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The Secret’s Out

16 February 2015

Friday I asked a commenter to show me anywhere that I have said Coach Miller should be reinstated or should have had her contract renewed. She won’t find a single instance and hasn’t bothered to respond.

I want tUMD’s teams to win every game. I want what’s best for the team. In women’s hockey, I want to return to beating the Gophers and Wisconsin like rented mules.

If, after the season, tUMD had chosen to part ways with Coach Miller and had gone out and found a new coach with experience, recruiting connections, and a fresh take on the program, I would have supported it.

That’s not what happened. I cannot support the way UMD has handled this situation. The ends do not justify the means. And we don’t know what the ends are. We don’t know who the next coach will be. We don’t know if any players will leave. I don’t want a single one of them to go. I don’t even want the seniors to leave, and they have to.

I can’t support “saving money” as a criterion for replacing a coach, or for hiring a new one.
I can’t support double standards in how men are perceived vs. how women are perceived. I don’t need to hear anyone clutching their pearls over how Coach Miller comports herself on the bench, while ignoring or even applauding men who behave similarly.
I can’t support “non-revenue sport” as a justification for inequity in pay between two Division One coaches of the same sport. Title IX doesn’t support that, either.
I can’t support the sexist, homophobic things people have said about Coach Miller and about the women’s hockey program over the years. She may be abrasive, she may be blunt, but that’s no reason to attack her looks, her sexuality, or her gender; that applies to the players, too. I can’t support the blatant lies about the quality of women’s hockey as a whole that are spouted by neanderthals everywhere and accepted as fact.
I can’t support criticisms of cronyism lobbied at the former Chancellor over her choice to pay Miller based on her success and her experience, when no one blinks an eye at the rampant cronyism in men’s sports.
I can’t support those who tell Coach Miller to shut up and go quietly. If there are Title IX violations at UMD, the very last thing she should do is shut up and go quietly.
I can’t support people who never gave a single line of print to women’s hockey charging in to find all manner of reasons to justify UMD’s decision, then receding into the background and ignoring the game again. I also can’t support people who never gave a single line of print to women’s hockey giving a single article questioning the school’s decision and then disappearing. Women’s hockey will never grow without continued media interest, covering the good and the bad, not just the ugly.
I can’t support people who think not only should Coach Miller have been gone years ago, but so should the program. (Folding the program without replacing it with another Division 1 sport would be a Title IX violation, idiots.)
I can’t support people who argue Coach Miller is paid too little compared to her peers without stopping to consider her peers are paid too little in comparison to her.

Somehow I get painted as an unequivocal Coach Miller supporter simply because I don’t like how this was handled and I don’t like the message being sent about women’s hockey. I don’t like the message being sent to student-athletes, interrupting their final exams week to face a media storm and uncertainty about their future. I don’t like the message being sent to past, present, and future women’s hockey players, coaches, and fans: you cost too much money, your sport is not worth it, this is a second-class sport. I don’t like when people act as though there’s a zero-sum game being played between men’s and women’s hockey, that men’s hockey suffers because of women’s hockey. I don’t like the double standard applied to Coach Miller vs. her male counterparts. I don’t like to read comment after comment on news stories about Coach Miller’s looks or appearance. She looks professional; nothing else matters. I don’t like that people cannot separate if this should have happened from how it happened; I don’t like that there are people who don’t care, who think this is what Coach Miller deserves and it doesn’t matter how it happened. I don’t like that there are people who can’t see that while it might be time to move on, there might also be Title IX violations or discriminatory actions happening concurrently. I don’t like that even reporting legitimate Title IX violations is career suicide for a coach.

I am okay with a coaching change, but there’s so much about how this coaching change is transpiring that troubles me, and that’s what I have chosen to discuss. It might be hard for some people to grasp this concept, but that’s of no concern to me.

Leaked! UMD Women’s Head Coach Job Posting

10 February 2015

Comrades, I know the season isn’t over yet, and I know the search for the next head coach of UMD women’s hockey hasn’t officially begun, but I have found a preliminary posting for the position.

Job Code and Title (0000) Head Coach, Women’s Hockey
Position Title Head Coach, Women’s Hockey
Job Code 0000
Requisition Number 123456
Position Category Faculty and Instructional
Appointment Term A = 12 months
Appointment Type Multi-year Contract
Work Hours 40
Work Days M-S
Total Hours or % Appointment 100%
Full/Part-time Full-Time
Starting Rate 70 cents on the dollar of what an average men’s coach makes
Department Name UMD Department of Athletics
College or Admin Unit N/A
Campus Location Duluth
Job Open Date 06-01-2015
Job Close Date Open Until Filled
Internal Promotional Consideration ABSOLUTELY NOT
Required/Preferred Qualifications

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Heterosexual.
  • Conventionally attractive (if female. If male, who cares?)
  • Nice.
  • Meek.
  • Soft-spoken. If female, speak only when spoken to. Do not engage in any civil rights campaigns. Do not swear. Do not mention inequity in resources.
  • Head up national task force to repeal Title IX, because don’t you women already have everything you want?
  • Recruit English-speaking American Minnesotan players exclusively.
  • Fill stands for all home games in order to justify the existence of the program. No freebies allowed.
  • Personally apologize to season ticket holders, boosters, and taxpayers of the state of Minnesota for any loss to Minnesota or Wisconsin.
  • Accept significantly less pay than men’s hockey counterparts of similar background, and feel that is justified because their job and their team are more important.
  • Lobby for rule changes to allow checking in women’s hockey.
  • Alternatively, lobby for name change of sport because it isn’t really hockey.
  • Curtsy or bow before and after addressing any on- or off-ice official, Athletic Department staff member, booster, or men’s hockey fan. Keep eyes downcast in deference during conversation.
  • Turn profit in first season of coaching, else fold the program.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Have watched at least one live hockey game, or completed one season in NHL ’15.

Application Instructions The University of Minnesota requires that you apply online for this position. For a complete position description and information on how to apply online, visit https://employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=123456

A complete application includes a cover letter, resume/CV, current contact information for three references, and coaching philosophy statement (Additional Doc 1).

Complete applications will be reviewed beginning June 1, 2015 and continue until the position is filled. Questions should be addressed to Josh Berlo at [redacted] or 218-[redacted].

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment. Having once had a Russian player whose former coach lied about compensating her does disqualify candidates, as does any mention of Title IX, equal pay, women’s rights, marriage equality, sequinned blazers, or Kathryn Martin.

If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the University of Minnesota Disability Specialist at [redacted].

Smoking is prohibited on all UMD property. The smoking ban includes indoor facilities and the campus grounds, as well as all University vehicles. We will let you chew tobacco wherever you want.

Individuals from underrepresented groups are discouraged from applying.

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Dream a Little Dream

2 February 2015

tUMD 0, No-Names 1/tUMD 2, No-Names 2 (SOL)

Saturday night I dreamed I was added to the hockey team as a practice goalie. This was a rather distressing team since I was conscripted, rather than volunteering, and I was very concerned they would find out I was a fraud and had no clue about how to be a goalie, even though I had not in any way presented myself as competent at goaltending. I had to move in with the team in some kind of dorm. Somehow I also had to come out for warmups before games and let the team shoot at me, but I woke up just as that was starting.

So, that was odd.

This weekend’s games were good games, and tUMD just happened to come out on the wrong side of both games. Well, we (now I really can say we! I’m totally part of the team) did get one point for making it to the shootout. It sucks to cede that much territory to UND, especially since they have the easier schedule to close out the regular season. They play UMTC this weekend, we play Wisconsin, so both teams will be battling, but our schedule closes out with UMTC and tOSU, and UND’s schedule ends with a feast on the cream puffs of SCSU and Mankato. tUMD will need to play their very best hockey to close out the regular season in third place, and possibly even to maintain home ice, as Ohio State is only 10 points behind. When six points are up for grabs each weekend, those gaps seem teeny.

tUMD and UND are evenly matched teams. As much as certain hack beat writer fanbois want to claim UND is head and shoulders above tUMD, they are not. tUMD could easily have won one or both of last weekend’s games, especially since they had a couple open-net chances with SAB down and out that went just wide. I hope last weekend’s games can get tUMD into high gear, firing on all cylinders, cooking with Crisco (as my basketball coach used to say), burning down the house (as David Byrne used to say), etc.

I got to see Gabs from At Even Strength this weekend, which was a highlight. She is a great friend to women’s hockey and you should check out that site. Her only fault is liking UND.

They’re Already Dead

28 January 2015

tUMD plastered Mankato this weekend. There’s just no other way of putting it. Kayla Black and Karissa Grapp combined to shut out the Mavericks all weekend, while the skaters put up 16 goals.

Mankato does have a totally sweet video feed that’s free, so I was able to watch the slaughter live! I’m so sadistic. Although it’s hard to take too much joy out of a bloodbath when the poor team has no wins in the WCHA and only two total. An unnamed colleague of mine mentioned s/he felt tUMD needed a “laugher” like this. I suppose I agree, this team has too much firepower to be beating St. Cloud by a stinkin’ goal (controversy aside). At some point during Friday’s game, maybe when it was 8 or 9 to nothing, I stopped enjoying the win and starting feeling badly for the Mavericks.

Friday’s game was so lopsided, tDogs even won in the modified scoring system Dirty devised for high school hockey. When talented teams face horrible teams, we score those games using Goals – SOG. tUMD won 12-9*, meaning tUMD got 12 goals and Mankato had 9 SOG. On Saturday, tUMD lost* 4-25. See how it works? It’s a way to make blowouts a little more interesting.

Brigette Lacquette had a hat trick of power play goals on Friday and earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors for her troubles. Multiple Bulldogs had multi-point nights or weekends, despite a slightly shortened bench.

I am nervous about this weekend. tUMD plays North Dakota, a team we need to bury in the standings. Right now, UND is 7 points behind tUMD in the standings, and if they were to sweep us, that would put them only a point behind. That would not be good. I am confident tUMD will be ready for the challenge and will send the no-names back to North Dakota disappointed and disheartened.

Tickets are cheap! $1 in advance, $3 at the door on Friday night, and you can get home in time to watch the end of the men’s game, since it’s in Mountain time!! Saturday there’s some kind of Girl Scouts things. Everyone show up and cheer our Doggies on to a sweep of They Who Shall Not Be Named Despite Spending $100000 To Try To Come Up With A Name!

Us And Them

27 January 2015

That was a rather thrilling weekend, no?

Friday was not the best day, as I didn’t realize it was icy and tumbled down my front steps, and then my car puked out a bunch of oil in my driveway. It ended well, though, because I wasn’t hurt and the fix ended up only being $67, which is approximately 10% of what I thought it would cost. Also my dad met Nick Kemp in the airport. So that was good.

I didn’t feel very confident about Saturday’s game. At all. tDogs were slumping, but the Goofs were like cornered, wounded, rabid… rodents, you might say. Before the game, all I could think about was, whoever loses this game has effectively ended their season.

Suckas.

tUMD carried the play for 40 minutes, and then gave up some weird flukey goal to Ratboy himself, Rau.

rauratboy

That was all the Goofs could get by McNeely, although most of the time they were killing their own power plays and breaking up their own scoring chances. Meanwhile tUMD’s SUPERIOR captain scored his second goal of the night on tUMD’s first shot of the third period, which came with just over 2 minutes to go in the game. Talk about your daggers.

I choose to believe that this is a turning point for tUMD, and their mini slump is over. I don’t know why it feels like a bad slump when really it wasn’t, but it did cost the team a 1-seed in the PWR and their lead in the conference standing. Still, better to slump now than when it’s single elimination time!

(Women’s recap coming soon)

Winners and Losers

20 January 2015

tUMD 2, Seabiscuits 2 (tUMD loses in SO)/tUMD 2, Seabiscuits 4
tUMD 2, SCSU 0/ tUMD 3, SCSU 2

This may sound insane but I actually may have watched too much hockey this past weekend. Since both the men and the women were home I spent a long time at AMSoil Arena.

Of course the big winner of the weekend was this guy:

Since I am rarely at casinos and never at various animal racing tracks, I have never witnessed anyone win a large sum of money before. It was so cool. So unbelievable. Dan of the Week and I just laughed hysterically while applauding because we were dumbfounded. RWD comrade Paul was in town from Roseau for the Icebreaker tournament and came over to chat with me and he was also in disbelief. It was still a topic of discussion the next night, as I gathered with RWD comrades Jolene and Monte to discuss… well, mostly to discuss Owatonna, but also pee-wee hockey. My co-workers had even heard about it and they don’t even care about hockey because they are from Michigan.

It was also the highlight of the night as well as the entire weekend as far as men’s hockey goes. After over a month without a men’s home hockey game, the AMSoil crowd was treated to a pair of losses (yes I know the SO goes down as a tie) stemming from 2 uninspired and undisciplined games. Thanks guys.

Enough about the losers. I’m trying to block those games from my mind. tUMD will have a chance to right those wrongs on the last weekend of the season (and salvage their record against WMU for the PWR).

Let’s talk about the winners. tUMD women’s hockey got a nice sweep against a league opponent, led by Lara Stalder with two goals on the weekend. Stalder could have had a few more but St. Cloud’s goalie managed to make some saves. tUMD also could have had at least one more goal, as Mrazova (I think I can’t remember if it was her or Brykaliuk) had a clean shot at the empty net on Saturday before the play was blown dead for a St. Cloud penalty. (I don’t know. No one knew.) St. Cloud should also have had one fewer goal, as they hauled down a Dogs player on a scoring chance (again with an empty net) and then went down the rink and scored. So there were some issues, but tDogs were able to rise above them (as well as the continuing off-ice issues, which were exacerbated Sunday morning after a story broke about Jen Banford, lame-duck director of hockey operations and apparently now also lame-duck tUMD softball coach) and I was able to end my weekend (I worked on Monday) with on a positive hockey-related note.

Speaking of winners, please read this excellent article about notre capitaine, Zoe Hickel. Her work ethic is unreal, and she will be an outstanding coach someday, although I hope her playing career will continue!

In other loser news, tUMD men are back atop the NCHC PIM standings. A dubious honor, but one they were clearly determined to reclaim. Gooninato was suspended by Don Adam after taking a kneeing major. (I do like Toninato but Biddy made up the Gooninato nickname and it’s funny to us, so it stays.)

tUMD men are in the Gopher TournShament this weekend, playing Buttmidji and I hope playing (and beating) Mankato. tUMD women are definitely playing Mankato, in Mankato, and it had better be another sweep!

Put Up Or Shut Up

8 January 2015

I told you yesterday this post would be bossy, and there it is in the post title.

If you are a real hockey fan, you will show up this weekend to watch tUMD play Bemidji, and show your support for the program. Yeah that’s right, you’re not a real hockey fan if you only support men’s programs. I don’t care if you attend games from mini-mites up through the NHL every second you can; if you’re only attending boys’ and men’s games, you are not a real hockey fan. You’re a real men’s and boys’ hockey fan, sure, congratulations, pat yourself on the back. But don’t tell me you love hockey.

If you are in the hospital or stuck working a weekend shift or something, of course, I’m not going to castigate you for missing the game. Turn the TV in your hospital room to My9 on Saturday and tune in!

This is a big series for tDogs, on and off the ice. tUMD needs to take care of business against all teams below them in the standings. Bemidji has both beaten the Gophers and lost to Lindenwood, so who knows which team we will see this weekend? Bemidji is the sole loss the Doggies have taken in their 12 for 13 run. tDogs need to push hard to stay strong in the PWR and maintain their spot in the NCAA tournament.

This is a big series off the ice because it is their first series after Coach Miller was not-fired-but-really-c’mon-people, to use a technical term. This is a big series because it’s a chance for fans to put their butts in the seats and show they support the team. There were a lot of angry people on the Interwebs (and a few gleeful neanderthals), but if those angry people don’t show up to the games, what is the point? Hashtag activism isn’t really activism.

Fans have been encouraged to show up to show their support for Coach Miller and their disapproval of the administration’s decision. I am here to tell you that while it seems like there are only two sides to this story (unconditional Miller support or unconditional loathing for Miller, women’s hockey, female athletes, and women in general), there’s middle ground. I am going to encourage hockey fans to show up who don’t support Coach Miller and/or approve of the administration’s decision. Show up because you support the team, the women on the ice who are having a fantastic season and who we do not want to lose to other programs. Show our juniors, seniors, and freshmen that you will be there to cheer them on next year, that your support of the program is not tied to Coach Miller. Show up because you support the legacy of the team, because you don’t want a program with five national championships to fall into obscurity. You can even make a sign that makes it clear you are ok with a new coach, lest anyone mistake you for a Miller supporter (quelle horreur!)

Do not show up if you’re just going to make fun of or marginalize the coach, the players, or the program. Self-immolate instead.

Put your money where your mouth is this weekend, hockey lovers. I’ll see you at AMSoil, 3:07 PM, Saturday and Sunday.

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