Women’s hockey diary: Kali Flanagan’s jump to PHF came as no surprise

When goalie Katie Burt signed with Boston Pride ahead of the season, there was speculation that she wasn’t the only Professional Women’s Hockey Association deserter to go.

Pride, which won the Isobel Cup a season ago in the then NWHL, is the strength of the new Premier Hockey Federation. They will naturally attract some of the best talent.

That’s why it wasn’t a huge surprise that Kali Flanagan was next to take the plunge on Thursday. Recently cut from the US National Team residence, she did not return to the PWHPA, where her father, Bill Flanagan, previously led the New Hampshire team.

That team dissipated ahead of this season when Flanagan left amid frustration between the training regions of the United States and Canada, citing a lack of support for some of the American venues. There is now a training region in Boston sponsored by Bauer, one of only two training regions in the United States.

The majority of PWHPA’s elite talent have traveled to the United States and Canada, so the third edition of the Dream Gap Tour was an all-star team set to play a series against Team Japan in the near future. Japan in January.

More players have returned to the PHF this time around as the PWHPA has stagnated in some areas and the PHF has changed its name, even after a disastrous bubble in Lake Placid and an offseason in which apparently a week passed. not gone without scandal. Even before that, the then NWHL was never really free from labor issues, which was one of the reasons the PWHPA was formed.

With the upcoming Olympics there will be a breaking point as to what the PWHPA can do. PHF, under Ty Tummnia, have shown no signs of backing down, no matter how talented their national team are.

But now there are. Burt was arguably the future of the pipes for the United States before she wrestled nationally and in the PWHPA. Now Flanagan is a member of a Blue Line of Pride that is so stacked up it’s hard to fathom what his role will be.

There is a long history that Canada and the United States neither recruit nor invite PHF players. McKenna Brand, Sammy Davis and Melissa Samoskevich – who played for Connecticut last season but not this year – were on the US radar before renewing their commitment to the then NWHL.

Mikyla Grant-Mentis, the NWHL’s MVP last season and one of the league’s most dominant players, didn’t even get a quick glance from Canada. Neither is Toronto defender Lindsay Eastwood.

Whether it’s coincidence or not, Flanagan has been a staple of international events for the United States. So whether she continues to be considered by the national team after the Olympics, if there is still a PWHPA and she does not participate, it will be worth watching.

“I chose pride for two reasons,” Flanagan said in a statement. “The quality of the people who are part of this organization – from the front office to the coaches and my teammates – and Boston is my home; I grew up here, I played college here at (Boston College) and now I have the opportunity to play professional hockey here, and I can’t wait to make the same wholehearted effort, [camaraderie] and the championship spirit with which I have always played with pride.

It’s no surprise that she took the plunge after her father did the same, to be the director of screening for PHF in the United States. It’s another layer in the never-ending story of the future of professional women’s hockey.

All-Star Game in Canada

The PHF announced on Thursday that it would host an All-Star game after all, and in its new city. The league will play the event for the first time in two years in Toronto.

The event will take place on January 29 at York Canlan Sports, home of the Toronto Six, who started playing at home for the first time after playing in the Lake Placid bubble last season.

The PHF’s last All-Star game, when the league was the NWHL, was in Boston a few weeks before the 2020 Isobel Cup was canceled due to COVID-19.

The new event format will feature three teams in a round robin series, with single period matches consisting of 10 minutes of 5v5 action followed by five minutes of 3v3 play and a shooting.

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