PHF Playoff Preview: Isobel Cup Final
Previewing the 2023 Isobel Cup Final between the Premier Hockey Federation's Minnesota Whitecaps & Toronto Six.
Teams in the Premier Hockey Federation have been busy, with 27 player signings announced as of writing for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Several teams have also announced changes or returns to their front offices.
There has still been no announcement regarding expansion.
Here's a look at which players have signed to date. No financial terms have been publicly disclosed for any of the contracts, although reports indicate that Mikyla Grant-Mentis' contract is worth $80,000 USD, making it the highest-value playing contract in women's hockey.
(As an aside, Jeff Marek has reported that the Toronto Six are signing Brittany Howard for a contract worth $70,000 USD.)
An asterisk (*) indicates a player returning to their team from 2021-22.
No signings reported.
Head coach Colton Orr has been re-signed for two years, while general manager Alexis Moed returns for another year.
Venla Hovi has been named the Riveters' new head coach, while Ivo Mocek will stay on as an associate head coach.
As initially reported by Jay Forster, Tori Charron has been named the Riveters' new general manager. Charron is believed to be the first publicly out non-binary person to hold a GM role in professional sports.
Jack Brodt, co-founder of the Whitecaps franchise, will now work in Assistant Hockey Operations with NLTT Hockey, the organization that owns both the Whitecaps & Beauts. He previously served as the Whitecaps' co-head coach and general manager.
Krysti Clarke recently announced her decision to step down as the Six's general manager. It's also believed that Mark Joslin won't be back behind the bench, and that Angela James will take over as GM.
Finally, the PHF also recently distributed its season-ending awards for players, just shy of two months after the Pride captured the Isobel Cup. Voting was a little different this year, with each team selecting their own nominees for each award.
This brought up some interesting (read: odd) candidates, like Toronto's nomination of Shiann Darkangelo when Mikyla Grant-Mentis was far and above their MVP. (She'd also conveniently just signed with Buffalo before award voting. I'll leave it up to you, reader, to make your own judgements about that.)
Also, while I understand striving for parity and to have fair representation from each team in award voting, having each team pick one nominee seems like a cheap way to get this done. Of course, giving out awards two months after the season ended is also less than ideal, and when players (to our knowledge) aren't really getting anything for winning, it all seems a bit pointless.
Here's the nominees, finalists (in italics) and who won each award:
Most Valuable Player: Taylor Wenczkowski, Dominique Kremer, Kennedy Marchment (winner), Madison Packer, Allie Thunstrom, Shiann Darkangelo
Defender of the Year: Amanda Boulier, Dominique Kremer (winner), Allie Munroe, Kristen Barbara, Patti Marshall, Lindsay Eastwood
Goaltender of the Year: Katie Burt, Carly Jackson, Abbie Ives, Brooke Wolejko, Amanda Leveille, Elaine Chuli (winner)
Newcomer of the Year: Kali Flanagan, Anjelica Diffendal, Taylor Girard (winner), Nora Maclaine, Patti Marshal, Taylor Davison
Denna Laing Award: Victoria Hanson, Elena Orlando (winner), Mariah Fujimagari, Kendall Cornine, Jonna Curtis, Tori Charron
Foundation Award Recipients: Jenna Rheault, Grace Klienbach, Shannon Turner, Madison Packer, Allie Thunstrom, Saroya Tinker. (Principal donated $10,000 to each winning player's charity of choice.)
Fans' Three Stars of the Season: 1. Mikyla Grant-Mentis 2. Cassidy Vinkle 3. Taylor Wenczkowski
(Photo: Michelle Jay/PHF)