The 2017-2018 Top Ten Memories

  • So it’s tradition for me every year on this blog to recap each hockey season with my Top 10 Memories. As I sit here reflection on the amazing season we just had at Colgate, I just have to say that I am incredibly lucky to have experienced it. I’ve cried enough the past three days – how it all ended is going to sting for a little while. But it’s okay. I’m just thankful I even got to be here.

That said – here are my top 10 memories of the season (in no particular order).

  1. The Scavenger Hunt. I did a much longer post on this previously, but our retreat weekend was definitely a highlight of the season. As we all got to know each other better as a team, I organized a scavenger hunt for the ages. Read more about it here.

2. The Frozen Four.

Honestly, no words can do justice the experience that this group had at the Frozen Four. So I’ll just post a ton of my photos here and hope they speak for themselves. I’m just so grateful I got to experience it with this group of amazing people.

3. Winning the league championship.

After our last games of the season – which were at RPI and Union – we knew there was a chance we’d tie Clarkson for the league championship. That happened and we had some amazing celebrations in the locker room after the game. We knew we would hopefully have a long post-season, but it was great to get some hardware for our work during the regular season.


4.Beating Clarkson


This win in overtime was such an amazing experience. Knowing that we could beat this team was a huge confidence boost. Everyone was feeling on top of the world after this win, that’s for sure. Then we played St. Lawrence the next day and got handed our first loss of the season.

This was also my birthday weekend and it was so much fun to be on the road with my second family  for my 30th birthday.

5. Advancing to the NCAA Championship Game.

I think it says something huge that all three games of the Frozen Four went to overtime. It just proves how evenly matched and strong all four teams are. However, nothing can really match how it felt to be in the locker room after our semifinal win over Wisconsin in 2OT (!!!! 90+ minutes of hockey!) . The energy was electric and incredible.

Here’s a video I took of the girls walking the red carpet into the championship game.

6. Pre-Game Singing.

Let me tell you something about these hockey players: they love to sing. And it is awesome. Just watch.

And of course – “our song” – Not Ready to Make Nice:

I’ll also cherish the memory I have of all of us singing this song on the plane ride home from the Frozen Four.

7. Autism Game.

Every year Colgate Women’s Hockey hosts an Autism Game, and I was so pumped to be part of it. In the month leading up to the game, the players host an inclusive Learn to Skate program for kids with autism and other disabilities. They take the kids out on the ice and not only teach them a skill but show them how loved and accepted they are.

The kids then come to our autism game, and we celebrate them. The team also did an amazing job selling blue t-shirts for the event and gathering raffle items to raise money for the cause.



Oh, and, the swim team showed up.




8. Zamboni pictures.

It became a fun little tradition on the road that Annika Zalewski and Jessie Eldridge would grab me when we arrived to the rink to do a picture with the home team’s zamboni. We got some great boomerangs.

9. Christmas video.

I started writing our version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on the way home from our road game vs Cornell. I enlisted the help of the wonderful and talented Nina Lindberg to shoot this video while I directed it. There were lots of takes involving uncontrollable laughing.  This was definitely one of the most fun things I’ve ever orchestrated.

10. NCAA Selection Show.

The, once again, incredibly wonderful and talented Nina Lindberg put this video together and it still gives me shivers. The sound is Coach Fargo speaking after  the NCAA selection show.  Clearly emotional, it’s hard to even tell it’s his voice at first. The feeling of knowing we were taking this program to the Frozen Four for the first time in history was incredibly moving.


And because I couldn’t leave these moments out, BONUS MOMENTS.

11. Winning the ECAC Semifinal game vs. Cornell. We’d held a 4-1 lead, and then went to go take care of something and I checked the scoreboard and the game was tied. We ended up winning that game 5-4.

My favorite part of this video is our assistant coach LEAPING and then casually adjusting his tie.

12.  Beating Northeastern to Advance to the Frozen Four.

What a special moment for our last game of the season at Class of ’65 Arena.


So that’s a wrap – another season has come and gone. I’ve learned so much in the last year, and even on the worst day, wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Wherever you go, go ‘gate.

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The Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt, Hockey Style

It’s been a long time since I updated but as I’m sure you’re all aware, I recently started in my new role as Director of Women’s Hockey Operations at Colgate. One of my first major projects for the team was to organize our team retreat, so I just wanted to share some details of what we did.

For the retreat, we rented out a summer camp. We wanted it to feel truly secluded – and it did – but to add to that and really force our team to bond, we took the girls’ phones for the whole weekend.

When Coach Fargo and I first discussed the retreat we knew we wanted to do some kind of scavenger hunt, but we thought we’d put a little twist on it and make it more of an Amazing Race / Survivor type of hunt. On the surface, it was a good way to kill a few hours, even though it was going to have a LOT of moving parts. But it became so much deeper than just a scavenger hunt and allowed us to test our athletes in ways that were incredibly telling about their own personalities, how they interacted in a small group, and how they decided to play the game – and how they might translate it to hockey.

Also, while researching for this scavenger hunt, I had a really hard time finding activities I thought would translate well to a group of college-age elite athletes. I found a lot on Pinterest and through Google but what I ended up doing was piecing a lot of stuff together. So if you ever find yourself looking to do something similar, I hope this helps you! Also, Amazon Prime was absolutely key in making this come together. You really can get virtually anything on Amazon.

To kick off the hunt, I divided the 24 girls into 5 teams, totally at random but making sure that there was at least 1 freshman and 1 senior on each team. To make it feel more like a cohesive unit, I gave each team a color and a corresponding bandana. I found blank white flags (thanks Amazon) and ordered 5, and we gave the teams 15 minutes to come up with a group name and a logo on their flag using sharpies.


Coach Fargo overlooking the yellow team’s flag construction – “Team Queso”


The CWIH Pink Ladies making their flag


The Unstoppable Green Machine!



The blue team became “The Storm”


The red team became the “Red Samuri” 


After they presented us with their flags, I gave them their first clues and a map of the camp, started the clock and they were off. Also, we decided that we would give them clues or a single answer to a question in exchange for a 1 minute penalty off their final time.

For context, here are the team staff roles:

Fargo – Head Coach

Sophie, Stefan – Assistant Coach

Gordo Dennis – Student Manager (also shout out to Gordo for many of these photos!)

Megan – Equipment Manager

Bennett – Athletic Trainer

Bruce Crowley – Colgate alum who joined us on retreat weekend to lead a few team development exercises


  1. Find a tree at camp with your team color’s ribbon tied around it. Scattered near the base of the tree are coins. Find the coin that coincides with Fargo’s birth year. Bring the coin back to HQ for your next clue.

I asked Megan to choose any trees in the whole camp to tie to the ribbon around and scatter the coins at the bottom. Three teams found their tree in a pretty timely manner, but two needed a little help. In order to keep the game moving we gave them a little help.

  1. Go to the art center. Make a balloon animal; you may use any and all materials available to you to enhance your project. Present it to the staff at HQ. Choose a staff member to judge, and he/she will determine if your balloon animal passes the test or if you go back to the drawing board. If you pass, HQ will hand you a card with your next location.


The players had no idea that this challenge was incredibly calculated on our part. We had pre-determined who would hold the clues to the next challenge (Fargo and Sophie) and who would have pins (everyone else). Upon presentation of the balloon animal, if they picked a judge with a pin, we’d pop their balloon. If they picked the right judge – they got the clue. Of course we chose Fargo and Sophie to hold the clues – the two people on staff who are the most authoritative – who we knew the players would be hesitant to choose as judges.

The players really got creative with their balloon animals, thinking we were judging them on that, or how the balloon animal’s story related to team building themes we had explored. They spent a lot of time hammering it out when in reality, it didn’t matter at all – it was who they chose to judge their balloon animal that was the determining factor.

It was also very interesting that Gordo was the most chosen person to judge the balloon animals. He’s someone who was more of a peer to the players and the least authoritative – they thought he’d be least likely to pop their balloon. In fact, some teams chose him more than once! He popped their balloons every time.

We popped each team’s balloon animal at least twice.

Another aspect of the challenge was watching their reactions to us popping a balloon animal they had spent so much time on and put so much effort into. For some, there was just an absolute look of defeat in their faces. That was a test from us: What are you going to do? Wallow in it, or adapt? We also saw a few teams heading all the way back to the arts center to come up with another balloon animal, while other teams simply repurposed their previously popped balloon animals and got through to the next challenge faster because in reality … the animal didn’t matter.

This challenge was really fun and also a great character building piece. We overhead some of their discussion after we popped their balloons – “Guys, we are so far behind,”  negativity which we thought was a pretty good indicator of how that might translate to a game situation.

  1. Go to the southernmost area of Camp Echo Lake

There you will find scattered puzzle pieces. You must gather pieces with your team’s color on the back. Once all pieces have been collected, your team may begin to assemble the puzzle. Unscramble the letters on the back of the puzzle pieces to find your next location.

For this one, I found some 20-piece puzzles on Amazon – they were all maps of the United States. I asked Bennett and Gordo to hide the puzzle pieces somewhere in the wooded area. Most of them made it to their next spot in a timely fashion, except the Blue team, who went into the challenge dead last. After getting their balloon animal approved on their second try (they were VERY behind and we had to pass them at that point), we gave them their clue and they went the wrong way to the southern area of camp. They went east instead – even though another team was on their way back to HQ from that challenge, and was coming from another direction!

  1. Welcome to the roller hockey rink. The team must find an envelope with your team’s color ribbon on it. Your task is to match country, state and/or provincial flags to the right location using the bank at the bottom. Return the paperwork to HQ. 

Because we gave them a bank at the bottom, we wouldn’t pass them to the next round unless it was all correct.  After they passed that, each team got a Detour card.

  1. DETOUR: each team will go to the green space for their next challenge.

Each team must map out and draw, with as much accuracy as possible, the solar system. Do not forget details such as size, color, rings, etc.

Your team may not advance until an HQ staff member checks it for accuracy.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 4.59.52 PM.png

This was actually a huge struggle for some of our teams. I mean, I get it – as adults, how often do we think about the solar system? But I also chose this challenge because it’s a subtle reminder that we are actually very small in comparison to the universe. It’s a reminder not to get caught up in the little things in life. Anyway, clearly a few teams weren’t aware of My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. Going into this challenge the yellow team had a clear lead but this one really tripped them up – and they were the last team to leave this challenge.

After this challenge, each team is given a music riddle sheet as a ROADBLOCK in which teams must fill in the name of the song and artist. Each team must solve the sheet to learn their next location.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 4.25.47 PM

I’m a huge fan of 90s music so of course I did a 90s music trivia sheet. I chose pretty well-known songs I thought they’d know, but I gave them a certain number of blank spaces for each letter so they had an extra hint. Naming either the artist or the song title, I put a (___) around one of the letters. They had to use all the letters in the (___) and unscramble them to find out their next location, which was the lake shore.

While doing this challenge, one of the players on the pink team had an epiphany: “Guys, what’s the only other location on our map we haven’t been to yet?” She looked at her map and looked at the few letters they had gotten from their answers. “It’s the lake shore!” And they were off. Talk about adaptability!

  1. All teams proceed to the lake shore where they must solve a combination lock. Teams choose which lock they will solve upon arrival.

The lock’s combinations are:

Lock 1. The year Colgate first got a Division I varsity women’s hockey team

Lock 2. The year Starr rink was built

Lock 3. Krista’s birth year

Lock 4. Stefan’s birth year

Lock 5. Sophie’s birth year  

Once solved, teams open the box and find they must go to the wooded area behind cabins 22-42.

The teams had to figure out the combinations to each lock, (the combinations were 20001, 1960, 1987, 1987, and 1986 respectively), which I think went pretty smoothly. After that, they were on to the next challenge. The game started to move VERY quickly after this, whereas in the earlier part of the game, there was a lot of waiting around for the teams to get moving into the next challenge.

  1. Ball game. There are 10 ping pong balls in each team color  and numerous other multi-colored distractor balls scattered across the wooded area. One “caller” from each team will lead the remaining members of the team, who are blindfolded, to their team’s colored balls. The caller cannot touch the ping pong balls; only her blindfolded teammates can. Gather the ping pong balls in your team’s bucket. You must collect all 10. There will be a 1 minute penalty for any incorrect balls in your bucket.


As predicted, this challenge started as an absolute shit show. However, many of the teams strategized on this one, with the caller taking one teammate at a time into the woods to gather the balls. This was a smart move and prevented a lot of chaos (and injuries).

  1. Once all balls are collected, teams are given envelopes with a picture round. Your team is to ID who or what is in the pictures and return it to HQ. Once you have at least 15 of the 20 correctly you may move on to the next location, which will be handed to you in an envelope. You may buy an answer for 1 minute additionally added to your finish time.

Here is the picture round:

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 5.02.09 PM.png

And the answers:

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 5.02.17 PM.png

Most teams couldn’t get the 15 of the 20 required to pass onto the next round without taking penalty minutes, but I thought this was actually a good thing because it made the game really interesting.

After they turned in their picture ground, all teams got a U – Turn card which told them to return to the lake shore for their next challenge.


  1. At the lake shore, teams must do an Endurance challenge: Planks.

Each team member must choose who will forearm plank for the following increments. Some team members may have to perform more than one plank. You may attempt each time as many times as you need.

30 seconds

1 minute

1:30 minutes

2  minutes

2:30 minutes

3 minutes

3:30 minutes

With each successful time bench mark reached, the team will earn a letter. The team must unscramble the letters to earn its next location.

The letters we gave them after every successful plank unscrambled to spell ARCHERY – though we found most teams figured it out after they got a few letters and didn’t have to do all those planks.

  1. At the archery field, find your team’s Mental Challenge worksheet. It be solved and returned to HQ staff members. Once it is 100% correct, the first team to return to HQ with the sheet entirely correct, will win (with the addition of penalty minutes).

Here was the sheet I put together:

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 4.24.50 PM

This was an interesting one because we wouldn’t let them finish, officially, until it was 100% correct. It was definitely a race to the finish and all teams were trying everything as quickly as they could in order to finish first. Megan, Gordo and I corrected their answers sheets until the teams came back with everything 100% correct.

I was correcting the green team’s sheet and heard one player say something like, “Who cares what the answer actually is let’s just mix around the answers until they’re all right.” In other words, stop putting so much thought into the answers, and just keep experimenting with the order of them until they are correct.

The red team finished first with the best raw time, and green shortly after that. The whole thing took just about 2 and a half hours to complete. We marked every team’s finishing time, and their order in finishing was: Red, Green, Pink, Yellow, Blue.

But after the penalty minutes were applied, the Green team came out with the win, followed by Pink, Rink, Yellow, and Blue.

After the hunt we had a post-mortem: why did the green team win? The answer was that they played the game to a T. They strategized in that if they didn’t know an answer they didn’t waste time thinking and instead just took a penalty minute and moved on. This team also HUSTLED the entire time the hunt was going on – they ran literally everywhere.

We also spoke about how red had a solid five minute lead at one point in time, but fell behind when yellow passed them to the solar system challenge. We asked the players how that felt, and they said it was frustrating, they felt defeated, etc. “We had to take a deep breath and just get back to it,” they said. We equated that to how it feels in a game situation when we give up a lead. The red team also had a back and fourth lead in the beginning, but said they didn’t really strategize, and they felt as if they were all on the same page when it came to decision making. However, that non strategizing landed them third.

It turns out the pink team had strategized in determining they were going to really figure out the answers to the challenges and NOT take penalties.

We talked a lot about riding the highs too high and the lows too low.

But what did our team learn from this challenge? It was about events happening to us – positive or negative – and what we bring to the team  in terms of our emotions and our thinking. We can be what we think we can be, IF we allow ourselves to do it. Sometimes we have to remove our emotions and just allow our skill and ability to take over in our games.

This activity was just one in a jam-packed weekend of learning more about each other on a personal level, bonding as a team, and establishing our goals.

It was an unforgettable weekend for everyone and I like to think I had a big role in that 🙂 HUGE thanks to all the staff for helping me with the hunt (Gordo, Bennett, Megan) and to the coaches for their assistance as well.  We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot about each other in the process.

Go ‘Gate!

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Top 10 Season Moments

After every season, I like to look back at some of my favorite Blades memories. This season had so many fun times.

  1. Gino’s Gronk Spike after our first (shootout) win in Toronto, Dec 11, 2016. Please take a moment to watch this .gif over and over again, because it is amazing. This is a moment of pure fire. Gino just cannot contain her excitement in the locker room after our shootout win, so she decides the most appropriate thing to do is Gronk Spike her glove. Because of course.

2. The Blades opening game vs Toronto, 2-1 OT Loss, Oct. 15, 2016. The first game of the season is always a little bit nerve wracking for me. You never really know what you’re going to get, but in this game, we saw what Lauren Dahm was truly capable of. I remember after the game a group of kids came up to our locker room wanting to meet her. She was like, “Really?” – a little nervous about going out to say hello to them. I said, sorry Dahmer, you’re a pro now. Get used to kids asking for your autograph, especially after a game like that.


So awesome to see the Blades’ Toronto fan base expanding 🙂

3. Pond hockey  skate with fans at  Patriot Place, Jan. 7, 2017.


So many people came out to skate with us!


Tara met her mini-me…



And our #NorthernFans from Montreal came, too!!

And watching Dahm score goals was pretty fun, as well.

4. Puck drop at the Heritage Classic with Canadian Consulate David Alward & Quebec Delegate Madame Marie-Claude Francoeur, Jan. 8, 2017, Walter Brown Arena.


This was a great way to connect with our Canadian roots in Boston. We may have lost 6-4 but we had a 3-2 lead at one point during this game. And, most our games with Montreal were quite competitive this season. It felt great for us to play well against the (well, arguably) best team in the league. It makes for exciting hockey.

5. Road Trip to Beauce.  I think hands down this was one of our favorite road trips. The people of Beauce were so incredibly kind to us. Quite honestly we got the rockstar treatment there, which is what the team truly deserves, so thank you to Beauce & Les Canadiennes for doing this incredible outreach game. The crowds were absolutely amazing, and the poutine was the best I’ve had. (As if I wasn’t going to mention poutine in this post…..)


Watchy just feelin’ Canadian on the bus…




6. Puck MS Game, Jan. 28, Walter Brown Arena.


A cause very close to our hearts, it was amazing to honor Watchy and Gino’s moms, who are both affected by MS. We wore orange to spread awareness of this terrible illness which hopefully one day we will find a cure for.


Watchy’s husband helped us out with a BU color guard for this game. It was so amazing to have her whole family involved.

(Thank you to Michelle Jay for the photos! xo)

7. Jan. 29 at Umass Lowell.

It is always so much fun for me to bring the Blades to my alma mater, UMass Lowell.  This is the rink where I fell in love with the game, so to see my Bladies play here is always so special for me. This year we only got to do one game here but boy did we have an amazing crowd for it! This was our best crowd for a Boston area home game for sure.


8. #FightLikeAGirl Title Boxing Event, Jan. 14, 2017.


The Blades partnered with Title Boxing Club North Andover for an amazing power hour workout session fundraiser, lead by my best friend and #1 life bae, Shelly, who works for Title. Thank you so much to everyone at Title and all who came out to this event! It was so much fun!!

9. Blades Brunch, Jan. 28, 2017.

What do you get when you put two of my personal favorite things – hockey and brunch – together? You get one amazing Blades event. Common Ground in Allston hosted this one and it was so spectacular! Thank you for being so easy to work with!


I didn’t get too many actual photos during brunch because I was enjoying it so much but here are a few. Thank you to all who bought brunch plates for our athletes and/or joined us and contributed to this event! It was so fun and delicious and it really helped out our team!

10. Newcastle, Ontario, Weekend, Feb. 18 and 19, 2017.


It is hard for me to find words for how amazing this past weekend was. My heart is full.

I had kind of hoped our friends from Montreal would be at the game, but I didn’t directly ask them or want to push them on it because I knew it was a long drive for them. But when I saw them come into the rink in Pickering, I just about cried tears of happiness! It was so good to see their faces! And thank you ladies for all your help over the weekend, you all helped it run so smoothly and your cheering for the Blades was SO LOUD! 🙂

And of course how can we forget Miss Kaitlyn, our #1 Blades fan in Ontario? She & her family brought SO many people out to the games! Thank you SO much for your support of us and I am so happy you are part of our special little Blades family!


Overall we had great crowds this past weekend and got a tour of our Captain’s hometown, a very special place to all of us on the team. It was the perfect last weekend of the season.

I will never forget this season for so many reasons. The laughs were hard. Tears happened, but they always do, and in the end, everything worked out just fine.

One of the biggest lessons this job has taught me is the art of letting stuff roll off your back. Working with what you’re given to make it the best it can be, because nothing will ever be perfect. But I really think you don’t need perfection. You just need a lot of people who care, who are in your corner no matter what, and this season we definitely had that.

I want to give a special shout out to the Blades volunteers. You guys are the reason why this team happens. None of it happens without you. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed and I want to thank each and every one of you – you know who you are. You showed up in a snow storm, you helped carry heavy things, you did things you maybe thought you’d never have to do (or maybe things you never wanted to but you did anyway because you love us right?). THANK YOU just does not seem like enough. You are the real MVP’s.

Lots of fun plans for the off season this year, but for now, I’m going to keep reeling over such a great season.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xoxoxox



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When Another Season Comes to an End…

When another hockey season comes to an end, usually I feel ready for a break.

Toward the end of the season, the wheels start to fall off, so to speak. Practices and games become a grind. Players get sick, tired. They prepare to go off into different directions, tend to their families, take some time away from the game. And as much as we all love the game, that’s a good thing – a healthy thing – for everyone.

Everyone starts counting down: two weeks of practice left. One week of practice left. Last practice. Last commute to and from Boston. Last time I’ll have to pack for a road trip. Last team meal. Last time I’ll have to write out the game sheet for the season. Last puck drop. Last post-game beer.

This season has had so many highs and lows. The highs were fun. New faces in the locker room, new friends made, new experiences on the road together. The wins, the laughs. The lows were low of course. The frustration of losing. Long travel weekends. Lots of tears shed from a combination of all those things…and exhaustion.

And as much as I’m ready for a “break” I know it’s not really much of a break either. Yes, I will be able to get much more sleep on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and for that I am very excited. Weekends will now be so much more free. But we’ll still have some more team events and appearances, which are challenging in and of themselves in the off season. We’ll evaluate. A lot. We will look at how things went this season and where we go from here.

But I’m not there yet.

Right now I’m thinking about getting on the bus with my squad, and what this weekend has in store for us, and how we can make the most of our last games as the 2016-2017 Boston Blades.

My body – many of our bodies – are tired. In my head, I am ready for a break. In my heart, I am cherishing every moment.

Cheers to another season.  xo







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A GM’s Thanksgiving

I’ve been thinking about the subject of my next blog post for quite some time, and now that we are settling into the holiday season, I thought I’d write about what I’m thankful for, from a GM perspective.

1. Blades Fans. Here’s the reality: our team does not exist without you. And whether you’re a family member of a player, a friend, someone who just likes women’s hockey, an aspiring pro player, or just someone who was roped into coming to a game once. You’ve made a difference for this team and for that I am completely appreciative.

The easiest and best way to make a difference for this team is to show up. So thank you for showing up. I hope you keep showing up. Because if you don’t….well, that would be bad.


2. Volunteers. You all are the real MVPs. Whether you’re friends I have dragged into this crazy hockey-filled life of mine (sorry?) or just people who reached out wanting to help, you have all made such a huge difference.

Sometimes all you need to make a game day run smoothly is another pair of hands. Sometimes those pairs of hands have talents you couldn’t possibly dream of having (announcing, singing the anthems, equipment repair, skate sharpening, the list goes on). Without you all I would be lost. Thanks for your constant support and sacrifice for this team. It means so much to me.

3. Players. The players on this team are pretty amazing. I watch them hold down full time jobs and a grueling hockey schedule, with practices, travel and games. I watch them take the time to greet little kids and make them feel special. They know when to let certain things roll of their backs and they know when to speak their minds. This group is a special one and I’m so glad to have such a great working relationship with them.


4. An understanding family. If you want a job like mine, you need a good support system at home. You need your family to understand you will NEVER make tons of money in this business…but that’s not why you do it. You need to them to understand there are times you just need to cry it out. That sometimes things will just not be fair. But you do it anyway because you have a love for something so strong that there isn’t even a word for it. And for every time you wonder, “why do I put myself through this?” you realize the good times are so rewarding, and you’d never trade it. Your family needs to get that, too. I’m glad mine *mostly* does 🙂


5. Sponsors. I’m not sure people fully understand just how far sponsorship dollars go in this league and for this team but let me tell you, without them, I don’t even know what we would do. I’m so thankful for the businesses who realize there is significant ROI in women’s sports and that supporting them is absolutely worth it. The impact is direct to the players and without you there would certainly be no CWHL.

6. Coffee. Props to you, coffee, and energy drinks. You have gotten me through roadies galore, to and from Toronto, Quebec, and more. You’ve allowed me to power through work when I’ve felt like I just have nothing left. Thank. God. For. Coffee. I don’t know where I’d be without you.

The most important part of the holidays, for me anyway, is to just slow down. So many of us have jobs that consume us…sometimes to a degree where’s not very healthy. We all need time to decompress. Find some quiet, read, listen to music. I will go out of my way to NOT think about hockey for a little while.

And then when I get back into work mode, I’ll be refreshed and ready to go.

I’m also looking into a post-hockey season vacation. Any destination suggestions? 🙂

Enjoy Thanksgiving. xoxo




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Hockey Season Eve

As I sit here unable to sleep (have you ever been too tired to sleep? I think that’s what I’m up against..nap will happen later)  I can’t help but reflect on the craziness of the past two months.

Meetings, practices, planning, headaches, tears, lack of sleep, plenty of naps (do you see a pattern here?) and also major excitement have just consumed my mind. This job is so much work, especially in the pre-season, but the team hits the ice…it is so rewarding. And it all starts tomorrow.


I have an 8 hour drive ahead of me to Toronto to continue to wonder: how will this team gel on the ice? What will our first games be like? How will this season be different than last year?

Normally I fly with the team but for this weekend, I gave up my seat (we only get so many and let’s just say it’s a smaller number than our roster) so another player could travel. It actually worked out because Assistant Coach Mike “Dymo” Diamantopoulos and I will be driving together. Of course this means we have a long day and night ahead of us.

But right now I’m trying not to think about that. I’m thinking about meeting up with our #1 little Boston Blades fan, Kaitlyn Young, who lives in Toronto. Check out her awesome story on how she became a Blades fan.


I’m thinking about all the amazing support I’ve gotten from my friends and family who go out of their way to support me and support this team.

And I’m thinking about this group of girls who will be asked to absolutely grind for the next five months…



There will be so many highs and lows in the next five months. There will be times when our bodies are so tired we can barely feel feelings. There will be times when the last thing we feel like doing is going to practice. Times when we wonder why we put ourselves through this crazy schedule and insane amount of work.

But there will be times of great celebration on the ice this season. There will be new bonds. New experiences together. There will be little girls in the stands who remind us why we do what we do. There will be friends with shoulders to lean on when things get tough. And it will all be so rewarding when things finally start to click.

And when it’s all over, and it’s March and the ice and snow begins to melt and the games are done, we are going to take a break. And we are going to enjoy it. But a few weeks later we are just going to be wishing we could be back at practice, playing the game we love…Wishing it could be October all over again.

Happy Hockey Season.


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A New Season, A Blank Slate

Well, this week has certainly been an eventful one in Blades land, to say the least. I wanted to take some time to write about the draft, our new assistant coach, and of course, the trade. 

The Draft


The CWHL Draft was on Sunday and it was my second draft as a GM. Last season the draft seemed to go really quickly; it was probably over in about an hour. This year it went the full two hours we’d scheduled for it, thanks to 80+ draft entrants and many players willing to play in different CWHL cities.


With Kayla Tutino – the first overall pick of the CWHL Draft.

I’m going to through my top ten draft picks and describe them as best possible:

  1. Kayla Tutino (F, Boston University): We will look to her for a lot of offensive power this season. She also brings leadership from BU which will be a great addition to our locker room.
  2. Chelsey Goldberg (F, Northeastern): Another really great forward who will add to our depth. She’s dealt with some injuries (breaking both legs though thankfully not at once) and after taking a year off, she’s ready to get back in the game. Her personality is very laid back (she’s a California girl after all) but her passion for the game is undeniable. Really excited to have her.
  3. Cassandra Opela (D, UConn): Stay at home defenseman, but a player with size and one who can definitely hold down the blue line. It was really important for us to add depth on D and she will be a huge part of this.
  4. Meghan Grieves (F, Boston College):  Her scoring touch will definitely be helpful this season, especially considering she has already bonded with so many Blades given her alma mater. I can’t wait to see what her line is capable of this season. She’s also a very friendly and upbeat personality who will be great for the locker room.
  5. Dakota Woodworth (F, Boston University): Another important addition for depth up front, we really look forward to adding Dakota’s talents to the team. She has a great character and will definitely be a great addition.
  6. Margaret Zimmer (F, UConn): From the first time I saw Zim play at Hockey East championships, I knew I wanted her on the Blades. I love her perserverance and she also has a bit of a scoring touch as well. She’s a good physical presence too.
  7. Kikuchi Sato (D, Japan’s Nippon Sports Science University):  Depth on D was another area we wanted to fulfill in the draft, and Sato is definitely going to help us there. I’m excited to have her on our team. She’s very friendly, outgoing and grateful for the chance to play with us.
  8. Taylor McGee (D, Holy Cross): Taylor is a friend of Nicole Giannino and came highly recommended to us. After watching her play at our prospects camp and in the Beantown Classic, I can confidently say she will be a great addition to our blue line too.
  9. Melissa Bizzari (F, Boston College): I had approached Melissa about playing for us last season but the timing wasn’t right for her. Then she realized how much she missed the game and decided to come back, and we’re very happy to have her.
  10. Lauren Dahm (G, Clarkson): Dahm came out to our prospects camp in May and I am really glad she did. She moves well and even though she graduated college in 2011 remains an incredibly athletic goalie. I enjoyed watching her play and I think she would be a great addition to the team.

So there we have it – of course nothing is set in stone until tryouts and anything can happen but we have picked up a lot of depth in all areas and I’m really excited to see what everyone brings to the table when we start skating.

A New Assistant Coach

An assistant coach was a need I’d felt we’d had for a while. Coach McCloskey is a great coach though it is hard to manage a roster of 25 by yourself. Enter Mike Diamantopoulos (aka Coach Dymo). I met him through women’s ball hockey while he was coaching, though he has played ice hockey his entire life and in college. When he and Coach McCloskey met, I thought they were a good match for each other. Dymo’s goal had always been to get into coaching ice hockey and I’m really excited to bring him on this season. I think Coach McCloskey can serve as a great coaching mentor – he has such a wealth of experience and a fierce love for the game.

The Trade

If you haven’t read Hannah Bevis’ article on the ins and outs of the trade, go do that now.  No doubt there is no replacing Lacasse and I will miss the laughs she brought to our team.


Genevieve, always cheesin.

But I want to reiterate that the Blades will still be in a great spot this season. With the number of goalies we drafted and some free agents coming to camp, there is a lot of competition to be on our roster, and that’s a good thing. I have full confidence that whoever we end up rostering will get the job done and then some.

It’s a new season for us, a blank slate. And all of us – players, staff, coaches – will be ready.


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How Does a GM Prepare for the Draft?

I’ve been getting some questions lately about how exactly a GM prepares for the CWHL Draft. I love answering people’s questions about my job, so if you have any, send them my way at or tweet at me @KristaPatronick.

So, preparing for the CWHL Draft really starts as soon as the season ends. Of course it’s always nice to give yourself some time to breathe between the last games of the season and recruiting but I like to get a head start on it.


At last year’s draft with three new draftees and Blades captain Tara Watchorn.

On Twitter, I was asked if I draft/recruit for need or just take the best player available. This season Boston needs depth in pretty much every area. I’m looking for more of a scoring touch up front. But we also need to run more than 4 or 5 D. Last season some players were getting such heavy minutes, it’d be nice to give them a break with some depth players who can step in and make plays happen. So when you have such big needs, you just recruit for every position. That said, Boston has the first pick of the first round, so I will be taking the best player available 🙂 I suppose if our situation were different, though, I might recruit around need.

For us, scouting and recruiting has a lot to do with a combination of finding talent on the ice, character off the ice, and a player who finds it feasible to move to or stay in Boston. (For those who aren’t familiar, players enter the draft with which locations they’d like to play in, ranked 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice). When you get all of those, you hit the jack pot.

FullSizeRender (13)On Twitter, I was asked what my #1 criteria was for choosing players in the draft. In addition to those three things above – I look for players with workhorse type attitudes. A player who is mentally tough, who will always be ready for their next battle, is the type of player we will take any day.

So, most college players, we go out and watch toward the end of their season. We will ask them to enter the draft if we feel they would be a good fit for our team. We try to visualize where they would fall in our line up. Sometimes players like to keep their options open. Maybe they’re considering playing in Europe or in the end they decide they don’t want to come to Boston for whatever reason. You have to be prepared for them to make the best decision for themselves, even if it means it’s not your team. Sometimes you lose players you really hoped you’d get; that’s part of the job.  I’m not going to lie, it sucks when that happens. But it’s not always about us; it’s about making the best choice for them. You just have to let it roll off your back and remember that everything will work out the way it is supposed to, no matter what. Life – and your season – goes on.

Other players enter the draft of their own accord. I’m usually pretty thorough in my recruiting but sometimes you get a diamond in the rough with those who enter themselves. With so many draftees with the potential to come to Boston this season, it puts us in a really good place. It fosters competition during tryouts. It makes everyone work that much harder; nobody’s jobs are safe here. If you want to be on our squad you have to earn it during tryouts. That’s the kind of culture we want.


Brownie – aka Assistant Captain Kristina Brown – was my first pick last year at the draft.

The draft is definitely one of the most exciting events of the year. It marks a new beginning – a new season, new professional hockey careers starting, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. Nothing feels better than that.

Be sure to follow us on twitter at @BostonCWHL for draft updates. Post-draft I’ll share more about the event and about the draftees coming our way. Can’t wait for you all to meet them!


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Summertime Hockey Happenings

Hi everyone! Hope everyone has been enjoying summer so far. I sure have been!

For those of us in the business and operations side of hockey, there really is no such thing as an off season. Actually, the off season is busier because that is when the majority of the work for the next season gets done. Recruiting, scheduling practices and games, budgeting, planning, organizing, ordering equipment, ordering merch inventory…you get the idea. But during the season it’s really difficult to focus on anything else, so this is a really nice time to try to get a leg up on making plans.


This past weekend we had the Beantown Classic, which is the biggest women’s tournament in Boston. Literally hundreds of girls and women’s teams from across the US and Canada come to the tournament. It’s amazing and even a little overwhelming at times because of how crowded the rinks get. But it is a great reminder of how quickly our game is growing.

This weekend we used putting in a team as an opportunity to watch and evaluate some potential prospects. For us it’s a tournament that is much less about the win/loss column and more about watching how individuals perform, and who on the team might work well together this season. It was definitely beneficial from that perspective and the team did snap its losing streak, even if it was during a tournament 🙂


FullSizeRender-9The team released its home game schedule  and as you can see we’ve moved back to Boston (for the most part anyway). It’s pretty exciting, hopefully everyone can make it out to the games! We’ll start practicing on September 1 and be more than ready for the season to start.

Off ice, we are working on a lot of exciting things for the fall – our annual season kick off party, a fall golf tournament, a November ball hockey tournament, and a fan bus to Montreal to name a few – so stay tuned for all those details.

IMG_1509In the mean time, I’m getting ready for the CWHL draft and I just can’t believe what a difference a year makes. Last year around this time I was going absolutely crazy. I was a new GM trying to recruit players into the draft, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. When sh-t hit the fan, I had to work extra hard to put the pieces back together. This season, the CWHL has 60+ in the draft, which is awesome. I’m kind of sitting back and relaxing about the draft at this point because I know we will have so much talent coming our way.

I can’t wait to introduce you all to our 2016 Boston Blades Draft Class on August 21 🙂


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Closing Time: Top 15 Moments of 2015-2016

It is so strange to wake up on a Monday morning knowing your season is over.

It has been an incredible year for the Blades, and while the scoresheets may not have shown it, it was full of learning experiences and fun times on and off the ice.

The funny thing about the “off season” is that for me there really is no off season. All the *actual* work for our team happens in the off season. We have some events we will be announcing shortly so be sure to stay tuned for that. But in general, all the planning, preparation, recruiting…all the things that go into making our team function for the year start happening now. It’s a time for me to put my nose down and work. I’m more than ready to get started.

But first, here are my top 15 moments of 2015-2016.

1.  The Blades Kickoff Party at Bantam Cider.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love cider, so I was pumped to hold our season kick off party at this amazing and unique space. People got to interact and meet the new Blades, and get excited for the upcoming hockey season. The Road Dawgs absolutely rocked and tons of people came out to support the team, including so many of my personal friends. It was an amazing night!

2. The Tour de Clarky.
We got to spend some time celebrating around the city with the Clarkson Cup, and brought it to some our favorite places around the city. It was a great day with the team to build memories and celebrate the organization’s accomplishments.
3. The time we brought Tara Watchorn to Men’s league and she owned. And it went viral.
Definitely one of my favorite all time moments from this season. From the planning to seeing it on TSN and NBC Sports, the attention that it got was definitely unexpected, but a lot of fun.
4. The win! 
I wasn’t on the road with the team during the first roadie because I had to attend a wedding, but I remember watching the Saturday game during the reception (thanks to CWHL Live). I was so nervous and anxious wondering how this team would stack up in the league. Then, on Sunday came the shootout win. I was so proud of them. I didn’t think a win would come so soon. (I also didn’t think that we wouldn’t get another one, heh, but it’s all good.)
5. The home opener.
It may not have been a win, but they looked good, and really that’s all that matters.
6.  Playing at my alma mater.
It meant a lot to me that the Blades could play a handful of home games at UMass Lowell, my beloved alma mater. I fell in love with the game here (Go River Hawks) and it was so awesome to bring my team to this place that has so much meaning for me.
7.  Ice boys.
It was a joke, you guys. But part of me thought, “……could be fun.”
8. Military Appreciation Night.
This game was one of our best attended games, but it meant a lot to us for so many reasons: the personal connections, the crowd, the amazingly close game. We also debuted our Operation Hat Trick hats! This was definitely one of my favorite games.
9. The opening of Winter Skate at Gillette Stadium.

Lacasse and her nephew Ethan


Cutting the ribbon! The Clarkson Cup in the background


Scout / Broadcast Color Commentator Steve Ventresca and I skating

We were so grateful to be invited to the opening celebration of Winter Skate @ Patriot Place. Lacasse brought her adorable little nephews and took them around the rink for a spin. Even the staff had a great time skating.
10. The Teddy Bear Toss.
We weren’t sure it was going to happen, but Shea saved the day and scored the teddy bear toss goal with only minutes to go in the third period. THANK YOU SHEA.
11. Ugly Sweater Game.
Who doesn’t love an ugly sweater?
12. The All Star Game.

Boston’s All Stars


Signing autographs for so many little girls after the game


GMs dropping the puck


Having a little fun at the  All Star draft!

The weekend was incredible and definitely one I will never forget. It was such an amazing experience to drop the puck at the Air Canada Center and be part of such a big celebration of women’s hockey.
13. Denna Laing Tribute Photo with Les Canadiennes.
Even though we’re on different teams, really, we’re all on the same team. We’re a family. ❤
14. OMGs.
OMGs, if you aren’t familiar, are a Canadian candy. OMGs sponsors the CWHL (THANK YOU!) and as a result has created an addiction among the Bladies staff members that we cannot quench as we cannot purchase OMGs in the States. Tragic.
15. This picture of Genevieve Lacasse.
There were so many awesome moments this season, I had a hard time bringing it down to 15.
To everyone who came out and supported our team this season, a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart. It truly means a lot to all of us. We’ll be back – like I said, big plans for over the summer and next season – and we hope to see you all again soon.
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