(Photo: Melissa Burgess)
Maybe you're an avid women's hockey fan, or maybe the recent 2018 Winter Olympics caught your eye. The United States women's national team's fight for equal pay, and their eventual gold medal in Pyeongchang, helped put the spotlight on women's hockey in America.
While the next Winter Olympics won't happen until 2022 in Beijing, women's hockey doesn't just stop. Between college hockey, professional leagues in North America including the NWHL and CWHL, and leagues overseas such as the SDHL, women's hockey isn't just a once-every-four-years phenomenon.
In Part I of this series, we'll look at the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States women's national hockey team and how you can watch them during the 2018-19 season.
In College Hockey
A handful of the USWNT will be returning to their collegiate teams for the 2018-19 season. Boston College in particular will see three Olympians on its roster: defenders Cayla Barnes, Megan Keller, and Kali Flanagan.
Keller and Flanagan are entering their senior seasons, while Barnes, who is just 19, will be a redshirt-freshman.
In the WCHA, Minnesota-Duluth will feature another Olympian: goaltender Maddie Rooney. She'll be a redshirt junior and one of two US Olympians in the WCHA this season. UMD will open their season with an exhibition against the Minnesota Whitecaps on September 22 before facing BC on September 28.
Finally, Kelly Pannek returns to the University of Minnesota for her redshirt senior season. They open the regular season against Mercyhurst the weekend of September 28.
Many college hockey games are available via online broadcast, but a paid subscription is required.
In the CWHL
Forward Brianna Decker and defender Kacey Bellamy are both taking their talents to the CWHL this season. Both will join the Calgary Inferno after playing for the Boston Pride of the NWHL prior to the Olympics.
Hilary Knight will return to Les Canadiennes, while goaltender Alex Rigsby has signed up for the CWHL Draft, which happens this Sunday, August 26.
The CWHL will open its season in October. The CWHL broadcasts some of its games free online every season; further information will be released once the season is closer.
In the NWHL
Many of the US Olympians will be playing in the NWHL this coming season.
Defender Emily Pfalzer, forward Dani Cameranesi, and goaltender Nicole Hensley have both signed with the Buffalo Beauts; Pfalzer previously played for Buffalo prior to the Olympics. Cameranesi formerly played for the University of Minnesota, while Hensley suited up for Lindenwood University.
Amanda Pelkey and Gigi Marvin have returned to the Boston Pride, while Amanda Kessel has signed with the Metropolitan Riveters. All three have played previously in the NWHL.
Finally, Lee Stecklein, Hannah Brandt, and Kendall Coyne will all suit up for the Minnesota Whitecaps.
The NWHL season opens in early October. All games are broadcast free online at NWHL.zone (Youtube).
What Else is New?
Both Monique Lamoreux-Morando and her sister Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson are presumably not playing this season, due to being expectant mothers.
We're also still waiting to see where forward Meghan Duggan will end up for the 2018-19 season.