WWE’s list of 50 Greatest Female Superstars poised to stimulate discussion

Source: https://sportzwiki.com/wwe/wwe-reveals-50-greatest-women-superstars-names

Full list of WWE’s 50 Greatest Women Superstars
The show named WWE’s 50 Greatest Women Superstars can be watched on Peacock and the WWE Network

50 Toni Storm
49 Kaitlyn
48 Kay Lee Ray (current NXT UK Women’s Champion)
47 Sonya Deville
46 Shotzi Blackheart (current NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion)
45 Kelly Kelly
44 Candice LeRae
43 Nikki Cross
42 Layla
41 Ember Moon (current NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion)

40 Eve Torres
39 Lacey Evans
38 Jazz
37 Maryse
36 Nia Jax (current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion)
35 Bianca Belair
34 Carmella
33 Gail Kim
32 Jacqueline
31 Kairi Sane

30 Naomi
29 Bull Nakano
28 Ivory
27 Melina
26 The Bella Twins
25 Io Shirai (current NXT Women’s Champion)
24 Luna Vachon
23 Stephanie McMahon
22 Michelle McCool
21 Rhea Ripley

20 Natalya
19 AJ Lee
18 Shayna Baszler (current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion)
17 Paige
16 Sable
15 Molly Holly
14 Victoria
13 Alexa Bliss
12 Mickie James
11 Beth Phoenix

10 Bayley
9 Ronda Rousey
8 Lita
7 Alundra Blayze
6 Sasha Banks (current SmackDown Women’s Champion)
5 Asuka (current RAW Women’s Champion)
4 Chyna
3 Becky Lynch
2 Charlotte Flair
1 Trish Stratus

Brown Bears star forward Darby Melia makes mark in the community as hockey humanitarian

Source: https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/marshfield-mariner/2021/03/24/darby-melia-finalist-ecac-student-athlete-award/4790347001/3

Jay N. Miller Correspondent

Darby Melia was a standout ice hockey player at Thayer Academy before heading off to Brown University

MARSHFIELD – Darby Melia will miss hockey, and certainly has regrets that the pandemic took away her senior season at Brown University, but she’s been going full speed ahead on her academic pursuits, and has future plans that will keep her plenty busy.

Marshfield resident Darby Melia (10) just wrapped up her college hockey career at Brown University.
If the Ivy League’s suspending all sports for the winter season took away Melia’s eagerly awaited senior season with the Bears, she continued the outstanding academic achievement that earned her spots on the ECAC All-Academic Team each of her seasons at the Providence school. In fact this year she topped it off by being nominated and eventually a finalist for the ECAC’s prestigious Mandi Schwartz Student Athlete Award. An athlete from Cornell eventually won the award, but it was still another notation of the way Melia has been able to balance her academic and athletic careers in equal measure.

Melia is a Marshfield resident who graduated from Thayer Academy, where she was a standout on the hockey, field hockey and track and field teams, all while compiling a sterling academic record. Elected a three-year captain of the Thayer girls hockey team, she was an All ISL (Independent Schools League) selection twice, a Patriot Ledger All Scholastic, and the ISL Most Valuable Player.

In her junior year, Melia played in all 29 of Brown’s games, scoring four goals with an assist during that 2019-2020 campaign. It was her luck to be there just as Brown embarked on a rebuilding effort, so the Bears were a disappointing 3-23-3 that year, but an influx of substantial youthful talent boded well for this winter, which made it all the more frustrating when the Ivy League pulled the plug on all sports.

“Even though we didn’t have a season, we were able to get on the ice with the team,” Melia reported, by phone from her Providence digs. “Our freshman players got here in January, so we got to watch them and work with them, and I just loved their work ethic. Without being able to play, my role changed to that of a mentor to the underclassmen who will be coming back next year. We seniors tried to show them the right way to do things on and off the ice, and show them how to represent Brown University. So it was definitely disappointing not to be able to play, but I am excited about what’s ahead for the Brown women’s hockey program.”

“I’m just proud of my whole team at Brown,” Melia added. “Even if we couldn’t play games, everyone still kept showing up, everyone was in the gym every day, and all of the veteran players did all they could to welcome the freshman players into the program.”

One wrinkle in the pandemic situation that robbed many college athletes of their seasons is that the NCAA has made it easier for players to utilize an extra year of eligibility, so theoretically Melia could return to Brown.

“Yes, that extends to the Ivy League, which this year for the first time has said that we can take a fifth year,” said Melia. “I could do that, earn my master’s degree, and play another year, but I have already accepted a medical assistant’s position at the Greater Boston Gastro-Enterology program in Framingham. That is what I wanted to do, in an area I wanted to focus on, and to help me get into medical school. It’s a gap-year type of program, designed to be taken between your undergraduate years and medical school, where you can get direct clinical experience, and do research, and get mentoring by the best people in that field. I’m really excited to get started there.”

Coming from Thayer Academy, Melia was used to topflight competition, and she loved the Ivy League brand of hockey, even if the scoreboard wasn’t kind to the Bears in her last (junior) year.

“Oh I would’ve loved to play another season,” Melia said. “I really enjoyed all three years playing at Brown. My favorite part was the players and coaches. Even if we were rebuilding, everybody was just so determined to improve and supportive of each other. I was always 100 percent sure I made the right choice to come here. Whether in the weight room, the classroom, or the extra curriculars, It always knew that I was among a team of painfully intelligent women capable of achieving great things, and I was so proud to be around them. And looking ahead, we have a very talented freshman group that is really going to help this team improve.”

Away from the rink of course, as a Biology/Pre-Med major, Melia had a formidable class load. Yet she handled it with rare aplomb, as her many academic records prove. Clearly she must have extraordinary self-discipline and time management skills.

“I think my time at Thayer Academy made a huge contribution to that, because they prepared me so well,” said Melia. “As far as having to be a good time manager, Thayer did so much to foster and develop you as both a student and athlete, I really have to give them a lot of credit. I was a Peer Advisor for a couple years at Thayer, helping younger kids realize how to manage their time and academics. And now I’m doing the same thing at Brown. But no doubt, Thayer was integral in my development as both a student and athlete, and I am very grateful for that.”

Melia developed an interest and devotion to volunteering at Thayer, and that has also carried over to her college years. She’s done most of her volunteering lately at the Lawrence A. Aubin Child Protection Center, at Hasbro Childrens Hospital in Providence, where the focus is on treating and helping victims of child abuse.

“I volunteered in the children’s emergency room for a while, and then I moved on to just the general emergency room,” Melia noted. “I would say that volunteering at the Aubin Center has been probably my best experience. It’s really great to be able to help kids like that, and of course I have an interest in pediatrics anyway.”

So with her pediatrics interest, and her upcoming stint in the gastro-enterology facility, has Melia set her sights on any particular medical specialty?

“I am keeping my mind open to all the specialties,” she said. “Right now, I just want to soak up as much as I can.”

The Brown community and the city of Providence certainly offers some intriguing options for collegians looking for some fun, and after her four years there, did Melia enjoy her time there?

“Oh, I absolutely love the Brown, and Providence community,” Melia said with a chuckle. “Brown has such incredibly gifted students and faculty, and we also are able to enjoy some outreach into the Providence community. Recently in fact, we have been involved with starting a community outreach program to help expand awareness and access to the vaccine. We’re focusing on educating the public about the vaccines, and where to get them, and trying to help get the word out, especially among people who are not English speakers.”

And Melia as busy as she is, still finds some time for scratching that old hockey itch. She spent some time this winter “helping a bit” with the Thayer girls team.

“It was kind of a case of coming full circle I guess,” said Melia. “But I found it very rewarding. And I am so excited – I keep coming back to this – with the big freshman class we have coming into Brown. Their work ethic and leadership is off the charts.”

And the rest of us can rest assured, Melia knows about work ethic and leadership.

Lisa Haley makes the leap to role as NWHL Senior Vice President of Operations

Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/article/canadas-lisa-haley-named-nwhls-senior-vice-president-operations/

Lisa Haley’s burgeoning portfolio now includes the job of National Women’s Hockey League senior vice-president of operations.

The 47-year-old from Westville, N.S., is already head coach of both Ryerson University’s women’s hockey team, and the Hungarian team competing in May’s women’s world championship in Nova Scotia.

The six-team NWHL completed its sixth season Saturday when the host Boston Pride hoisted the Isobel Cup.

The league hired Haley to oversee multiple league operations including the draft, player development and relationships with other hockey entities.

“How I see it all fitting together is obviously tapping into all 24 hours of the day,” Haley told The Canadian Press.

“I think this role with the NWHL is one that I feel I can rely a lot on my past experience. The work won’t be easy, but it will be familiar just in terms of the hockey operations side of things, which is something I’ve been doing for the majority of my professional life.”

Haley, who lives in Cobourg, Ont., was an assistant coach of Canadian women’s teams that won Olympic gold in 2014 and a world championship in 2012.

She’s coached U Sports women’s hockey for more than 20 years, first with the Saint Mary’s Huskies in the Atlantic University Sport conference and then the Rams for the last decade in Toronto.

The NWHL, which pays annual player salaries reportedly up to US$15,000, expanded into Canada last year with the Toronto Six. The league has yet to confirm reports of further expansion into Montreal.

The Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Minnesota Whitecaps and Metropolitan Riveters (New Jersey) are the league’s American clubs.

The NWHL’s reach into Canada continues, however, with the addition of Haley to its front office.

“Lisa Haley has built a distinguished hockey career as a coach and player development leader in Canada,” NWHL interim commissioner Ty Tumminia told The Canadian Press in an email.

“Her relationships with stakeholders at both amateur and professional levels will help drive the continued growth of the NWHL and women’s hockey.”

Haley won’t speculate on what her hiring means for the NWHL’s relationship with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA).

PWHPA players, including the stars of the Canadian and American national teams, refuse to play in the NWHL as they seek a league that allows them to play hockey for a living, and provides the competitive supports the men’s pro leagues have.

Hockey Hall of Famer and four-time Olympic gold medallist Jayna Hefford is the face of the PWHPA.

She and Haley have a relationship because Haley coached her on the Canadian women’s team.

“I know Jayna Hefford well,” Haley said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. She’s got every intention to create a viable professional women’s hockey league as well.

“Whether that brings these two entities together or not, I guess that remains to be seen and that’s beyond something that I can control.

“I’m passionate about having a professional league and I’m willing to be part of what the conversation needs to look like for that to happen.”

Tumminia told CP in the email “we want everyone involved in women’s hockey to work together to advance the sport.”

The Rams’ 2020-21 season wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, Haley had time between trips to Hungary to join the Toronto Six as an assistant coach to Digit Murphy for a shortened season.

The NWHL attempted to run an abbreviated season and the Isobel Cup playoffs in Lake Placid, N.Y., over two weeks in late January and early February.

The league halted the season on the eve of the semifinals because several people tested positive for the coronavirus. The Isobel Cup was completed Friday and Saturday in Boston.

Conversations with Tumminia in Lake Placid led to Haley’s hiring.

“I had a lot to say to Ty in terms of how things were running with the tournament and in some aspects around the operations side of things, and just had a few questions,” Haley said.

“We both agreed we wanted to finish that conversation. She did reach out to me shortly after and talk about what type of knowledge I could bring and what the role could look like with the league.”

Tumminia, a former minor league baseball executive and owner, took over as interim commissioner last year for NWHL founder Dani Rylan Kearney.

“It didn’t take long in my conversations with Lisa to understand and appreciate just how passionate she is about the women’s game and her motivation to help strengthen and grow the NWHL,” Tumminia said.

“Her depth of knowledge in the sport and in particular with player development and scouting is an area I value given my own experiences in baseball.

“We spoke about how we can grow those areas in our league and elevate our player draft and free agency process.”

Haley wasn’t behind the Six bench with Murphy last Friday, when Toronto fell 6-2 to the Pride in the semifinal.

Haley intended to fly from Budapest directly to Boston after a women’s team camp, but found out U.S. travel restrictions don’t allow travellers from Hungary to enter the country.

She instead headed home to Ontario to observe the 14-day quarantine mandated by the Canadian government.

Canadian midfielder Jordyn Listro joins Kansas City NWSL expansion team

Source: https://www.kshb.com/sports/local-sports/kansas-city-nwsl/kansas-city-nwsl-acquires-midfielder-jordyn-listro-via-trade

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ten days before its inaugural match after returning from Utah, Kansas City NWSL bolstered its midfield in a trade Tuesday with the Orlando Pride.

Kansas City NWSL acquired midfielder Jordyn Listro in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Draft.

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Based on Listro’s certain conditions, which likely include Listro’s playing time and production, the pick could become a second-round selection in the 2022 or 2023 draft.

Listro, 25, is Canadian. She appeared in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and joined the full Canadian National Team for the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, appearing in two games.

“We were very impressed with her when we played Orlando earlier this preseason,” Kansas City NWSL coach Huw Williams said in a statement. “Jordyn plays with an aggressive mentality, and we think she is a young player on the rise.”

Listro played collegiately at the University of South Florida, where she appeared in a school-record 82 games. She started her professional career with UDG Tenerife in Spain’s Primera Division, the top flight for women’s soccer.

She made three appearances, all starts, in the NWSL’s 2020 Fall Series for the Pride, picking up a yellow card in each match.

Kansas City NWSL opens its debut season April 9 at the Portland Thorns in the 2021 Challenge Cup.

After another road game April 20 at the Chicago Red Stars, Kansas City NWSL makes its home debut at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 26, against the Houston Dash at Field of Legends in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Kansas City NWSL players played for the Utah Royals FC, which ceased operations after three seasons (2018-20).

The original KC_based NWSL franchise, FC Kansas City, shut down after five seasons (2013-17) and became the Utah Royals.

Florida Marlins GM Kim Ng adds to Yankees linkages with franchise

When the Florida Marlins upset the heavily-favored New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series, no one could have foreseen the impact that the Yankees would eventually have on the South Florida franchise. Starting with legendary Yankee shortstop, and Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter taking on an ownership position, the franchise would welcome another iconic Yankee.

Known affectionately as “Donny Baseball”, Don Mattingly, the face of the Yankees during the 1980s, enjoying an American League MVP award and a batting title, would call Jeter a teammate during his rookie season of 1995. Having crafted a great career as a field manager, Mattingly would join the Marlins after a number of solid seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Adding to the growing Yankee connection with the Marlins is the arrival of Kim Ng, whose appointment as General Manager represents a special brush with baseball history. Becoming the first female GM in the history of Major League Baseball, Ng comes to the franchise after a long run in the Yankees front office. A member of the Yankees organization during its last World Series championship (2009), the onset of Opening Day 2021 brings with it the promise of a young Marlins franchise hoping to bring a third world championship to South Florida.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2021/02/23/kim-ng-miami-marlins-gm-spring-training/4556908001/

Kim Ng is so attuned to the rhythms of baseball that for the past three months, ever since the Miami Marlins hired her as the first woman general manager in major league history, her thoughts have bounced between the familiarity of her life’s work and the groundbreaking nature of it.

With more than two decades of front-office experience, including stints as assistant general manager of the Dodgers and Yankees, Ng’s internal clock turned right back on after the Marlins hired her in November – from the incessant drumbeat of the off-season, to pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training, and finally to Tuesday morning, a touchstone moment when the full Marlins roster, constructed in part by her, gathered in Jupiter, Florida for the first full workout.

On one hand, it was no big deal – Ng has been here before and will act as such.

Yet after more than a dozen interviews for GM jobs she did not get, followed by a decade working in Major League Baseball’s central office, it dawned on her how long she’d been away from a team, from this day.

And as the rain cleared out and sunshine illuminated Palm Beach County, this would be her team taking the field.

 “It’s my first as a general manager,” Ng said Tuesday on a video call with media, “but I think it’s also my first spring training in a long time, and that definitely adds to it. And as I’ve sat here the last week or so with these guys, it all comes back to me very naturally and in my head I’ve thought, ‘This is what I’ve done for most of my career,’ and nothing has taken me by surprise, yet, which is a good thing.

“Having been here before as an assistant general manager for 13 years and knowing how spring training goes – those are all things of comfort. You just realize you’ve been here before.

“The only thing really different is, now you get to make the decisions.”

And in a Marlins organization filled with young and emerging players, there will be plenty to make.

Ng and the baseball operations department she helms have already fine-tuned a club that snagged a berth in the expanded 2020 playoffs and promptly swept the Chicago Cubs out of them. Slugger Adam Duvall, non-tendered by the Braves, is the new left fielder. The bullpen has been almost completely remade. A veteran starter may yet join a group of power arms led by Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez.

And Ng says she was most intrigued to put her eyes on a second base derby among Jon Berti, Isan Diaz and Jazz Chisholm. To get on the field level and see why shortstop Miguel Rojas is so valued throughout the organization.

It will be a welcome close-up after the enduring restrictions wrought by COVID-19 cancelled or disrupted many annual rites. The GM meetings were cancelled, the winter meetings, such as they were, held virtually.

And on the day pitchers and catchers reported, so, too was another ritual – addressing the squad.

The Marlins did the best they could, gathering the reported players and looping in the whole squad on Zoom. Principal owner Bruce Sherman spoke, as did club CEO and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

The Marlins were the first club battered by the coronavirus, losing 18 players within the season’s first week, yet former GM Michael Hill cobbled together reinforcements and made the playoffs with a 31-29 record.

Hill and the Marlins could not agree on a new contract after the season, and Hill joined MLB as a vice president of on-field operations.

That opened the door for Ng’s historic hire, which resonated worldwide. International operations were part of Ng’s purview at MLB and she heard from colleagues in China, friends in South Africa who saw her hiring in the newspaper, and associates in South America.

Now, it’s time for the grind, historic and unremarkable at the same time. She and manager Don Mattingly talk almost every day, “kind of a typical relationship with the general manager,” he notes.

The spring days are long. Ng has taken up running again, brought her tennis racquet but needs a partner, and managed a walk on the beach the other day, to “clear the head.”

“I’d play golf,” she says, “but golf takes too long. That’s five hours I cannot spare.”

Not when you’re calling the shots.

Mountaineers alum Rylee Foster back with Liverpool Women’s FC

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/article-canadian-goalkeeper-rylee-foster-signs-new-contract-with-liverpool/

Rylee Foster came to Liverpool from West Virginia University, where she had 39 clean sheets in 84 appearances for the Mountaineers.

Canadian goalkeeper Rylee Foster has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool.

The 22-year-old from Cambridge, Ont., originally signed with the Liverpool women in January, 2020, arriving four games before the first pandemic lockdown hit.

“Rylee’s been a key part of the squad since Day 1. She has enormous potential and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Rylee in the future,” interim Liverpool manager Amber Whiteley said. “It’s fantastic news. She is certainly going to help drive this team and this club forward.

“She’s a fantastic character to have both on and off the pitch, she brings a tremendous energy to our team and she’s really supportive of those around her.”

Foster grew up a Liverpool supporter. Her grandparents were born in Wavertree, a part of Liverpool near where Foster lives these days.

“To have another contract with the club I love is an honour,” Foster told the Liverpool website. ““Knowing that the club trusts in me and has a vision for me to go forward here, it was a no-brainer opportunity for me to be a part of a group that’s going to build forward momentum.

“Right now it’s a very challenging time for a lot of people and I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to secure my future and know that no matter what I’ll be with a great club, a great staff and with great people all around me all the time.”

Foster came to Liverpool from West Virginia University, where she had 39 clean sheets in 84 appearances for the Mountaineers.

Foster shares goalkeeping duties with Rachael Laws at Liverpool, with most of her action coming in cup competition.

Foster, who made her full debut in the 3-1 Continental Cup victory over Manchester United in October, made her league debut for Liverpool in a 1-1 draw Sunday with Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

Liverpool (9-3-5) currently stand third in the second-tier FA Women’s Championship.

Foster was part of Canada’s squad at the SheBelieves Cup in February but has yet to win a senior cap.

Kaleigh Fratkin’s Isobel Cup triumph one of the seminal moments of women’s ice hockey in 2021

A long-time fixture in women’s ice hockey in New England, dating back to the beginning of the 2010s, when she embarked on a brilliant four-year career with the Boston University Terriers, Kaleigh Fratkin’s legacy was destined to expand in the hockey hotbed. With a career defined by both, brilliance and perseverance, another important feature for the celebrated Fratkin would include patience.

Joining the CWHL’s Boston Blades for the 2014-15 season, it would prove to be a magical campaign. Playing alongside the likes of fellow rookies Corinne Buie, Denna Laing and Janine Weber, they were part of a sensational roster that defeated long-time rival Montreal in a thrilling Clarkson Cup overtime win.

With the onset of the NWHL in the autumn of 2015, Fratkin would join an exodus of talent in the new league. Becoming the first Canadian-born player to sign with the league, Fratkin, who served as an assistant captain with the Connecticut Whale continued her Boston ties. A New Year’s Eve game found Fratkin loaned to the Boston Pride for one day. Competing in a historic outdoor game, there was a unique linkage to her CWHL roots, as the Pride challenged Montreal at Gillette Stadium.

By season’s end, which also included an appearance in the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game, back in Whale colors, the inaugural Isobel Cup eluded Fratkin. With the Boston Pride capturing the inaugural Cup, numerous former teammates from the Boston Blades, now decked in Pride colors, making history as the first women to have won the Clarkson and Isobel Cups in a career, no one could have foreseen that Fratkin’s career would continue for several seasons without the Isobel Cup on her sparkling resume.

Signing with the New York Riveters for the 2016-17 season, where her point total dropped from 17 to 6 points, Fratkin’s third NWHL season would see her back in familiar territory. Wearing the black and gold of the Boston Pride, the franchise would descend into the doldrums. Remaining a strong leader for the franchise, attempting to drive the Pride back in a competitive direction, Fratkin’s presence proved essential during a rebuild.

Certainly, her efforts would pay strong dividends heading into a new decade. Racking up a superlative 23 points during a 2019-20 season that saw the Pride finish first overall in the league standings, Fratkin earned recognition as the Defensive Player of the Year. With the Pride qualifying for the Isobel Cup Finals, ready to face off against the defending champion Minnesota Whitecaps, Fratkin’s opportunity to hoist an elusive Cup was not meant to be.

As the fifth Isobel Cup Finals were shelved, due to a sporting world turned abruptly upside down due to the pandemic, history was paused, as both the Pride and Whitecaps were looking to be the first franchise to capture the hallowed Cup twice. For a player of Fratkin’s calibre, whose season included the milestone of 60 career points and 75 career games, a Cup triumph would have served as a career triple crown.

Among a rare sorority of wondrous women, including teammate Jillian Dempsey and Riveters mainstay Madison Packer, who have played in every NWHL season, the spectre of having to wait another year for a chance at Isobel seemed in despair once again. With the pandemic continuing to cancel numerous seasons in 2020-21, including USports hockey in Canada, plus the Ivy League in the United States, the possibility of a sixth NWHL season seemed in doubt.

With the historic hockey city of Lake Placid, New York serving as a “bubble”, the month of January 2021 allowed an opportunity for NWHL hockey to resume. Undoubtedly, Fratkin eastbaliehd herself as an impact player for the Pride, amassing a solid nine assists in seven games played. As a side note, her best performances included a pair of three-assist efforts versus the Buffalo Beauts on January 24 and 31, winning in both games.

Although the dream of an Isobel Cup was temporarily out of reach again. As the Buffalo Beauts and Riveters had to drop out due to players testing positive for the pandemic, the playoffs were shelved.

Fortunately, destiny allowed for a chance at redemption. With the expansion Toronto Six finishing in first place, aspiring to win an Isobel Cup in their inaugural season, there was a feeling of full circle for Fratkin. Coincidentally, the Six head coach was Digit Murphy, who served as Fratkin’s first head coach in professional hockey, capturing the 2015 Isobel Cup.

Adding to the coincidence was the fact that Pride captain Jillian Dempsey, who would go on to capture 2021 playoff MVP honors, was also a member of that 2015 championship team. Worth noting, Lexie Laing, whose older sister Denna Laing was a teammate of Fratkin’s on the Blades, played with the 2020-21 edition of the Pride.

Considering that the Pride were the fourth-seeded team, they did not enter their playoff match as the favorite. Having lost to Toronto by a 2-1 mark on January 26, the March 26 rematch saw the Pride explode for a six-goal outburst, prevailing in a solid 6-2 triumph, with goaltender Lovisa Selander recording 23 saves.

Testament to the sense of parity prevalent throughout the league’s existence, dynasty and destiny collided as the Pride and Whitecaps returned to the Isobel Cup Finals for the second straight season. Fittingly making up for the game that never was, there was a strong sense of serendipity as Fratkin rose to the occasion, playing the game of her life.

With Minnesota’s Allie Thunstrom scoring the only goal of the first period, the second period resulted in three unanswered goals from the determined Pride. With goals by Mary Parker, Dempsey and Laing, the tide had turned in their favor, heading into the second intermission with a 3-1 advantage. As a side note, Fratkin and Christina Putigna would earn the assists on Laing’s goal.

Twenty minutes away from a chance at a long-sought after Cup, it would be hard-earned as Thunstrom opened the scoring in the third period, chipping away at the Pride’s lead. With a power play opportunity in the second half of the third period, as Lisa Martinson was called for tripping, Fratkin may have logged the most impactful assist of her storied career.

Collaborating with Parker, the two would contribute the assists on a goal by rookie Taylor Wenczkowski. In spite of the Whitecaps scoring a third goal with less than a minute remaining, Selander remained poised between the pipes recording a 27-save performance, allowing Fratkin an opportunity to enjoy a treasured, and well-deserved, milestone six seasons in the making.

USA Today’s outstanding “Decade of the Woman” piece highlights the future leaders of sport

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/sports/2021/03/22/decade-woman-they-dominate-sports-over-next-ten-years/4550167001/?itm_source=oembed&itm_medium=onsite&itm_campaign=storylines&itm_content=news&itm_term=3054672002

Her name is Nicole Lynn. If you don’t already know about her, it’s likely you will soon.

Lynn is an agent and attorney and in 2019 she became only the third woman, and the first Black woman, to represent a top-three NFL draft pick when University of Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams was picked third by the New York Jets. Lynn represents NFL players, football coaches, professional softball players, broadcasters and entertainers.

“I wanted to do this but I never knew it was called a sports agent,” Lynn told USA TODAY Sports. “I wanted to work with athletes, I wanted to help them retain their wealth but I didn’t know that that was the name of a sports agent. I feel like this job is meant for the boy’s club, specifically white males, and it is mostly because we didn’t know about it.

“The boundaries to entry are huge. I wanted to make sure everybody knew this is what I do, this is how I do it, and give them the steps to do it…my biggest goal is that when I look back in 20 years on my career people can say, ‘I became a sports agent because of you, because I saw it was possible.’”

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Analysis: Already a star, on court and off, Osaka eyes more

Maia Chaka, NFL’s first Black female official, is a teacher whose conflict-resolution skills will be key on field

In 2020, across all of sports, women broke barriers.

Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a major college football game. Becky Hammon became the first woman to serve as head coach during an NBA game. The WNBA and its players’ union announced a groundbreaking eight-year labor deal that raised salaries and guaranteed benefits to players on maternity leave. Kim Ng became MLB’s first woman general manager.

What’s become clear is that last year was a launching point for a significant movement. In 2021, and perhaps for the next 10 years, and beyond, women will likely continue what they began.

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In some ways that’s already started. The NFL announced this month that Maia Chaka was added to the roster of game officials for the upcoming season, making her the first Black woman in league history named to the NFL’s officiating staff.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a statement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

The list was narrowed, and of course there are other worthy candidates, like South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who turned the Gamecocks into a national power, reaching nine NCAA tournaments, and winning a national title. She’s only the second Black woman coach to win a title after Purdue’s Carolyn Peck.

Yes, there are other key women, but these are our best.

Early in her career Lynn admired Kelli Masters, an agent and a practicing attorney, and wants to positively impact them the way Masters did her.

“There might not be a seat at the table for them yet,” Lynn said, “but they can bring their own chair and they can make room. And hopefully one day, the whole table is ours.”

During Women’s History Month we look at what could be the Decade of the Woman. Here are some of the women who will make that happen:

Her story: Hill is a veteran of ESPN where she co-hosted SportsCenter. She was targeted by President Donald Trump and his administration after calling Trump a white supremacist. She’s since moved to Vice TV where she co-hosts a television show with Cari Champion, another former ESPN anchor.

Why she’s key: Hill recently signed a deal to host a podcast network to elevate Black women. There are few people in the sports media who will have a greater influence than Hill. It’s likely she won’t just have an impact on the coming decade in sports, her voice will help shape it.

Her story: Michele Roberts is the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. In 2014, she became the first woman to lead a major professional sports union in North America. In March of 2020, Roberts announced that she was stepping down from her role, but when the NBA season came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, she put her retirement plans on hold to better assist the players she represents.

Why she’s key: Roberts played a significant role in not just the NBA successfully playing during the pandemic in a secure bubble, but helping to shape protocols that kept players safe. She also facilitated financial negotiations and aided the league’s effort with social justice messaging.

Her story: Sarah Thomas, 47, finished her sixth season in the NFL by becoming the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl in league history as a down judge.

“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent Sr. “Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor.”

Why she’s key: Thomas’ journey to Super Bowl 55 serves as an example of how impactful and inclusive officiating crews can be. She paved the way for girls to see themselves as an NFL game official. That’s no small feat.

Her story: Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, the first Black woman CEO in the NBA, was hired by the Dallas Mavericks in 2018. One of the main reasons owner Mark Cuban hired Marshall, 61, was for her to help repair a toxic workplace culture.

Why she’s key: As the first Black woman to lead an NBA team, Marshall has guided the Mavericks to become the standard for diverse and inclusive practices in the league. Just several weeks after joining the team she implemented a 100-day plan to create a non-hostile work environment. When named CEO, none of the existing employees on the executive leadership team were women or people of color. Today the leadership team is 50 percent women and 47 percent people of color.

“I want to make sure I do a good job, be a good role model and show that it shouldn’t be unusual for a Black woman to be in a job like this,” she said. “I want to make sure I’m working and others are working to cultivate the second, third, fourth and fifth one that’s coming. I want to make sure I’m not the last. I can’t be the last, and I won’t be the last. I know I won’t be.”

Her story: Kim Ng, the general manager of the Miami Marlins, is the first woman general manager in the four major North American professional sports leagues, and baseball’s first East Asian American GM. She began her baseball career as a Chicago White Sox intern and ascended to assistant director of baseball operations for the franchise. Ng next worked for the American League before joining the New York Yankees where she became the youngest assistant general manager in the major leagues at age 29.

“This challenge is one I don’t take lightly,” she said. “When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.”

Why she’s key: Ng possessed one of the greatest resumes of any first-time general manager in league history. She’s important not solely because she’s proved to be a talented baseball executive, but she also serves as something almost as important: a role model for girls and women. Ng led MLB’s initiatives to improve the quality of play and rate of participation for amateur baseball around the world, while also supervising player initiatives for women and girls, and serving on the league’s Diversity Pipeline Advisory Committee.

Her story: Lesa France Kennedy is the Executive Vice Chair of NASCAR. Kennedy notably oversaw two major racetrack development projects in building Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway and expanding NASCAR’s portfolio into two major Midwest markets. She also led the revitalization of Phoenix Raceway completing its renovation in 2018 and Daytona International Speedway’s $400 million redevelopments in 2016. Prior to becoming Executive Vice Chair of NASCAR, Kennedy served as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), a motorsports entertainment company acquired by NASCAR in October 2019.

Why she’s key: Kennedy’s work in the motorsports industry has landed her on Forbes’ “Most Powerful Woman in Sports” twice and in 2014 received a “Women Making History” award from the National Women’s History Museum. Kennedy’s influence and power reach beyond NASCAR.

She’s established herself as one of the most powerful people across all of sports.

Her story: When Becky Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs in August 2014, she became the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in any of the four North American major men’s professional sports leagues. She was the first woman to be the head coach during a regular-season NBA game when she stepped in for head coach Gregg Popovich after he was ejected in the first half of the Spur-Lakers game last season.

Why she is key: It seems only a matter of time before Hammon becomes a head coach in the NBA. That’s something that could easily happen in this coming decade.

Her story: Amber Nichols is the general manager for the Capital City Go-Go, the G League affiliate of the Washington Wizards. Nichols played college basketball at Richmond and has worked for the Go-Go since the team’s inception in 2018. Nichols managed the team’s logistics and worked with the Wizards’ front office during NBA and G League drafts and scouting events prior to becoming general manager.

Nichols was excited but also introspective when she was announced as general manager in January. 

“Finally. All my hard work paid off,” Nichols told USA TODAY Sports. “Then there was a little bit of, ‘Now the pressure is on. What can I do to ensure that I am my most successful in this role?’ The pressure is a mix of a couple of things. First and foremost, I am 28 years old and a lot of people in this position are older than me. So what can I do to stand out? What type of leader do I want to be? Will the guys respect me?”

“I am a female. I have the pressure of succeeding in this role so that it can open up other opportunities for other young women one day.”

Why she’s key: Nichols joins Tori Miller of the College Park Skyhawks as the second woman to hold a general manager position in the G League. Nichols hopes that position will give a visual representation of what young girls can become.

“Don’t let a no or a closed-door detour you,” Nichols said. “Just keep chipping away at what you want and keep your head down and keep working. You will be surprised how your hard work and dedication to something will manifest into an opportunity for you out of nowhere.”

Her story: As the highest-earning female athlete in the world, 22-year-old Naomi Osaka uses her platform to bring awareness to racial inequality.

Why she’s key: From bearing the names of victims of racial profiling, or police violence, on her mask during the U.S. Open in 2020, to using her social media platforms as a vehicle for advocacy for communities of color, Osaka’s influence on younger generations of athletes (and others) will grow for years to come.

Her story: It was the 2016 Rio Olympics when the world watched Simone Manuel make history. Manuel became the first Black swimmer to win gold in an individual event. Manuel is also the first woman to win seven medals at a single world championship, and the first Black woman to sweep the 50- and 100- meter freestyle titles at worlds.

Why she’s key: At 24, Manuel is positioned to dominate the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and sees the moment as a chance to use her platform to advocate for diversity in the predominantly white sport of swimming.

“When I’m in a press conference and I’m asked, ‘Simone, you champion diversity, inclusion and equality. Why is that important?’ I genuinely believe that every other swimmer that is next to me, whether they’re white, Black, Asian, they need to answer that question,” Manuel said on USA TODAY Sports’ “Changing the Game” podcast.  “Because shouldn’t diversity, equality and inclusion be important to all of us? It can’t just be important to Black people.”

Her story: Christina Hovestadt is a community relations manager in the NFL. Hovestadt founded A Seat At The Table (ASAT), a community of women in sports and entertainment who are “dedicated to equipping and empowering the next generation of female game-changers through mentorship.” As a former collegiate volleyball player and former high school coach and educator, Hovestadt knows about the impact teachers and coaches can have on young lives. 

Why she’s key: In addition to her work in the NFL, Hovestadt is aware that women need mentors like her.

“I have a great support system, but when it came to my career, I never really had people that were willing to reach back and help me,” Hovestadt told USA TODAY Sports. “I really just want to be the mentor and gather a bunch of other women in the industry to be the mentors that we wish we had. At the end of the day, if you are going to pass the baton or if you are going to empower the next generation, you have to be intentional with the position that you have been given.”

One of the ASAT mentors, MJ Acosta-Ruiz is the first and only Afro-Latina to host a show on NFL Network.

“A Seat At The Table was actually birthed from a dinner that MJ and I hosted,” said Hovestadt, a dinner for a community of women in sports that further sparked the idea to make ASAT a more influential organization.

Her story: The U.S. women’s national team midfielder is at the forefront of the fight for equal pay for the national women’s soccer team, and throughout 2020, Rapinoe used her platform to advocate for voting rights and racial equality. She’s become one of the leading voices for equality in all of sports.

Why she’s key: Rapinoe has never shied away from speaking out against systemic injustices and speaking up for LGBTQIA+ rights and as long as she has a voice, she will use it to advocate for the underrepresented communities.

Their story: In 2020 few professional sports teams, if any, were more vocal, and effective, in using their platform to fight systemic racism, and fight for voter rights, than the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

One of their most fearless acts was opposing the candidacy of former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was co-owner of the Dream. Loeffler was an opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement and made a number of statements that were in direct contradiction to the WNBA’s anti-racism message.

So the Dream worked to get Loeffler’s opponent in the run-off election, Raphael Warnock, elected instead of her. That’s exactly what happened and it can be easily argued it wouldn’t have without the Dream.

Why they’re key: The Dream organization and its players serve as an example to teams across the nation on how to effectively mobilize and organize efforts for lasting change. Whether it is championing the Black Lives Matter movement, empowering women and women of color, or supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, the Dream show no signs of slowing down their support for progressive social change.

Longhorns volleyball superstar Logan Eggleston gets the trading card treatment

Following fellow volleyballers Holly McPeak and Ebony Nwanebu, University of Texas superstar Logan Eggleston has gained the trading card treatment courtesy of Sports Illustrated Kids.

Source: https://cartophilic-info-exch.blogspot.com/2021/03/sports-illustrated-for-kids-sports_20.html

Source: https://texassports.com/sports/womens-volleyball/roster/logan-eggleston/10538

3x Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week (9/29, 10/6, 10/13).

2019: AVCA Second Team All-America … VolleyballMag.Com Second Team All-America … NCAA Austin Regional All-Tournament Team … 2019 All-Big 12 First Team Unanimous … 2019 Academic All-Big 12 First Team … 2019 Shocker Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Team … Preseason All-Big 12 … Big 12 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll

2018: Big 12 Freshman of the Year … … Provo Regional All-Tournament Team … AVCA All-America Honorable Mention … Southwest Region First Team … All- Big 12 First Team … Big 12 All-Rookie Team … Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year … selected to U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in 2018.


Played in all 14 matches and all 50 sets during the fall schedule…finished second in the Big 12 Conference with a 4.62 hitting percentage and 231 kills…her 4.62 kills per set ranked seventh in the NCAA during the fall…named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks to start the season…had season-high 22 kills in the win over Baylor (11/6)…recorded three double-doubles on the season…led the Longhorns in kills in 13-of-14 matches.

Played in all 27 matches and 98 sets … put down 347 kills, averaging 3.54, while hitting .314 … dished out a personal-best 52 aces on the season, good for 0.53 aces per set, which is second all-time for aces per set in a single season in the Longhorn record book … scooped up 214 digs, for 2.18 … added 58 blocks for 0.59 per set … averaged 4.38 points per game … opened the season with 13-straight double-digit kill performance including a career-best 25 kills against BYU (9/13) … against West Virginia (11/3), Eggleston put down 13 kills without an error on 18 attempts for a career-best .722 hitting percentage … finished the season with nine double-doubles … dished out a career-high five aces on three occasions, vs. USC (9/1), vs. Baylor (10/23), and at Oklahoma (11/8).

Posted 312 kills (3.12/set) on a .278 hitting percentage in her freshman season … Recorded 22 aces (0.22/set), 97 digs (0.97/set), and 52 blocks (0.52/set) … Had a career-best 18 kills at Kansas State and a .609 hitting percentage vs. Texas State …Posted a career-best 10 digs vs. Iowa State and six blocks at Oklahoma.

Uno Latu excels as she breaks barriers in wrestling

Source: https://www.deseret.com/sports/2021/1/12/22218128/high-school-wrestling-all-star-duals-includes-30-girls-like-uno-latu-time-of-her-life

A year ago, Uno Latu was preparing for the Hunter High rugby season. On Tuesday night, she was at Telos High in Orem competing in her 16th match at the Ross Brunson Utah All-Star Duals wrestling tournament.

The tourney attracted about 120 of Utah’s best high school wrestlers, including 30 girls, who are having the time of their lives in the inaugural year as a Utah High School Activities Association sanctioned sport.

Latu is just one of three girls on Hunter’s squad. She was thrilled to defeat Taimane Fiatoa of Timpview in the 140-pound division.

“My curiosity got the best of me with wrestling,” she said. “I wanted something different. I wanted something aggressive and hard, and wrestling is the hardest sport there is.”

She said about 60 Hunter wrestlers (boys and girls) showed up for the first day of practice, but after a difficult first session, only half returned the next day. But she didn’t feel out of place, even though she has often had to practice against boys to prepare for matches against her own gender.

“The boys told me not to quit,” she said. “I was getting beat up by the boys, but it only made me better.”

The All-Star Duals tourney started 21 years ago and is hosted as a fundraiser for the Utah Valley University wrestling team. The invitations were reduced, and the event was moved off campus this year due to the school’s coronavirus restrictions. This season also marked the first time it included girls. Because of the high talent level, it’s often used as a judge which schools will challenge for the state championship in all divisions.


High school wrestling: A closer look at the 119 participants in the 21st-annual Utah All-Star Duals

Not much is not known about who the best girls teams might be. With just three athletes, Hunter likely won’t generate enough team points even if all if its athletes win. Latu said other Region 2 schools, like Kearns and Cyprus, only have six to seven girls. However, just a few miles south, at Copper Hills, the Grizzlies’ girls program has attracted much more interest, and they noted Westlake High could be a 6A juggernaut.

“We have about 60 girls … and about the same number of boys,” said Westlake assistant coach Jordan Robinson. “We started building it several years ago. We teach the girls the basic (fundamentals) and try to make it fun. They’ve grown to like it, and now we’re seeing it at the varsity level.”

Jeff Newby, a former Boise State and Utah Valley wrestler, created a youth program near his Saratoga Springs home and now leads the Thunder program. As the public address announcer at the All-Star Duals tourney, he saw a few of his wrestlers and learned what it will likely take to challenge for the state tournament next month.

“This has always been a great event, and we’re lucky to have it this year,” he said. “The athletes know it well and some travel a long way to be here.”

In Latu’s case, she is the youngest of eight children and came from the rugby field, too, to challenge herself to try something new and hopes it will be the catalyst to help her earn a state championship trophy in her new sport.