Rhea Ripley’s appearances on Monday Night Raw sets tone for her upcoming WrestleMania title match

Having long established herself as a star performer on WWE NXT, Rhea Ripley rose to new heights in 2020, challenging Charlotte Flair, one of the finest wrestlers of the 2010s, at the second night of WrestleMania 36. In spite of the loss, Ripley remained one of the WWE’s rising stars. Having won both the NXT UK and NXT women’s championships, the 24 year-old Ripley has already made her mark as the first female Australian champion in WWE history.

Staring 2021 by assembling a masterful performance versus Raquel Gonzalez in a Last Woman Standing match on NXT’s first episode of the year, Ripley followed it up by appearing at the second-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. Entering the event at the 14th position, she assembled an event-high seven eliminations.

Among the wrestlers that Ripley eliminated included fellow NXT stars Toni Storm, Santana Garrett and Dakota Kai (whom she wrestled in the inaugural Mae Young Classic back in 2017), along with RAW stars Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair. Lasting in the event for a total of 39:06, only Flair and Belair had lasted over 30 minutes. Making it to the final two, she was eliminated by Bianca Belair, who shall face off against Sasha Banks on the first night of WrestleMania 37.

Also punching her ticket for the biggest show in professional wrestling, Ripley shall also be among the wondrous women competing in the squared circle at Mania. Unlike Belair, whose spot was guaranteed after winning the Royal Rumble, Ripley made her impact felt on the March 22 edition of Monday Night Raw, providing a highlight that is destined to be one of the decade’s finest.

As the women’s division continues to solidify its standing as one of the high spots of WWE wrestling, the number 22 certainly holds a unique coincidence for Ripley. One month prior, a viedo package aired on Raw’s February 22 episode, building up the hype for her eventual arrival, simultaneously emphasizing her potential as a main event star.

Confronting Raw Women’s Champion Asuka, one of the most entertaining and exciting wrestlers, regardless of gender, it was the type of moment that not only added tremendous momentum heading into WrestleMania, it holds the potential to become the springboard towards a great rivalry between the two.

Sophia Floersch ready to keep making history with ABT Motor Sport in 2021

Source: https://us.motorsport.com/dtm/news/ghiotto-floersch-switch-haupt-abt/5800507/

Ex-Formula 3 racer Sophia Floersch is poised to race in the DTM for the series’ first season under GT3 regulations.

Floersch will be joining the Abt Audi team as part of an expanded three-car entry by last year’s championship-winning squad.

While Abt had already announced this month that it will field 2013 title winner Mike Rockenfeller and Kelvin van der Linde in the DTM this year, Motorsport.com understands that it could enter a third Audi R8 LMS this year for Floersch.

The German racer hinted on Sky Sports F1 this month that she would not remain in FIA Formula 3 for a second season in 2021 and is close to announcing a second programme to complement her FIA World Endurance Championship duties with the Richard Mille Racing LMP2 team.

Floersch already has a presence in the DTM thanks to her role as the brand ambassador for series sponsor Schaeffler. She was also on-site at last year’s season finale in Hockenheim to drive the DTM Electric prototype car that is being developed jointly with Schaeffler.

Abt has the capacity to add an extra car to its already-announced first two entries, having not laid off staff members in the wake of Audi’s factory exit from the DTM unlike fellow Audi teams Rosberg and Phoenix.

With Floersch securing the Abt seat, she became the first female driver to race in the DTM since Susie Wolff and Rahel Frey in 2012.

Source: https://formulascout.com/sophia-floersch-wins-comeback-award/59797

This milestone builds on a landmark 2020 which saw the racer earn the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday for her racing return after her back-breaking Macau Grand Prix crash.

The 19-year-old was hospitalised with a spinal fracture after a spectacular crash in the 2018 Macau GP, that resulted in changes to the cars used in the race and the circuit itself for future races.

Floersch made her racing comeback in Formula Regional European Championship with Van Amersfoort Racing last year and finished seventh in the points. She then returned to Macau with HWA Racelab, but failed to finish due to mechanical issues.

Strong leadership shown by Alyssa Gagliardi with dual impact in PWHPA and NHL

Source: https://cornellbigred.com/news/2021/1/6/womens-ice-hockey-alumnae-spotlight-alyssa-gagliardi-14.aspx

Shortly after her family moved to North Carolina, Alyssa Gagliardi ’14 was faced with a decision – play all the way up at the Under-16 level with the only girls team within hundreds of miles or give up competitive hockey. Seventeen years later, she’s working toward ensuring that the next wave of great girls hockey players won’t be faced with the same dilemma.

Back in her hometown of Raleigh, Gagliardi has become a bastion for growing the women’s game at all levels. She serves as a board member for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, and she’s now on staff with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as the Girls’ and Women’s Youth and Amateur Hockey Specialist.

“I’m kind of lucky, because not many organizations are doing that quite yet,” Gagliardi said of her female-focused position, which was created about a year ago. “Some have female ambassadors or a one-off event here and there, but I was very fortunate that the Hurricanes are very committed to growing hockey in general. They don’t care if its girls, boys, adults, kids, whatever it may be. They want more hockey fans. … It’s really a testament to the people there that they’re focused on making North Carolina a good hockey state, and making Raleigh a great hockey town by creating more passion for the game.”

Alyssa Gagliardi competes for the Cornell womens hockey team in a game against Mercyhurst at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y. (Patrick Shanahan/Cornell Athletiics)Gagliardi’s new position comes within an organization that was once part of the NHL’s advances into non-traditional hockey markets during the 1990s. Once considered a niche sport, the league boldly pushed its footprint into warmer-weather climates. Expansion teams were granted for metropolitan areas like Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Anaheim. Through the decade, three teams also emigrated south – including the move of the Hartford Whalers to become the Carolina Hurricanes.

It was a move that was maligned by much of the hockey world – partly because of the Whalers’ relatively small but loyal fan base, and also partly because the team didn’t get off to a particularly hot start in the Tar Heel State. The Hurricanes had to play home games 90 miles from its base for the first two years in Carolina. Attendance lagged even into the team’s early years at the brand-new PNC Arena until a 2001-02 season that saw the Hurricanes advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

It was around that time when Gagliardi’s family relocated to the Raleigh area from Pittsburgh, where Alyssa was born. She played her first year in the area on a team primarily consisting of boys, but didn’t have that option the following year. The only way to keep playing was to compete with girls that were up to five years older than her at the time. But the establishment of the Hurricanes’ fan base would start to tickle down into all levels of youth hockey.

“It’s really cool to see the growth,” Gagliardi said. “When we moved here when I was 10, there was just boys hockey. Now there are two girls teams for every age level.”

After playing four years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a renowned prep school in Minnesota, Gagliardi was a preeminent two-way threat on the Big Red’s blue line for one of the program’s greatest four-year stretches. She racked up 87 points on 20 goals and 67 assists from 2010-14 while also accruing an astronomical plus-96 rating. Cornell qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of Gagliardi’s four seasons on East Hill, and she was a second-team All-America selection after a senior year in which she also served as a co-captain.

One of the experiences Gagliardi recalls fondly is the Cub Club, a behind-the-scenes hallmark of the Cornell women’s hockey program. A partnership with the Tompkins Girls Hockey Association, the program pairs local girls hockey players with a “big sister” on the Big Red. Cub Club members and their families are always found at Cornell home games, then they visit with their big sisters in the locker room after the contests.

“I loved the Cub Club. For me and so many of the women’s hockey players that have come through Cornell, it’s really helped spark some of the interest to help the next wave of players,” Gagliardi said. “My experience at Cornell helped stoke that passion a little bit of wanting to give back and be a role model or mentor. I just want to be someone young players can talk to and ask for advice, and then you can share your experience.”

That experience continued into the professional ranks. Gagliardi has the unique distinction of winning league titles in consecutive seasons with two different teams based in the same city – first with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Blades in 2015, then the National Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Pride in 2016. After three more years with the Pride, Gagliardi is now one of nine board members of the PWHPA – an organization formed in May 2019 to unite some of the world’s best players in an effort to pave the way for a sustainable professional women’s hockey league that can pay its players a living wage.

“It’s an interesting balancing act we’re in right now where you do want to make sure more and more girls are getting involved in hockey across North America and the world, but you also want to make sure they have a better future in the game, too,” Gagliardi said.

The PWHPA has 10 Cornell alumna among its membership. Like Gagliardi, Brianne Jenner ’15 serves on the board. Critics of the movement might say that it’s stunting the growth that women’s professional hockey has seen over the last 10 years – but proponents challenge just how professional the professional teams are. Player salaries have been more akin to part-time jobs, and there have been other contentious issues like health care and dissemination of league revenue.

“For so many people, you work all day and then you practice at night. You’re not really getting better,” Gagliardi said. “That was always so frustrating, especially after coming from Cornell with Doug and the coaching staff that we had and how committed everyone was to getting better. You didn’t have those resources when you left.”

The most likely path to the PWPHA’s goal would be through a partnership with the NHL mimicking what the NBA and WNBA have established over the last 23 years. The progress has been slow, but steady.

“We have a number of NHL teams that are looking to host an event and be a cause for the mission,” Gagliardi said. “To me, it’s just a no-brainer to invest in the women’s game, because it’s more fans and more revenue. It’s no longer just an all-boys club.”

And that’s where Gagliardi’s worlds with the Hurricanes and the PWPHA collide. While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed rollout of some of the programs she is leading, there is optimism that a green light will appear by the spring. It’s a progressive initiative that with success, would likely lead to other NHL teams adding similar positions – thus leading to growth, both for hockey in general and specifically for the women’s game. That growth and potentially direct involvement with the NHL could then theoretically pave the way for the professional league the PWPHA covets.

“No one’s expecting million-dollar contracts, but enough to actually live off of and not have to have a full-time job and not practice twice a week,” Gagliardi said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about for a more sustainable future for the game.”

Source: https://www.nhl.com/hurricanes/news/canes-hire-gagliardi-as-girls-and-womens-hockey-specialist/c-312782324

RALEIGH, NC – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has hired Alyssa Gagliardi as its Girls’ and Women’s Youth and Amateur Hockey Specialist.

“We’re excited to add Alyssa to our organization,” said Waddell. “We’re committed to growing girls’ and women’s hockey in our community, and she’ll be a major part of those efforts.”

In her role, Gagliardi will be involved in all aspects of the Hurricanes Youth and Amateur outreach efforts. Her focus will be to organize and run the team’s Girls and Women’s youth and amateur events, including leading the development of a Girls Continue to Play program, as well as new female camps and clinics. She will also teach floor hockey clinics at elementary and middle schools in North Carolina as part of the Industry Growth Fund in-school program and consult with other Female Hockey Ambassadors and Hockey Development Departments across the NHL to advise the club on female-focused initiatives.

As a player, Gagliardi tallied 25 points (3g, 22a) in 65 games with the National Women’s Hockey League’s (NWHL) Boston Pride. Named an NWHL All-Star in 2016 and 2018, she helped the Pride capture the Isobel Cup in 2016. Before joining the Pride, she registered four points (2g, 2a) in 21 games with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s (CWHL) Boston Blades and won a Clarkson Cup championship in 2015. Gagliardi is currently a player and board member with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA), which is aimed at promoting a single, viable professional women’s hockey league in North America. Born in Raleigh and raised in Cary, N.C., Gagliardi recorded 88 points (20g, 68a) in 138 NCAA games with Cornell from 2010-14 and captained the Big Red as a senior.

Britt Baker one of the rising stars in AEW

The last time that a dentist was used in wrestling dates back to 1995, when Glen Jacobs, who would craft a WWE Hall of Fame career as Kane, wrestled Bret “Hitman” Hart at an In Your House Pay-Per-View as Dr. Isaac Yankem.

Fast forward to 2021, and a real dentist, Britt Baker D.D.S. is among the stars of All-Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) women’s division. Testament to her potential as the future foundation of the burgeoning promotion involved her exhilarating match versus Thunder Rosa.

Billed as a Lights Out, No DQ Match, it marked a unique brush with history as the Baker vs Rosa confrontation marked the first time that a women’s match was the main event on AEW Dynamite.

Podcast brilliance adds lustre to career of multi-talented student athlete Finley Frechette

Source: https://cornellbigred.com/news/2021/3/29/womens-ice-hockey-frechettes-podcast-more-than-an-ode-to-just-hockey.aspx

ITHACA, N.Y. — When Finley Frechette recorded her final podcast, she struggled to get all the words out. But she did. Like a pro.

“I was saying goodbye to hockey, but also to this podcast that I put so much time into. It was kind of like a sense of saying goodbye to two really big things in my life.”

Frechette’s podcast, entitled “Over the Goal Line”, kicked off in January 2020 as a way of bringing the Big Red hockey community behind the scenes with the team. Months later, her storybook junior campaign was erased when COVID rushed the clock to midnight three weeks too early. Cornell, ECAC Hockey regular season champions and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, was less than 48 hours from beginning its quest for a national title. As she recorded her final podcast a year later, her senior hockey season had also been canceled and Frechette felt compelled to share her thoughts – about the sport she loved, about her family’s sacrifice and commitment, about her deep sense of gratitude for the ride she took.

“I psyched myself up because I really wanted to share this story with everybody. It’s my personal story, but it connects with everybody who’s ever witnessed loss. I knew that it was going to be relatable to everybody listening, in some sense.

A dual-sport athlete, Frechette’s final podcast, recorded this past January, seems even more relevant now. Months later, a second consecutive lacrosse season was shortened, bringing a new round of goodbyes. More than likely, and unbeknownst to her, the Ode to Hockey also functioned as a farewell to collegiate sports.

“At the time that I released the final podcast, we still had hope for lacrosse season, and we were all banking on it happening. I wanted to share my Ode to Lacrosse.”

“My love of lacrosse is so strong. I obviously committed to Cornell to play ice hockey, but in every meeting I had with any coach while getting recruited, I asked ‘would you be open to having a two-sport athlete’ because I was not ready to give up the sport of lacrosse. It was always the goal in the back of my head that I was going to be the person who plays two sports and who figures out a way to have it happen. I just really wanted to have a coach who was willing to let it happen. I ended up at Cornell and I’m so incredibly grateful for my lacrosse teammates and coaches who supported me on the ice and (her sister and teammate) Gillis as well. I was so excited when we were able to come back to lacrosse. My love for everybody in the program is so deep, it’s really hard for me to put into words. I’m just really grateful that people took a chance and allowed me to pursue my dream of playing two sports and keeping the dream of playing lacrosse alive.”

Frechette, along with producer Christopher Morales, released seven episodes of “Over the Goal Line” pre-COVID. They put out 17 more after it canceled sports at Cornell. While the focus of the stories changed, the medium allowed Frechette to branch out. She interviewed Olympian Brianne Jenner and ESPN personality Sarah Spain. She spoke with lacrosse teammate Ashleigh Gundy about allyship and combating racism. She turned the microphone on her family to discuss quarantining with the Frechettes.

All the while, it touched the Big Red hockey community and many more who came across it. She hopes that it gives Cornell fans a window into life as a student-athlete during these times.

As for Frechette, she’s hoping to continue finding her voice in the world of digital storytelling.

“I think that I have sort of the voice and the personality that goes along with audio storytelling. I don’t need to be in front of a camera to portray emotion or excitement, I can do that with my voice,” Frechette said. “It’s something that I’m really glad that I found out now because I can do something with it.

“I’ve found a true passion for audio storytelling through this podcast.”

Comeback of Alexis Davis among notable highlights in UFC’s early calendar of 2021 events

Source: https://www.thestar.com/sports/2021/02/27/canadian-ufc-fighter-alexis-davis-looks-impressive-in-first-win-in-19-months.html

LAS VEGAS – Canadian veteran Alexis Davis, fighting for the first time in 19 months, gave Sabina (Colombian Queen) Mazo a reality check en route to a unanimous decision win Saturday night on a UFC Fight Night card.

The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 30-26 for Davis, who used her grappling skills to blunt Mazo’s striking talent.

The 36-year-old Davis (20-10-0), who had shoulder surgery in early 2020, came into the bout on a three-fight losing streak. The 23-year-old Mazo (9-2-0) had won her last three fights.

Mazo looked to keep the flyweight matchup on the feet against Davis, who fought for the UFC bantamweight title in 2014, And she showed fast hands early in the fight until she went down trying to land a kick. Davis, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, got side control and then took Mazo’s back, finishing the round in control.

Davis kept lashing Mazo’s lead leg with kicks in the second round, looking to blunt Mazo’s striking edge. The Canadian took Mazo down late in the round. She used her ground skills to control Mazo, a former Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight champion.

“I like being on the ground. I’m comfortable there,” said Davis, a native of Port Colborne, Ont. who now makes her home in California.

Saturday’s main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility pitted Suriname’s Jairzinho (Bigi Boy) Rozenstruik, ranked fourth among UFC heavyweight contenders against No 7 Cyril (Bon Gamin) Gane of France.

Davis had her first pro fight in 2007, competing in Strikeforce and Invicta FC before moving to the UFC in 2013.

After three straight wins in the promotion, she faced (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey for the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 175.

Davis won three of her next four fights and took time off to have her son before dropping her last three outings. She also lost a decision to Viviane Araujo last time out at UFC 240 in Edmonton in July 2019. The defeat prompted her to seek help for her shoulder which had been damaged two fights earlier against Katlyn Chookagian in July 2018.

Moving back to bantamweight (135 pounds) after four fights as a flyweight (125 pounds), she is currently ranked 11th among flyweights.

Hockey humanitarian Devon Facchinato adds Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year Award

Source: https://www.ecachockey.com/women/2020-21/News/20210302_-_Mandi_Schwartz_Award

ALBANY, N.Y. — ECAC Hockey has announced that the winner of the 2021 Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year award is Cornell University senior Devon Facchinato.

The Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year award is presented annually to an ECAC Hockey women’s player in honor of former Yale University student-athlete Mandi Schwartz (1988-2011). Mandi passed away in April of 2011, but continues to inspire the entire hockey community through the memory of her courageous battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

Nominees for this prestigious award must be leaders within their teams, in the classroom, and in the community. For this season only, on-ice accomplishments were removed from consideration for this award.

Facchinato (Windsor, Ont.) is a senior Chemistry major. Since her start at Cornell four years ago, she’s been one of the top students in her class, and has established herself as one of the best teachers assistants within her major. She also serves as a tutor to fellow Cornell students.

One of Devon’s professors summed up her all-around excellence the best when he said “Devon is truly an exceptional athlete, student, and the finest young woman imaginable. I can imagine no one more better suited for this award.”

Within the Ithaca community, Facchinato has gotten involved in several areas, volunteering for Feed My Starving Children, Do It For Daron, Salvation Army, Big Sister, and the Cancer Resource Center. A diverse athlete, she’s also a volunteer soccer coach. Although many student-athletes are involved in community service efforts through their team, Devon has gone above and beyond what is expected of her, and taken on leadership roles in these efforts.

The senior boasts numerous academic honors, having been named to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic team three times, an All-American Scholar in 2018 and 2019, and an Appleby College Governor General’s Award recipient. She’s been on the Cornell University Deans list every semester since 2018, and was honored as the top Student-Athlete for the Big Red last season.

Elite Eight clash between UConn and Baylor holds championship game drama

Source: https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/ncaa-womens-tournament-controversial-ending-sends-uconn-to-13th-straight-final-four-after-defeating-baylor/

College basketball fans were in for a treat on Monday night, with a women’s NCAA Tournament game between UConn and Baylor that felt more like a championship matchup than an Elite Eight showdown. The game went down to the wire, but No. 1 UConn did what they seem to always do and punched a ticket to the Final Four, their 13th straight, with a 69-67 win.

Many crucial close games come with a bit of controversy and we got some opposing views from many on the ending of the close battle. On Baylor’s last position, people were calling for a foul on UConn, but nothing was called.

People pointed to a shot by Dijonai Carrington, saying she was clearly fouled.

NBA star LeBron James weighed in on the debate, saying, “Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!!”

Carrington hit four free throws in a row, putting Baylor down 68-67 with just 20 seconds to go. Christyn Williams was fouled and had the chance to hit two free throws, but missed them both, giving Baylor the chance to win.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Aaliyah Edwards were in the face of Carrington to stop her from making a game-winning shot for Baylor, the play that ended up leading to debate.

Before the controversial ending, both teams were putting in serious work, with UConn going on a 19-0 run at one point in the game and came back from a 10-point deficit.

Huskies’ Paige Bueckers ended the game with an impressive 28 points to lead the way for her team, getting help from Williams who recorded 21 points.

Celebrated sports broadcaster Lisa Bowes adds to her impact in Canadian sport with the “Lucy Tries” literary series

Source: https://caribu.com/2020/07/03/lucy-tries-author-lisa-bowes-when-kids-try-new-sports-they-build-resilience-and-healthy-lifestyles/ By Beth S. Pollak

When author Lisa Bowes began writing the books in her Lucy Tries Sports series, she knew that the stories would be about more than just playing.

“Lucy is a global perseverance champion for all kids,” she said. “I chose the word ‘tries’ in the title intentionally. It could have been ‘loves’ or ‘plays.’ But sometimes children quit sports too quickly. It’s important for them to try and persevere through challenges.”

The Lucy Tries Sports series is featured as part of #CampCaribu’s ‘Healthy Me’ category and summer reading challenge. All five books are available in Caribu’s in-app library, as well as translations to French. With sports opportunities limited during this time of social distancing, reading the books on a virtual playdate with Caribu can open the door to meaningful family conversations about teamwork and sportsmanship.

From Lucy Tries Basketball
Bowes points out that the lessons kids learn through trying sports can serve them in many areas of their lives. “Whether kids are learning to read or learning to kick a soccer ball, it’s worth it to stick with it. For example, in Lucy Tries Basketball, Lucy shoots and misses…more than once! From this, kids can learn that it’s okay if you miss; you should keep trying and make more attempts. This can help build resilience at a young age, and help kids overcome challenges later in life.”

Bowes is a veteran sports journalist, who has covered pro and amateur sports since 1989. She also has been the play-by-play voice for Canadian women’s hockey and basketball. Prior to working in media, Bowes graduated with a physical education degree.

“I was inspired to write these books once I became a parent; I wanted to educate parents and families about different sports, like luge and short-track speed skating.”

The Lucy books feature diverse characters with different skin tones and with different abilities, including Brett, one of Lucy’s friends who competes using a wheelchair in Lucy Tries Basketball. The stories are illustrated by Canadian artist James Hearne.

WNBA star Kia Nurse reads Lucy Tries Basketball

“Physical activity is important for everyone!” Bowes said. “Lucy and her friends are relatable characters. Children can see themselves in a Lucy book; and if they can see it, they can be it.”

The National Hockey League (NHL) has included Lucy Tries Hockey in its “Committing to Change” Resource Guide, which focuses on awareness, allyship, and advocacy for racial justice, diversity, and inclusion. It lists the book under “Children’s media to spark discussion.”

Bowes adds that she chose Lucy to lead the series in part to amplify a female athlete as a protagonist.

“A girl hero in the sports space is unique, overdue and awesome,” she said. “Little boys love Lucy too! The deep subtext is to take a look at what we can do to form the perception of girls from when they’re young. When kids see a strong and courageous girl character from an early age, this might influence their perception of how they see girls in their lives, and then later, women.”

Some of the Lucy books are endorsed by real-life sports heroes, like WNBA player Kia Nurse, ice hockey Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, who’s now a coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and ice hockey player Mark Giordano, captain of the Calgary Flames.

Foundational Skills

The Lucy Tries Sports books focus on skills for children’s social and emotional development that can help them become better athletes and team players. They build on principles of child development according to High Five, a Canadian organization that provides standards for children’s recreational programs.

High Five recommends that sports programs include:

A caring leader who provides supportive relationships that help children develop positive social skills, self-esteem, and self confidence. The opportunity to make friends: Positive peer interaction through environments that foster inclusion, acceptance, the opportunity for fun in constructive play, and the opportunity to develop and practice pro-social skills.

The opportunity to participate in ways that allow children to make choices, have a voice, and do things by and for themselves. The opportunity to play in a way that emphasizes fun, creativity, co-operation and imagination; and play that develops motor and social skills, cognitive function, and creativity. The opportunity to achieve mastery of activities and tasks through rich content-based learning with structured and unstructured strategies.

Lucy is a supportive teammate
Bowes’s commitment to these principles is evident in each of the Lucy stories. The books highlight supportive parents and coaches, cooperative friendships, entry points to participate in unfamiliar sports, and step-by-step breakdowns of new skills.

“Through my background in physical education and sports media, I wanted to be able to incorporate these principles into the Lucy books,” Bowes said.

Bowes reaches out to sports institutions and educational organizations to incorporate best practices and key reading goals into the books.

“I work with national sporting organizations so I can learn about the journey for a little one who wants to try the sport, and introduce fundamentals that will help them succeed. I speak with librarians and teachers, and I study early reading books so that I can tailor my stories for ages 3-8.”

The Lucy Tries Sports books also meet the goals of the The U.S. Olympic Committee’s American Development Model (ADM), which emphasizes universal access to sports opportunities; developmentally appropriate activities for motor and foundational skills; multi-sport participation; a fun and progressively challenging atmosphere, and quality coaching at all age levels.

Lucy’s Journey

When Bowes created the first book, Lucy Tries Luge, she was inspired partly by the success of the Canadian national team en route to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“Canada had a strong luge team. I really wanted to get the book out before the games. We donated 20,000 copies to local school boards ahead of the Olympics.”

Luge can be a dangerous sport that not many kids are able to access. However, Bowes uses Lucy’s experience to show a connection between luge and family sledding activities.

“When Lucy makes the connection between luge and tobogganing at home, it’s a connection other kids can make too, which makes the sport more approachable. This can help little kids in winter countries see themselves doing an Olympic sport. There are almost no other books about sliding sports—most books are about mainstream sports. Kids can feel like they are doing an Olympic winter sport when they go sledding.”

The USA’s luge team has celebrated the book and its messages. Luge athletes like Erin Hamlin and Chris Mazdzer have lent their support through read alouds and media postings, and it’s available in hardcopy at the Lake Placid Sliding Center.

Celebrating Friendships

Bowes’s second book, Lucy Tries Short Track, introduces readers to Lucy’s diverse group of friends. Even though Lucy doesn’t win the speed-skating race in the book, she shows good sportsmanship and cheers for the other kids. This teaches about healthy rivalries and celebrating friends’ wins.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids today who want to be the one who wins all the time,” Bowes said. “This book shows that there’s nothing wrong with not winning the game.”

She adds that the book offers an introduction to a less visible ice sport. “Some kids might not want to figure skate or play hockey, and those often seem like the only options. Speed skating is an opportunity to skate that is more low cost and accessible.”

Most of the Lucy books are available in French and simplified Chinese, as well as in English.

“Speed skating is extremely popular in Québec,” Bowes said. “There’s no way we couldn’t publish that in French! Hockey is also popular nationwide, and basketball is the fastest growing sport under age 16 in Canada, especially with the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA Championship win.”

Speaking of which, in Lucy Tries Basketball, one of the characters scores a “buzzer-beater” shot, similar to Kawhi Leonard’s shot at the end of Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals that led the team to the NBA Championship.

“It was kind of neat that I had written it that way before the finals,” Bowes said “I couldn’t have predicted it!”

Active Choices And Healthy Lifestyles

Bowes points out that the Lucy books can be resources to encourage kids and families to try a variety of activities and live healthy lifestyles. A recent report in Canada indicates that many kids do not spend enough time doing physical activities. Only 39 per cent of children (aged five to 11) and youths (12 to 17) met the national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, according to ParticipACTION, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living.

“Physical literacy is as important as math and reading,” Bowes said. “Being active means you can have a healthy life. Have kids try many different sports as opposed to specialization. Build a love of activity into your life.”

“Sign them up with friends. Make it easy for them to want to participate. Focus on the importance of having fun. No one needs to win at all costs.”

You can find all of the Lucy Tries Sports books in the Caribu library! They are featured as part of #CampCaribu’s summer reading challenge, and you also can find them in Caribu’s ‘Sports’ category. Download Caribu today to read with your family on a Caribu video-call, and check out #CampCaribu’s activity page to find discussion questions and a related art activity.

Follow Lisa Bowes on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisabowes

Hockey luminary Taylor Woods making her mark as elite trainer

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Such a statement represents the type of character and determination that has defined the compelling career of Taylor Woods. Employing said statement to another passion in her athletic endeavors, providing on-ice instruction and personal training, Woods aspires to inspire others to achieve their own personal goals.

Undeniably, Woods would achieve one of her own personal goals early in life, wearing Canada’s jersey at the tender age of 16, capturing a gold medal at the 2011 IIHF Under-18 Worlds. Accentuating a prodigious run for Woods during those formative years, the Morden, Manitoba native quickly emerged as a versatile competitor who could play forward and defense.

Showcasing her playmaking skills in the 2011 Canada Winter Games for Team Manitoba, along with skating for the Notre Dame Hounds at the Esso Cup, these moments would serve as prologue for further brilliance. Articulate and ambidextrous, Woods was a mutli-sport phenom, equally adept at Golf, Soccer, Softball, Badminton, Triathlon, Cross-Country.

Competing at the Ivy League level with the Cornell Big Red, graduating in 2016, earning Second-Team All-Ivy recognition, Woods tied for sixth in program history in shorthanded goals while placing tenth in shots on goal. Worth noting, her academic commitments at Cornell resulted in a B.S. in Communications. Of note, Woods’ thesis took on a sports theme, titled Collective Efficacy, Cohesion and Dyadic Relationship on Interdependent Sports Teams.

Following it up with three seasons spent as a member of the CWHL’s Thunder, hoisting the Clarkson Cup in 2018, Woods would also skate in the inaugural of both, the PWHPA (2019-20) and the Toronto Six (2020-21), the first Canadian franchise in the history of the NWHL.

Running parallel to Woods’ blossoming professional career, off-ice pursuits included Powerlifting, Weightlifting, Strongman, Functional Fitness. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS), an ISSA Master Trainer and a CF1 Trainer, her drive and discipline resulted in adding entrepreneur to an impressive list of credentials.

Launching TWoods Training, Woods would cover a spectrum of instruction. From services as a Personal/Group Trainer, to other specialized aspects, including the likes of Radar Hockey and Workload Performance, constituting the hockey side, and the coaching side of TWoods training, her acumen and strong work ethic are poised to yield positive results, influencing a new generation to achieve their own hockey dreams.

Source: https://twoodstraining.com/

Everything I am passionate about, everything I think about is demonstrated here.

Feel my hype and passion in person with TWoods Training! This is my funk and soul into all types of training I do – hockey and strength and conditioning. I will not shy away from bleeding my love for these two, and want to make this act and energy contagious to the people that I work with. Trying to work towards you goal by yourself can be a gruel and daunting task – mentally, physically, and emotionally – that’s why I want to be on your team and work with you!

My Training Style: I love to do a variety of training. Not one size fits all. I find challenges exhilerating and an opportunity to learn more about yourself and potential. If you think you can do something, then prove it. If you do something good, do it better. My training resembles classic S&C or strength and conditioning.

I mold my strength training surrounding 7 Foundamental Strength Movements – Squat, Hinge, Lunge, Vertical Push, Vertical Pull, Horizontal Push, and Horizontal Pull. Carries, core, locamotive movements, and evolving sport specific movements also compliment my strength routine. Conditioning is a mix of duration and intensities through many modalities including, running, biking, rowing, swimming, mixed modal, etc. I also incorporate the many “in between,” of pure strength and conditioning , with power and speed training including plyometrics, weightlifting, sports specific explosive and athletic development style training, and speed/agility/quickness drills.

An impressive display of Taylor Woods weightlifting with her skates on. (Photo credit: Heather Pollock)


Radar Hockey is the “sport specific,” or hockey side of TWoods Training. Some would say I was crazy, but my relentless pursuit to become the best player I am lead be down a path to skating 1000s of hours creating my own drills, becoming ambidextrous, applying physics and mechanics to understand hockey movements, and become the coach I am today.

THE SCIENCE behind RADAR: Radar is a system that constantly detects an object’s distance, direction, and speed in relation to time and space. This is exactly how players process in a game, except with more critical thinking and skill weapontry. I take a physics and mechanic perspective

THE ART behind RADAR: Radar is also a palindrome, meaning a word taht is the same forward and backward – just like I can shoot both left handed and right handed. This helps me mirror and work with players through situations, help them and me understand skills and concepts, and overall make sessions a learning and interactive dicussion and process vs. a coach and athlete type setting.

I believe the combination of the “science and art,” my passion and experience is a recipe to deliver an unique coaching perspective which will allow players to take more ownership in their own development, understand both the why and how with different skills and game situations, and always come more hungry and tenacious to become better then they were before.


Workload Performance is the programming and coaching side of TWoods Training! I’ve been programming for myself since I was 13, and put myself through the ringer of many test, stimuli, and periodized cycles. Some worked better then I expected, others didn’t, but I learned a lot within every cycle including exercise selection, frequency/intensity/volume, intent, velocity, mentality, etc. The truth is – I love to program. I think it shows intellegence in it’s own nature, as well displays creativity at the same time.

THE SCIENCE behind WORKLOAD – First, WORK (W) is asscociated with energy and is expressed with amount of forced needed/used and the distance required to perform the work prescribed. LOAD is the mass of an object with relation to it’s gravitational force (9.81 m/s^2 on Earth). Both these variables need to be taken into account to reach strength, conditioning, and performance gains.

Custom Toronto Six hockey card of Taylor Woods. (Image obtained from: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/woods-to-play-in-lake-placid-573201061.html. Disclaimer: Not recommended, endorsed or implied by the NWHL, Toronto Six, Taylor Woods or the Topps Company. No copyright infringement intended)

LOAD is the external properties that can manipulate the outcome of performance, This can be manipulated with the amount of mass put on a bar, other object, band tension (changing acceleration), chains (changing load at periods of time), etc. WORK can be the enternal and interal factors that can manipulate performance. One can always perform an exercise faster vs. slower (velocity), alter depth or distance travelled (viva biological length, ROM, or structural apparatus), with time under tension, capacity and threshold training, ways to increase neurological and phyisological potentiation, etc.

THE ART behind WORKLOAD – To some, my personal workload and volume with training and other daily acts is unthinkable and insane. However, I love what I do and I’ve built up (and keep building) the work to handle the load the challenges I pursue. I also understand that there are more factors that contribute to performing the WORK and LOAD prescribed that fall outside the hours of training, such as sleep, nutrition, recovery, variation and balance.

With my blend of “science and art,” passion, knowledge, and experience, I will get you the coaching and program that you need to get you over your plateau, improve movement quality and patterns, and ultimately get you achieving your goals!

Follow twoods training on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/twoodstraining/?hl=en