Watch 11-year-old British girl’s incredible, acrobatic shutout

Jared Clinton
Emma Nichols (via Russ Huxted/@Russhux/Twitter)

If the “Like A Girl” campaign that Team USA women’s standout Hilary Knight was promoting earlier this season is looking for a new face, maybe they should give 11-year-old Emma Nichols a call.

As part of the English Ice Hockey Association’s Inter Conference Tournament, Nichols’ South East squad took on Midlands back on May 3 and the young netminder turned away more than 25 shots in the victory. But it’s not that Nichols turned away so many shots. It’s how she stopped the pucks. From sprawling, desperation saves to a few flashes of the leather, Nichols was far and away the star of the game. Check it out: Read more

The Shannon Szabados story: why her rise to men’s pro hockey stardom shouldn’t surprise us

Matt Larkin
Shannon Szabados. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Understanding what goaltender Shannon Szabados has accomplished in the past year is an exercise in mythbusting.

She’s broken new ground for female hockey players. She’s flourished in the all-male Southern Professional Hockey League after joining last year on the heels of her second Olympic gold medal for Canada. It’s tempting, though, to tell her story a certain romantic way: she overcomes insurmountable odds, endures hardship and abuse from teammates and opponents, and she triumphs.

That cliched idea belongs in Mulan. Toss it in the trash. There’s nothing conventional about Shannon Szabados’ journey. Her tale is not one of fighting to survive in the male game. It’s about growing up in the male game and earning a spot she’s worked toward her entire life. This is Szabados’ inspiring true story. And it’s nowhere near finished.

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Canadian Olympian Natalie Spooner has sights set on building a future for next generation of women’s hockey stars

Jared Clinton
Natalie Spooner (Richard Lautens/Getty Images)

When Natalie Spooner was young, her goal was to play in the NHL. Years later, she has done the next best thing: made a career for herself in the CWHL and as a member of Canada’s national team. However, she wants to make sure the next generation of women’s hockey stars can focus solely on being professional athletes.

“There’s more challenges as I’m getting older,” Spooner told thn.com. “When I was young, I was just playing the game. Now, getting older and having to realize where my future is and wondering if I can work, I think that’s the biggest barrier that can hopefully be broken in the future – that having women’s sports, or women’s hockey, be a fulltime job or being a career. Because right now it’s not.” Read more

Instant classic: USA downs Canada 7-5 for Women’s World Championship gold

Team USA (Claudio Bresciani/AFP/Getty Images)

At every major women’s tournament it seems like an inevitability – the United States taking on Canada for the gold medal and the game becoming one of the highlights of the hockey season. The gold medal contest at the 2015 Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden was no different.

What will be most memorable about the gold medal contest, aside from continued dominance at the World Championships by the American squad, is Canada’s three-goal comeback in a span of little more than two minutes. The Canadian squad fought back from a 3-0 deficit to enter the first intermission down 4-2 before a Haley Skarupa marker put the Americans ahead 5-2.

Over the next 2:03, Canada rallied with three straight goals. First, Brigette Lacquette scored on a blast from the blueline. Rebecca Johnston followed that up with a goal from the slot. Then, with American goaltender Alex Rigsby replacing the rattled Jessie Vetter, Caroline Outlette produced the game-tying goal on a deflection of a Lacquette point shot. The Canadian effort set up for a furious finish in the third. Read more

Russian women’s goaltender pays tribute to late Alexei Cherepanov with beautiful mask

Jared Clinton
Maria Sorokina (via Twitter/Andre Ringuette/HHOF Images)

Goaltenders have used mask art to pay tribute to troops, they’ve shown their love for family and friends and in some cases the legends who came before them. For Russia’s Maria Sorokina, her mask for the Women’s World Championship honors the life of Alexei Cherepanov.

Cherepanov, you may recall, was drafted 17th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2007 draft. While playing in the KHL for Avangard Omsk in 2008, Cherepanov tragically passed away at the age of 19. During an October 2008 contest against Vityaz Chekhov, Cherepanov returned to the bench following a shift, collapsed and was later pronounced dead. His death shocked the hockey world. Read more

National Women’s Hockey League set to begin in 2015-16, will pay players

Jared Clinton
NWHL promotional video (via NWHL/YouTube)

Less than three weeks after the CWHL handed out the Clarkson Cup to the Boston Blades, news comes that next season they’ll have to compete with a rival women’s league… and a rival league that can pay its players.

Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale reported this afternoon the league, spawned by Dani Rylan and former Team USA superstar Angela Ruggiero, will begin its inaugural season in 2015-16. With four teams spread across the Northeastern United States, the four team league hopes it can coincide with the CWHL while giving women’s players another option, one that will offer them pay and takes the onus off of its players to find time, money and resources to compete in the league. Read more

Shannon Szabados dominates competition in SPHL, named Player of the Week

Jared Clinton
Shannon Szabados (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

A dream season for Shannon Szabados keeps getting better. With wins over Huntsville and Knoxville, Szabados was named the SPHL Player of the Week for the second time this season.

In her two victories, Szabados, who plays for the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths, posted a 1.00 goals-against average and monster .970 save percentage. In Tuesday game against Huntsville, Szabados stopped 34 of the 35 shots she faced and turned aside 16 of 17 attempts Friday against Knoxville. Read more

Canadiens support women’s hockey, enter partnership with CWHL’s Montreal Stars

Adam Proteau
Toronto Furies forward Natalie Spooner and Montreal Stars forward Julie Chu shake hands after the semi-final game of the 2014 Clarkson Cup. (Richard Lautens, Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In thrilling news for elite women’s hockey and young women playing the game at all levels, the Montreal Canadiens strengthened the NHL’s connection to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Thursday by announcing a partnership with the league’s most successful team, the Montreal Stars.

“With the growing popularity of women’s hockey over the last decade, I think this is the right time to concretely support women who play professional hockey, and, at the same time, promote the sport among up-and-coming players,” Canadiens president Geoff Molson said in a news release. Read more