 2022.
The PHF updated their trans inclusion policy.
After seasons of YouTube and a few on Twitch, the PHF moved their games to ESPN+, a paid steaming service that has a whole host of sports.
Following the final round of Olympic qualifiers, the Olympic women’s ice hockey field is officially set. All 10 teams are officially set with the final three joining Japan and China in Group B.
Video game players rejoice! National Teams are being added to EASports’ NHL22 sometime in January!
The year closed out with some highly disappointing news: the U18 World Championship, set to begin early January in Sweden, was canceled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19’s latest varient. This was the second year in a row the tournament was cancelled, all while the men’s Worlds Juniors (U20) was held.
Here’s to 2022!