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  • Why Didn't the Wild Do More To Celebrate PWHL Minnesota's Championship?


    Image courtesy of Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
    Mikki Tuohy

     

    The PWHL Minnesota team did the unthinkable. After a late-season slide, they entered the playoffs as the bottom seed, beat the top seed to move on, and won it all. So why, then, did the Minnesota Wild do the absolute bare minimum to shine the spotlight on them?

    Last time I checked, Minnesota is still the State of Hockey. Until the championship, the Wild had a great partnership with the PWHL team. They were more welcoming than any other NHL team, quickly agreeing to share Tria Rink as a practice facility and the Xcel Center as their game day rink. 

    While every other team was relegated to various, smaller facilities to play, the Minnesota team was able to piggyback off of the NHL team. That isn’t meant to be disparaging, but it seemed like the start of a symbiotic relationship. The PWHL team can pull in new fans from communities that might not usually feel comfortable at a professional hockey game but can also benefit from the existing fan base. In turn, the Wild can use their support of the PWHL to pull some fans over from the PWHL team. Overall, they can work together to grow the game of hockey.

    So it came as a complete surprise when the Wild re-shared a post about the championship on their social media and then didn’t mention it ever again. I understand not having a post ready to go. It's the off-season, and I’m sure the social media manager is more focused on content for next year, along with some rest. But how hard would it be to share a picture of some PWHL players at a Wild game and share your own words of congratulations?

    During Pride month, where fans were disappointed but not surprised to hear crickets when it came to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, it was like a slap in the face to have little to no recognition of the hard work that the PWHL team put in to win the championship. 

    Not only did the team account do the bare minimum, but the Wild players were also a disappointment. Jared Spurgeon is the only one who shared anything about the Walter Cup win, showing once again what an absolute stand-up guy and captain he is.

    In contrast, the Boston Bruins team account put together a short video as the PWHL teams headed into the championship round. They had three different players who made short videos congratulating the Boston team on their success that far and wishing them luck with the upcoming series. It was simple but showed a level of support that was encouraging for the continued success of professional women’s hockey. 

    There are plenty of Wild players who stay in the Twin Cities area for the off-season. But even reaching out further, it takes little effort to record a 15-second snippet saying congratulations.

    The only thing I can think of is that they are so jealous of the success of the Minnesota team that they’ve turned bitter. After a weird season that ended without the usual first-round playoff run, the PWHL success must’ve burned their buns.

    As the State of Hockey, it is important to support the success of hockey teams at all levels. From local youth programs and special hockey to the professional women’s team, hockey is for everyone. The Wild need to get their act together, remember that, and do better from here on out.

    [Correction: An earlier headline transposed letters in the PWHL acronym. We regret the error.]

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    Because the PWHL is it's own professional league and the Wild does not want to appear to be patronizing.  

    Considering this was a inaugural league championship I was surprised that there was almost zero media coverage (strib, reporters, national, etc.).  I was unable to find this game televised anywhere other than youtube.  Hockey is not a popular sport, except for us rabid fans.  Look on the ESPN app and search the various sports and you'll see "F1 racing", "NCAA softball", "UFC", "Cricket", and "SPORTS BETTING!!" for F's sake.  But you won't find NCAA Hockey or PWHL even in the winter.

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    The only thing I can think of is that they are so jealous of the success of the Minnesota team that they’ve turned bitter. After a weird season that ended without the usual first-round playoff run, the PWHL success must’ve burned their buns.

    As the State of Hockey, it is important to support the success of hockey teams at all levels. From local youth programs and special hockey to the professional women’s team, hockey is for everyone. The Wild need to get their act together, remember that, and do better from here on out.

    I have to completely disagree with Mikky's take on this. She states at the beginning that the Wild heavily subsidized the PWHL club, offering them an advantage in where they played and practiced. This did cost the Wild money. They did their part. 

    Growing the women's game is on the PWHL club, not the NHL club. I agree with you that the State of Hockey should be supporting the team's success, but that is not in the Wild's lane. Giving them space to have their glory and to be autonomous is really a good thing. 

    Put another way, a little sister cannot constantly have her big brother hovering over her and helping her to succeed. That's ridiculous. The little sister needs to carve out her success on her own. Sure, sometimes you get some help with some hand me downs, but you succeed or fail on your own terms, not based on the help you get from your big brother. 

    I'm guessing that Mikky is a different generation from me, likely far younger. But, this complaint, to me, resonates with the same complaint I have of lower generations who think they have right to success, an attitude that says "you owe me" just because I'm showing up, a participation trophy type of outlook. It's that entitlement attitude that just plain rubs me the wrong way.(this is generally speaking and does not apply to all individuals in lower generations)

    I was wondering how the PWHL club did with attendance this season (and a 1st season is usually more highly attended) and if they could self sustain. I was also wondering on how their tv deal went. When the NHL started, the players had to put in a lot of hard work to build the league. They sacrificed a lot for future generations of players. On the ground level, it sucks, but you get paid less trying to build something lasting and not knowing if it will work. But, in this article, it seems like that 1st level just isn't covered much.

    Ultimately, if the PWHL is going to make it, it's going to have to make it on their own. They've got to put together a great product, at a value price. Winning helps the local franchise. The players will have to work far harder in the community than their male counterparts, and they will have to be willing to do this for far less $. If they feel they have to rely on the NHL clubs for subsidies long term, then they will fail. 

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    7 minutes ago, Willy the poor boy said:

    But, in BG's defense I'm sure he was to busy manning the phones trying to dump Marco for a bag of Old Dutch Chips

    Wasn't he in Europe for pretty much the whole finals series?

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    Why Didn't the Wild Do More To Celebrate PHWL Minnesota's Championship?

    Why didn't Hockey Wilderness post an article celebrating the PWHL championship, or even get the abbreviation of the league correct in posting an article questioning the Wild's lack of attention to it?

     

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    16 minutes ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

    Why didn't Hockey Wilderness post an article celebrating the PWHL championship, or even get the abbreviation of the league correct in posting an article questioning the Wild's lack of attention to it?

     

    Oh snap! 😳

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    3 hours ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

    Why didn't Hockey Wilderness post an article celebrating the PWHL championship, or even get the abbreviation of the league correct in posting an article questioning the Wild's lack of attention to it?

     

    Edited by Will D. Ness
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    3 hours ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

    Why didn't Hockey Wilderness post an article celebrating the PWHL championship, or even get the abbreviation of the league correct in posting an article questioning the Wild's lack of attention to it?

    Fixed that error, that was on me and the editors.

    I think it's very valid to suggest that we needed more coverage of PWHL Minnesota throughout the year. I applaud Mikki for doing her part, and am eager to take steps to correct our shortcomings next year.

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    On 6/7/2024 at 5:28 PM, Protec said:

    Once again we get the articles demanding respect for pride and LGBT and women which barely relates to the Wild. In the name of inclusivity, delete jokes and slap back those you disagree with.

    I see they deleted your post. I'm glad I didn't write what I was thinking when I read:

    During Pride month, where fans were disappointed but not surprised to hear crickets when it came to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, it was like a slap in the face to have little to no recognition of the hard work that the PWHL team put in to win the championship. 

    They would have deleted my account entirely. 🙂

     

    Edited by Tony Abbott
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    On 6/7/2024 at 3:25 PM, Tony Abbott said:

    I think it's very valid to suggest that we needed more coverage of PWHL Minnesota throughout the year. I applaud Mikki for doing her part, and am eager to take steps to correct our shortcomings next year.

    Just want to say that I wasn't trying to be mean, I was merely wondering aloud. I did look to see if I had missed an article celebrating the championship. I would have liked to hear more about the effort from the Minnesota PWHL championship roster, particularly the challenges they overcame as they made their way to the title and the women who played crucial roles in getting it done.

    Particularly with the Wild out of the NHL playoffs, it could have been a rather inspirational story. I'm not suggesting the Wild couldn't have done more, it just seemed to go mostly under the radar all around the sports media world.

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    14 hours ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

    Just want to say that I wasn't trying to be mean, I was merely wondering aloud. I did look to see if I had missed an article celebrating the championship. I would have liked to hear more about the effort from the Minnesota PWHL championship roster, particularly the challenges they overcame as they made their way to the title and the women who played crucial roles in getting it done.

    Particularly with the Wild out of the NHL playoffs, it could have been a rather inspirational story. I'm not suggesting the Wild couldn't have done more, it just seemed to go mostly under the radar all around the sports media world.

    I didn't think you were being mean -- like I said, it's very valid. To be transparent: One of my jobs prevented me from covering games last year via time constraints. I was able to leave that job, and I'm hoping that gives me some opportunities to cover the team in-person next year, leading to better coverage than we would have been capable of this past year.

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    Dont they typically do those honor ceremony type things months later ?  maybe they have something planned during a pre game thing during the season to get the most exposure .

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    On 6/7/2024 at 10:32 AM, mnfaninnc said:

    I have to completely disagree with Mikky's take on this. She states at the beginning that the Wild heavily subsidized the PWHL club, offering them an advantage in where they played and practiced. This did cost the Wild money. They did their part. 

    Growing the women's game is on the PWHL club, not the NHL club. I agree with you that the State of Hockey should be supporting the team's success, but that is not in the Wild's lane. Giving them space to have their glory and to be autonomous is really a good thing. 

    Put another way, a little sister cannot constantly have her big brother hovering over her and helping her to succeed. That's ridiculous. The little sister needs to carve out her success on her own. Sure, sometimes you get some help with some hand me downs, but you succeed or fail on your own terms, not based on the help you get from your big brother. 

    I'm guessing that Mikky is a different generation from me, likely far younger. But, this complaint, to me, resonates with the same complaint I have of lower generations who think they have right to success, an attitude that says "you owe me" just because I'm showing up, a participation trophy type of outlook. It's that entitlement attitude that just plain rubs me the wrong way.(this is generally speaking and does not apply to all individuals in lower generations)

    I was wondering how the PWHL club did with attendance this season (and a 1st season is usually more highly attended) and if they could self sustain. I was also wondering on how their tv deal went. When the NHL started, the players had to put in a lot of hard work to build the league. They sacrificed a lot for future generations of players. On the ground level, it sucks, but you get paid less trying to build something lasting and not knowing if it will work. But, in this article, it seems like that 1st level just isn't covered much.

    Ultimately, if the PWHL is going to make it, it's going to have to make it on their own. They've got to put together a great product, at a value price. Winning helps the local franchise. The players will have to work far harder in the community than their male counterparts, and they will have to be willing to do this for far less $. If they feel they have to rely on the NHL clubs for subsidies long term, then they will fail. 

    I have to disagree with some points. But I do think you have good reasoning. I don’t think you’re wrong, just a difference of opinion. We can look at the women’s game of basketball exploding in the last year due to some exceptional new talent. The WNBA is directly funded by the NBA whereas the PWHL is standalone. However, it wouldn’t take much for those of an established platform, such as the NHL, to promote a massive accomplishment for minnesota and women’s hockey. They achieved the highest accomplishment in any sport. You best believe the Wild would shoutout the Twins, Vikings, or Timberwolves for such accomplishments and they’re different sports.

    You talk about attendance and attention to their game, well, you raise awareness and grow the game when you talk about it. Part of the goal of hockey has been to make it more accessible and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, grow the game. If the PWHL, or any other women’s hockey league in the future, wants to achieve the notoriety and growth the WNBA has seen, then I don’t know what more PHWL Minnesota has to do in its first year. It’s like if your child won his first ever national competition in something and all you do is say, “good job.” lol

    I’d get it if they just completed a full season and lost in the playoffs, didn’t even make it, or maybe even when deep in the playoffs and the Wild don’t say anything about it. But they won a national championship. To me, I’d say that’s worth celebrating properly for a state that has only seen women win the national championships at the pro level in the major sports in nearly 40 years.

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    Pretty hypocritical of this website to say this.

    Sure, you did an article about how MN had a chance at taking home the cup, but where is your article saying they won? 

    Where's your article saying congrats?

    Oh, but someone else didn't do their part.

    What does the PWHL have to do with pride month?  Are you claiming only LGBTQ are playing in the league?  That they were the only ones supporting these women?

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    On 6/9/2024 at 8:59 PM, Jon said:

    You talk about attendance and attention to their game, well, you raise awareness and grow the game when you talk about it.

    Jon, would you happen to have any idea how the attendance at games and on tv went? I honestly don't know either. 

    Usually, when the team honors the Twins, Vikings or Timberwolves, isn't it usually during a game, like with the Let's Play Hockey chant, or during an intermission or tv timeout. Something we don't usually see fully on tv. We will likely have to wait until next season to get such a thing. But I would look at the PWHL club getting some recognition. 

    I think it is more upon the State of Hockey in general though, to have the celebration. Was it a big enough thing for a parade? I don't know.

    On 6/9/2024 at 8:59 PM, Jon said:

    But they won a national championship. To me, I’d say that’s worth celebrating properly for a state that has only seen women win the national championships at the pro level in the major sports in nearly 40 years.

    I'm not sure I'm understanding this part. Didn't the WNBA team win a couple of championships a short time ago? What did the area do for them? One would think that the interest in hockey would trump the interest in basketball and whatever they did for the WNBA team, would be exceeded. But, that is not on the Wild, that is on the area. 

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    2 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

    Jon, would you happen to have any idea how the attendance at games and on tv went? I honestly don't know either. 

    Usually, when the team honors the Twins, Vikings or Timberwolves, isn't it usually during a game, like with the Let's Play Hockey chant, or during an intermission or tv timeout. Something we don't usually see fully on tv. We will likely have to wait until next season to get such a thing. But I would look at the PWHL club getting some recognition. 

    I think it is more upon the State of Hockey in general though, to have the celebration. Was it a big enough thing for a parade? I don't know.

    I'm not sure I'm understanding this part. Didn't the WNBA team win a couple of championships a short time ago? What did the area do for them? One would think that the interest in hockey would trump the interest in basketball and whatever they did for the WNBA team, would be exceeded. But, that is not on the Wild, that is on the area. 

    At this point I have no idea. Russo, the Wild writer for the Athletic, put the league on blast for the handling of the Darwitz situation. Imo, the league has handled the whole thing beyond poorly, so I don’t really trust anything they say, including what the numbers are for attendance and views. 

    I get what you’re saying. Honestly, I don’t think I can say anything at this point. Because if the team was to be celebrated, there’s probably gonna be some polarization. Just watching this draft unfold for Minnesota was rife with some bad connotations. Unsure of what to think of the organization/league as of right now.

     

    2 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

    I'm not sure I'm understanding this part. Didn't the WNBA team win a couple of championships a short time ago? What did the area do for them? One would think that the interest in hockey would trump the interest in basketball and whatever they did for the WNBA team, would be exceeded. But, that is not on the Wild, that is on the area. 

    That’s what I meant about the women winning national championships, referring to the Lynx and one PWHL trophy. 
     

    Lynx got parades and a bunch of events with the state officials I believe. Thats all I can’t remember so I can say for sure what more.

    Edited by Jon
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