USA vs Canada: How to broadcast women’s hockey

Here’s your cheatsheet for women’s bios, Pierre. No men included.

Here at The Ice Garden, we often joke about drinking games for broadcasted international games. Drink every time they mention body checking isn’t allowed, drink every time they mention Sochi, DRINK EVERY TIME THEY MENTION A MALE RELATIVE OR SPOUSE FOR NO REASON.

The Olympics, unfortunately, are no exception. Well, at least the NBC broadcast commentated by Pierre is no different, and is perhaps the most headache-inducing stream many of us have watched.

So, just in case Pierre is tired of reading Wikipedia pages of male relatives, or comparing the women to men, here is a quick cheatsheet - referencing what was said on the last broadcast versus what should be said tonight. We will start small and build up to larger descriptions (as our anger slowly boils over).

Brianne Jenner

“Brianna Jenner”

We said we would start out small, so here is the correction on Brianne Jenner’s name. For all the love around mentioning Sochi, go ahead and talk about how she scored Canada’s first goal in that gold medal match at her very first Olympics.

Lee Stecklein

“Stecklein’s great grandfather...”

GREAT-GRANDFATHER?! Not even going to type out the full quote because this is absurd.

Stecklein has been a prominent part of the USA’s blue line since her time as a Gopher in Minnesota. She has won gold in every World Championship since 2013 and was a part of the Sochi squad that took home silver.

Laura Fortino

“She’s a world class skater. She is one of the better skaters from the backend in women’s hockey.”

Fortino is one of the best skating defensemen. Period. Her debut with the National Team came in 2011, and in 2014, she assisted on Marie Philip-Poulin’s game-winning goal. Yes, that one. Additionally, Fortino led Cornell to the Frozen Four three times and was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. After college, she continued on to play in the CWHL where she was named Defenseman of the Year and a finalist for the MVP award in the 2015-16 season.

Emily Pfalzer

“Emily Pfalzer [is] out of Nichols School in Buffalo and Boston College, [and] her boyfriend Mike Matheson, pretty good player in his own right...”

This one started out promising as we thought we would learn more about Pfalzer’s background, but instead, we get more sentences about her boyfriend than her, which are not included above, because this section is about Pfalzer.

Pfalzer embodies the quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” At only 5-foot-2, her feet can’t touch the floor when sitting on the bench, but Pfalzer is still a speedy wrecking machine from the blue line. While at Boston College, she was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in her senior season and the Hockey East Defenseman of the Year in her junior. From there, she went on to captain the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL, where she was named an All-Star captain and won the Isobel Cup in 2017.

Marie-Philip Poulin

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a female player shoot the puck as hard and as with such precision as MPP.”

Quick question to Pierre: have you seen a male player shoot the puck as hard or with such precision as MPP? Just asking. Arguably, MPP and Hilary Knight are two of the best hockey players in the world in terms of shooting. Maybe talk to the guys that Knight beat at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Now, Pierre, if you’re wondering how you will be able to distinguish between MPP and Knight, outside of their hockey sweater, remember that she scored the equalizer with 55 seconds left in that gold medal game in Sochi and was the one to win it in OT. Then, four years ago when she was 18, Poulin scored five goals and two assists in Vancouver and was the youngest player on that team to win the gold. In fact, she’s scored four of the last five gold medal game goals against the US.

Outside of international play, MPP went to Boston University where she was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award twice. Before that she had already won Rookie of the Year in the CWHL with Montreal and won the Clarkson Cup in the next year. After college, she returned to the CWHL and was named MVP two seasons in a row.

Yeah, MPP is one of the greatest. Period.

Meaghan Mikkelson

“Father: Bill, Brother: Brendan - both played in the National Hockey League.”
“Brendan is actually playing in northern Sweden...She’s going to see Brendan right after the Olympics are over.”
“She also has a son Calder, a two-year old son...”

Well, all three broadcasters got in on reading this Wikipedia section of Meaghan Mikkelson’s male family members. Did they not find enough about her husband?

Two-time gold medalist Mikkelson is a BAMF. She once broke her hand and assisted on a goal four days later. In the gold medal match. In Sochi. That’s right, she played with a partially frozen hand.

Before these heroics, Mikkelson was a Wisconsin Badger and won back-to-back NCAA titles from 2005 to 2007. She finished her collegiate career as a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award and an All-American. Her accolades also stretch to the CWHL where she won the Clarkson Cup with the Inferno and was named Defenseman of the Year in 2017.

And you know why Mikkelson is going to Sweden after the Games? It’s not just to see her brother, it’s because she signed a contract to play in the SDHL. But surely that’s not as important as making sure to mention as many male relatives as we can in one soundbite.

Kendall Coyne

“She’s a Marty St. Louis, a future hall-of-famer of women’s hockey, that’s how great she is. And, she wears his number!”
“Coyne’s fiancé is 6-foot-6, and she is 5-foot-1. I’m getting her a chair for her wedding.”

... ... ...


* Ahem * Kendall Coyne plays professionally for the Minnesota Whitecaps after her outstanding collegiate career at Northeastern University. She was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award three times in 2013, 15, and 16 and won it in 2016. Adding to her success that senior season, she became the all-time leader in career points, career goals, single-season points, single-season goals, points per game, and goals per game in Hockey East.

To follow up on her two-goal and four-assist display in Sochi, Coyne currently has two goals and one assist in Pyeongchang. Her pressure on the penalty kill has been unreal, and her speed has created incredible scoring chances. She will definitely be a person to watch during this gold medal game.

The US and Canada face off at 11:10 p.m. ET, as Canada looks to continue their reign while the US try to turn the tables. Meanwhile, Pierre, read up on these women - not the men.