Embrace Your Oppotunities

Embrace Your Oppotunities

Title photo courtesy of Pat McCarthy and The Ice Garden

Yesterday, Buffalo Beauts general manager Nik Fattey inked three returning Buffalo Beauts. Jordan Juron, Jacquie Greco, and goaltender Julia DiTondo will all return for the 2018-19 campaign.

Jordan Juron hopped on with the Beauts after a mid-season, one game PTO. She was signed to a contract before last year’s roster freeze. She appeared in two games and recorded a goal and an assist. Today she re-ups as full-time Beaut ready for her first full season.

Jacquie Greco is a player that started garnering her ice time in 2016-17, when it was common for players to be unable to make games due to prior/national team commitments. She often excelled, taking full advantage of her opportunities. No longer a practice squad player, she finds herself as part of this team’s core and one of it’s most versatile players, given her ability to play forward.

Julia DiTondo is a player you likely didn’t see last season as she didn't have any regular season action. Her lone appearance was in the preseason vs the Chinese Women’s National Team. She was flawless in that victory and very impressive in my opinion. She showed great lateral movement and has very quick pads. She SHINED in her lone opportunity, worked hard in practice and earned herself another contract.

You catching on to a theme here?

Embrace every and any opportunity that comes your way and make the very most out of it. If you want lemonade and only have one small lemon, what would you do? You’re going to get every damn drop of juice you can out of that thing. Apply that same logic to everyday life. These ladies did and now they’re reaping the benefits of their will and determination.

Great work, ladies! Can’t wait to see you on the ice next season.

Sounds of Silence

Sounds of Silence

NWHL Free Agency began June 1 and historically, signings throughout week one are plentiful. In terms of 2018 NWHL Free Agency, we’re two weeks in and there have been 12 signings across the league. Sounds pretty good, right? But what if I tell you 10 of 12 signings have been from one team? How weird is that??

Thus far, newly minted Buffalo Beauts general manager Nik Fattey has been putting in some serious work and has not been shy about being the new guy in town. Since free agency began, Fattey and the Beauts have added five NWHL All-Stars, two gold medalists, and have also recently added three collegiate players. All three of them captains of their teams. All of their teams were in the Frozen Four.

Elsewhere around the league? Two. TWO signings. The Metropolitan (can we just call them New Jersey) Riveters penned Amanda Kessel (huge signing) and the Minnesota Whitecaps have officially added NWHL Goaltender of the year, Amanda Leveille.

Why the white noise from the rest of the league? What’s going on?

 Nik Fattey is a Guiness World Record holder and broken nose haver. -Photo courtesy of WBFO

Nik Fattey is a Guiness World Record holder and broken nose haver. -Photo courtesy of WBFO

Could teams be in contact with the plethora of unsigned Olympians and are waiting for all of those dominos to fall? Possibly. Or more likely, is there a team that everybody wants to play for and are hoping/waiting for a call? I’ll go with the latter.

Buffalo instantly became a destination the moment Kim and Terry Pegula acquired them under the Pegula Sports and Entertainment umbrella. The Pegulas bring support, stability, and financial backing that simply cannot be matched by any other NWHL club at this time. The Pegula-owned HarborCenter, in which the Beauts play, is a world-class complex that contains unrivaled workout facilities headed by Jason Jerome and the Impact crew. All of this is very attractive to a professional athlete in a brand new league that is still losing it’s baby teeth.

Nearly the entire US Olympic team remains unsigned, including Buffalo native and former Buffalo Beauts captain, Emily Pfalzer. The lack of signings in the rest of the league is very interesting to me and the silence is deafening. In my humble and most modest opinion (and maybe a little biased), there are some huge dominoes waiting to fall and those dominoes are hoping for a one-way ticket to Pegulaville.


Harrison Browne announces his retirement

Harrison Browne announces his retirement

Harrison Browne, who was an inaugural member of the Buffalo Beauts and a key component of the 2017 Isobel Cup champion team, has announced his retirement from professional hockey.

Harrison leaves as one of only two players to be listed twice on Isobel, having won the 2018 championship with the Metropolitan Riveters.

Harrison’s legacy as a champion pales in comparison to the indelible mark he’s left on the sports world as a whole due to his role as a distinguished figurehead in the LGBTQ community.

“Harrison is a champion for transgender rights and retires as an Isobel Cup champion hockey player,” NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan indicated in today’s press release.

“Thank you to all the fans out there who have shown me support. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for me and the LGBTQ community as a whole. You have shown anyone struggling to be themselves that they don’t have to be afraid…that there will always be people out there who will support you and love you no matter what. Thank you for allowing me to feel comfortable in my own skin and cheering me on as Harrison,” Browne wrote in his letter to the fans.

Harrison ends his career with 27 points in 51 regular season games, and has the distinction of having missed no games in his three year career, playing in all 51 NWHL games scheduled during that time.

His physicality and tenacity were his calling card throughout his career. There is little question that he will be missed on the ice this season, as these characteristics gave him the innate ability to change the pace of a game. This was especially true of his time with the Buffalo Beauts, when he and frequent linemates Kourtney Kunichika and Devon Skeats wreaked havoc on opponents with a devastating forecheck that often resulted in turnovers, shots, and goals for the Beauts.

“Thank you to the Buffalo Beauts organization for giving me a chance to make my professional hockey dreams come true,” Browne stated. “I will always cherish my time in Buffalo and as a Beaut. To all my past teammates, coaches, staff and fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this Canadian feel at home across the pond.”

To read Harrison's entire statement, click here.

Three Beauts Earn NWHL Honors

Three Beauts Earn NWHL Honors

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As the Isobel Cup Final approaches, the NWHL season is quickly coming to a close. With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the league takes the time to reflect on the season and present its awards for the players that stood out from their peers over the last six months.

The Buffalo Beauts will compete for the Cup for the third consecutive season – an honor held by no other team in the league. It’s no surprise, then that several Buffalo Beauts were nominated for awards, and that goaltender Amanda Leveille and forward Hayley Scamurra have taken home the hardware.

Competition for Goaltender of the Year was certainly tight. Riveters netminder Katie Fitzgerald held the top spot in goals against average and save percentage, tying Leveille for the league lead with 12 wins.

While Fitzgerald has been consistent all season, Leveille played more minutes and faced nearly 150 more shots on the year. Much of the damage to Leveille’s statistical performance was done in the first six games of the season. In the final 10, the second-year goalie out of the University of Minnesota has put on a veritable clinic.

The rough six game start to the year saw Leveille’s goals against average bubble to 4.00, but in the final 10 games, that dropped to an incredible 1.67. In that same stretch, her save percentage rose to .939.

It was her quick development and leadership ability that rightfully earned Leveille Goaltender of the Year.

The rookie of the year race was also a tight one, and it is perhaps bittersweet that linemates Hayley Scamurra and Maddie Elia would be so closely matched that either could have carried the title.

Though it is Scamurra who wins the award, there is a lot of be said about Elia’s rookie season. A point-per-game producer, 11 of Elia’s 14 points were primary points – that’s nearly 79 percent. Likewise, 11 of her points were at even strength; again 79 percent. These impressive numbers, combined with Elia’s physical dominance earned her the right to battle Scamurra for rookie of the year.

It was Scamurra that emerged with the crown, however, and the young power forward has certainly earned it. Nominated to take part in the series against Team USA and also an all-star representative for the Beauts, Scamurra has had a fantastic season. She spent the first two months of the year commuting from Northeastern University, where she was completing her degree. Once she was able to return to Buffalo full time, there was a clear change in Scamurra, who ended the season with 14 points.

The two freshman played most of their minutes with Kourtney Kunichika, who has a tendency to be a calming influence for such physical and gifted players as Elia and Scamurra. Their shifts were frequently the strongest for the Beauts, and there were often times where it seemed that Elia and Scamurra were in a constant one-up battle to see who could impress more with their hands, physicality, and pure sniping ability.

Congratulations go out to Leveille and Scamurra on their awards, and Elia on an incredible season that earned the nomination. 716 Sports Podcast wishes the Beauts the best of luck in the Isobel Cup. 

**UPDATE**

Jacquie Greco received the NWHL Foundation award for her tireless work in the community. Greco has worked as a coach with the Buffalo Sabres Learn to Play program, teaching the game to hockey’s youngest fans. As a coach and an ambassador, Greco is invaluable to the community and to the team.

Beauts sign Jordan Juron for playoff push

Beauts sign Jordan Juron for playoff push

The Buffalo Beauts have announced that forward Jordan Juron has signed for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Juron, who wore number 7 in her debut with the Beauts on January 14, had an assist in her only NWHL action prior to this contract. She played on a one-game PTO with Buffalo in a matchup against the Connecticut Whale at Pittsburgh’s UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

The 23-year old played alongside Maddie Elia at Boston University. Juron had 40 points in 141 NCAA games (15 goals, 25 assists.)

Whispers of this move were heard prior to the March 6 deadline, however, no formal announcement was made by the league and tweet from the team served as the only notice of this transaction.

Juron provided this statement to 716 Sports Podcast via e-mail: " "When I found out the Beauts wanted me to join them in Pittsburgh on a PTO I was very excited about the opportunity, but I was also pretty nervous not having played a game since Hockey East playoffs in March of 2016 with Boston University. The team was so welcoming though and it was nice to have a few familiar faces in the locker room - they made me feel right at home. Playing in that game not only made me miss hockey even more and lit a little fire in me to get back to playing full time, but also showed me how much I missed being part of a team. I am beyond grateful that the Beauts have given me this opportunity especially amidst a 9 game winning streak and with the playoffs just one week away. The team is hot right now and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do whatever I can to help achieve the goal of repeating as Isobel Cup champions!"

Buffalo will wrap up the regular season on the road against Connecticut at 7pm on Saturday, March 10 before coming home to face the Boston Pride for the first playoff game at the HarborCenter in team history.

Rising star shining bright in Buffalo

Rising star shining bright in Buffalo

In a league full of stars, Buffalo Beauts forward Hayley Scamurra is a supernova. When Scamurra is on the ice, play seems to revolve around her. The puck gravitates toward her. While she and her linemates Maddie Elia and Kourtney Kunichika have been an unstoppable force in the league through the 2017-18 season, Scamurra has impressed in the NWHL, friendlies with the US Women’s National Team, and the NWHL All-Star Game.

“We consider Hayley to be a dominant power forward who can play all situations,” says head coach and general manager Ric Seiling. He made a surprise move to sign Scamurra for last season’s Isobel Cup run, catching the rising star as her collegiate career ended. “Last year...gave her the confidence that has helped her be a driving force on this team.”

Scamurra is certainly driving the offense of the Beauts. Tied at second in scoring with Elia, her 11 points are one shy of the team high of 12, held by Kunichika. Scamurra is one of the best possession players in women’s hockey, which is demonstrated by her 46 shots on goal this year, good enough for second in the league. She also carries a plus-3 rating through her 11 games, which is not surprising considering 64 percent of her points have come at even strength.

Scamurra is grateful that Seiling took a flyer on her last season. She says it definitely helped her transition to her rookie season. “I think playing last year made me feel more comfortable in the league. Even though this is my rookie year, I have felt pretty confident and comfortable,” Scamurra told 716 Sports Podcast.

This season hasn’t been without its obstacles, though. Scamurra had one final semester at Notheastern and the spent the first few months commuting from Boston to Buffalo. “The biggest challenge [this year] was living in Boston and having to practice by myself and then travel to games. I missed being with my team and bonding with them. But now I’m back in Buffalo for the long haul.”

The Western New York native is a warrior of the highest order. A natural scorer, Scamurra focuses on being a complete player. “My strengths are working hard in the corners and in tight spaces. I love battling for the puck.” She thinks this drive fits in well with the blue-collar mentality of the team. “Our teams strength is that we never give up. We are a hardworking team and we work well together.”

Scamurra credits her linemates for much of her success. “We have great chemistry. We all battle and we find each other - we’ve been lucky enough to put some in,” she told the press after the Beauts broke the Metropolitan Riveters’ win streak.

Seiling considers himself fortunate that this line has come together the way that it has. “We have had some ideas [in the preseason] and it really came down to Kourtney learning to play wing. She has done a great job adjusting to the new position and complimenting Hayley and Maddie.”

The line is firing on all cylinders. Of Scamurra’s 11 points, 9 are primary and 7 are even-strength primary points. Special teams is clearly key, but the even-strength contributions are certainly the catalyst for the Beauts’ 7-game winning streak. The last twelve months have been nearly flawless for the Beauts, and it would be difficult to overstate the importance of the team’s leading scorer in that time. Young, strong, fast, accurate, and responsible, Hayley Scamurra’s rising star is lighting the path for Buffalo’s success.

Beauts win streak parallels statistical improvements.

Beauts win streak parallels statistical improvements.

It’s only halfway through February, but 2018 has been a good year for the Buffalo Beauts. Just before the year turned new again the team got perhaps the best possible news, when it announced that Pegula Sports and Entertainment had struck a deal with the NWHL and become the first private owners in North American professional women’s hockey. 

Since the Beauts found an owner, the team has yet to lose a game. The six-game winning streak was extended on February 3, when Buffalo finally defeated the Metropolitan Riveters to close out the regular season home schedule and lock down the first home playoff game in team history.

The story of the season is highlighted by recent success,  but things haven’t necessarily gone as planned all year. On December 11, 716 Sports Podcast published a piece outlining some of the weaknesses that helped explain a string of defeats the team had suffered.

Since then, the Beauts have certainly righted the ship in many ways. Though things are frequently still touch-and-go in the third period, overall game performance has improved immensely; especially in shot differential.

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Goaltender and All-Star captain Amanda Leveille had been facing 34 shots per game, while the NWHL average shots against was under 30. Leveille still has the most minutes, shots against, and saves, but her shots per game has seen a small drop. After 12 games played, the Beauts have improved slightly; Leveille is seeing just over 31 shots per game. The league as a whole, though has dropped slightly and is now under 29 shots against per game.

The gap between the two has diminished, though, and that makes a difference. It’s not the biggest of margins, but the improvements overall are clearly important.

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What’s perhaps most incredible is that the team has improved by over four shots per game; where once the shot differential was approaching six, it is now just minus-1.6. If this trend continues, Buffalo will end the season with a positive shot differential for the first time in its three seasons.

Secondary scoring has also helped to drive Buffalo’s momentum. Five of Buffalo’s starting six defenders have contributed primary points. Forwards who would be considered depth players like Kristin Lewicki and Kaylyn Schroka both have contributed five or more primary points. Kourtney Kunichika, who anchors the Beauts’ most productive line, is the only player who isn’t a Riveter to have 10 or more primary points.

A combined improvement in goaltending, shots, and production, have been contributing factors to Buffalo’s success in the last six games, and the difference between that set and the first six shows in the standings. By December 10, the team had fallen to third place and was desperate for a positive. Since then, the team has been undefeated and shown marked development in many ways. 

Of course, this is familiar territory for Buffalo. The underdog in the last two championships, the Beauts’ storied championship run last year is a wonderful blueprint for success again this season. Hopefully it doesn’t take 60 saves from Leveille to make it happen. 

Golden child returns to home away from home away from home

Golden child returns to home away from home away from home

Every athlete at every level at every age has had the dream of being a champion. Relatively few get to live out the fantasy, and even fewer do it on a national level. Buffalo Beauts goaltender Amanda Leveille has done it in three consecutive seasons - two with the Minnesota Golden Gophers and most recently with the Beauts.

While Leveille has been tearing it up in her HarborCenter home, she’ll return to Minnesota on February 10 to captain Team Lev at the NWHL’s All-Star Game. It’s a big year for the league, and for Leveille. Selected players will travel to the mid-west and join forces with current and former Minnesota Whitecaps greats for the Skills Competition and, of course, the All-Star Game.

Leveille took some time after a recent win to speak with 716 Sports Podcast about the honor, the game, and what’s happening in LevWorld.

716 Sports Podcast: Which has felt better – New ownership by the Pegulas, six-game win streak, or being named all-star captain?
Amanda Leveille: It’s impossible to say one feels better than the others when I am so grateful for all three!

716: When you got the news about the All-Star Game, what was your reaction?
AV: I was very surprised and grateful for the opportunity to be a captain at the All Star Game in a state that become my home away from home in college. Couldn’t be more excited to play another game in the state of hockey!

716: You took three Buffalo defenders in the ASG draft. Is that an indication of how comfortable you are with your blueline?
AV: I love my defenders they work hard and sometimes make some saves for me!

716: Who did you choose that you’re most anticipating playing with?
AV: Jordyn burns. We were Gopher teammates and we’re both excited to play another game in Minnesota.

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716: Any predictions for the weekend?
AV: Team Leveille 40 Team Ott 0. Just kidding. I’m anticipating a fast paced thrilling game. Can’t wait!

716: With Brianne McLaughlin out of the way, are you keeping the fastest goalie title in the Queen City?
AV: Negative. I have a better chance of on winning the accuracy or hardest shot!

We thank Amanda for her time. For the third consecutive season, a Beaut is captaining an All-Star team, and Leveille’s predecessors are undefeated in the previous iterations. Be sure to tune in to NWHL.zone for the broadcast and cheer on the league’s best and brightest.

Beaut Essentials: Whale Watch

Beaut Essentials: Whale Watch

On Jan 20, the Buffalo Beauts will return to the HarborCenter to face the Connecticut Whale in a bid for the team’s fourth consecutive victory. The team is over .500 for the first time this season and looking to put important distance between themselves and the third place Boston Pride, who have a tough task against the undefeated Metropolitan Riveters.

Buffalo is coming off of a 4-3 win which saw the team overcame the absence of four of its top players. Captain Corinne Buie joined linemate Jess Jones, power forward Hayley Scamurra and defender Sarah Edney in Tampa for a series of friendlies against Team USA in advance of the Olympic Games. The team’s incredible depth was on full display, with Kourtney Kunichika, Taylor Accursi, and Maddie Elia all padding their points stats, continuing to lead the team.

As the team attempts to solidify its position in second place, here’s what you need to know:

The Gang’s All Here

It was a fruitful visit to Florida for the crew, with Scamurra scoring a goal in the second game of the series. Team NWHL played admirably against one of the world’s most powerful teams, and the competition revealed some weaknesses in the American’s strategies. Hopefully Team USA can get it figured out in time to take home the gold.

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The win over the Whale was a return to center for the Beauts, who were outshot through the game and allowed two third period goals. At the same time, the team’s astounding depth came through, scoring four goals without the aid of key forwards and the only blueliner to have scored through the midway point of the season. It was a key win for Buffalo, who is riding high on the confidence of their current win streak.

Lock it Down

The Beauts have a dangerous tendency to abandon the front of the net when things get hairy in the defensive zone. This allows teams unchecked whacks at free pucks and puts netminder and All-Star captain Amanda Leveille in a precarious position.

The team needs to keep its structure and stop chasing the puck. Coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni have worked with the team on defensive positioning and it is important that the team carry these lessons into the game. Clean up the crease, tie up sticks, and end the loose pucks in front. This will minimize both shots and high-danger opportunities.

Play it Again, Lev

Leveille has been more confident playing the puck, and it is a dynamic that teams may not have recognized. It is an important part of Buffalo’s transition – especially when a dump-in is deployed for the purposes of a line change. A quick swing up the ice can cause chaos and odd-skater rushes, which Buffalo LOVES to try to take advantage of.

The team needs to handle this new aspect to the game properly. Get to the boards and get the puck to center ice. Two or three passes into the zone can spring a featured puck handler like Elia, Scamurra, or Kristin Lewicki, and the results could really help to level the playing field once Buffalo faces the Riveters again.

As always, Jeff Boyd and the 716 Sports Podcast crew will bring you the action live on NWHL.zone, but there is nothing like being there and seeing the action live. Be sure to check out the new video board and join us as we take Strides Against Cancer. The puck drops at 1pm.

 

Beaut Essentials: Pittsburgh

Beaut Essentials: Pittsburgh

Not enough time to read or just too lazy?? Listen to the article below! 

**Title photo courtesy of NWHL.com**

After a solid 60+ minute effort on home ice in their first appearance as a One Buffalo property, the Buffalo Beauts beat the Boston Pride 3-2 in overtime on Kaylyn Schroka’s second goal of the season. Schroka earned the NWHL’s Player of the Week award for her efforts.

They’ll be taking this show on the road to the Steel City on January 14 as the team wows the crowd at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. The neutral site matchup will pit the team against the last place Connecticut Whale, who are struggling to keep pace in the middle of the pack.
In their last matchup, Buffalo won 3-1, but the game was much closer than the score dictates. Connecticut was able to possess the puck and wear down the Buffalo defense, leading to another weak third period performance from the Beauts. In the end, it may have been a strategic error by the Whale that was their ultimate demise; head coach Ryan Equale sent Connecticut star Kelly Babstock to cherry-pick at the opposing blueline, playing five-on-four in his zone. It was a strange look from the team and the bet did not pay off for Equale.

As the Beauts attempt to put more distance between themselves and the Pride, and try to make up some ground on the Riveters, here’s what you need to know:
Missing you: Buffalo will be sending four of its best players to Tampa to compete in a series of tune-up games for Team USA in advance of the 2018 Olympics. These players include Jess Jones, who is on a three-game goal streak, Hayley Scamurra, who had the game winner against Boston, Corinne Buie, the team’s captain and arguably best two-way forward, and featured defender Sarah Edney.

It will be difficult for Buffalo to fill the gaps left by these players, but the team does have experience on its side. Roster changes are common for the Beauts game-to-game, and while they generally aren’t shy an entire line of forwards, it’s something the team has had to deal with since its inception. The reunion of the Adrian Trio could push Kristen Lewicki and Schroka to continue their hot streaks, and the shuffle will give some depth defenders like Kayla Parsons a chance to get back on the ice.

It is important to note that Connecticut will be missing only one player: Babstock. This is a solid blow to the Whale lineup, however, having more of its starters at the ready is an advantage for the Connecticut team.

Holding on to Mo: Call it momentum. Call it confidence. Call it a brand new team of players that are finally learning how to play together. Whatever you call it, the Beauts have it right now. Not only did the team defeat Boston handily, but Buffalo managed to do it without taking a single penalty. It’s a drastically different look from the season opener. The team has matured and isn’t taking the lazy infractions, or the retaliatory ones; instead the team is going scoreboard on opponents. 

This is the type of play that coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni have been expecting. “We’re starting to move the puck more, get things set up and create some opportunities,” Seiling said after the win over Boston.
The Beauts also mastered the faceoff circle in Boston. It was the first time this year that the team really dominated the dot and continuing to do so would certainly give the team a leg up in the possession game.

Be aware: Both of Boston’s tallies came on the rush, which is different from a normal Beauts performance. Usually Buffalo spends a lot of time hemmed into the zone and eventually, a breakdown leads to a goal.

It was quite an improvement for the Beauts to be the team controlling the zone, but they need to be aware of a quick transition, which all of the teams in the NWHL are capable of. Setting up and getting a good cycle is great, and that means that the defense will pinch and join the play, but the blueliners need to recognize when a turnover could burn them and be ready to get back. Nothing will kill a good possession more than an odd-player rush coming back the other way.

The matchup in Connecticut will be the Twitter Game of the Week. Justen and Jeff will be on the call with intermission reports from Erica Ayala of the Connecticut Whale’s broadcast team. Be sure to tune in and tweet at us!
 

Beaut Essentials: One Buffalo

Beaut Essentials: One Buffalo

On January 6, the Buffalo Beauts will awake from their holiday slumber and return to the HarborCenter ice to face the Boston Pride in a matinee for the ages. A lot has happened since last we saw our frozen heroes. On December 21, the league announced that the Beauts would become the first privately owned professional women’s hockey club in North America. Now a One Buffalo property, the financial security of the team has been assured as the team is now under the ownership of sports juggernaut, the Pegula family.

On the same day, members of the team were notified they’d represent the league in a set of friendlies against Team USA in Tampa, Florida. Corinne Buie, Jess Jones, Hayley Scamurra, and Sarah Edney will all make the trip to face the American Olympians as a final tune-up for Pyeongchang.

Beyond the fairy-tale like atmosphere of the last two weeks, there is hockey to be played, and as with most matchups in a 16-game schedule, this is an important one. Boston is just a half a game back of the Beauts in the standings, and a loss for Buffalo puts the Riveters that much closer to clinching the top seed in the playoffs. This is game one of a four-game homestand (which includes a neutral site game in Pittsburgh,) and here’s what you need to know:


On a tear: Jess Jones and Kristin Lewicki each have goals in Buffalo’s last two matchups. Kourtney Kunichika and Sarah Edney each have two assists over those last two games, and Maddie Elia added one, which ties her with Kunichika as the Beauts’ scoring leaders.

Though the team is still being outscored by averages, the Beauts appear to be rounding into form as the season hits the midway point this weekend. After scoring her second goal in two games in a 3-1 victory over the Connecticut Whale on December 16, Lewicki said she was feeling more comfortable. “I just needed to get that first one under my belt. It’ll come with every game now. It’s common for me, so I’ve finally got that one and I’ll just keep going now.”

Making it count: Some fun numbers: Buffalo’s team save percentage is .897. Their opponents? The Beauts tear up other netminders to the tune of .895. Only the Whale have fewer shots on goal than the Buffalo, but the Beauts’ shooting percentage is almost double that of Connecticut and a full two percent better than Boston.

Brittany Ott has allowed 2.86 goals per game, and Buffalo has scored 2.86. Buffalo needs to continue to make their shots count against Ott this weekend if the team hopes to put some distance between themselves and the Pride in the standings.

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? This column usually ends with something the team needs to do better, and that is usually about shots and stronger third periods. While those are both true, there is no sense in continuing to pummel this horse.

With that in mind, Buffalo needs to incorporate the defense into the offense more frequently. Sarah Edney is the only blueliner with a goal this season, which is tragic given the talent on this team. Both Lisa Chesson and Sarah Casorso have the capabilities to play forward, and so the pair should be able to bury the puck from time to time. A goal from the back end would no doubt boost the Beauts; especially in these close games with teams like Boston and Connecticut. Lewicki said it best: just get that one and it’ll come with every game.

The Beauts’ first game under the Pegula Sports and Entertainment umbrella should be a spectacle. It is also the team’s You Can Play game, presented by the organization that promotes inclusivity throughout sports. Be sure to come down and fill the HarborCenter for the defending champs.

If you can’t make the game, tune in live at NWHL.zone. Jeff, Justen, and Erik will be joined in intermissions by Boston play by play broadcaster Marisa Ingemi for insight and analysis.

Beauts linemates join NWHL stars to face Team USA

Beauts linemates join NWHL stars to face Team USA

It’s been a very exciting end of the 2017 season for the Buffalo Beauts, and for a handful of players, the elation just keeps growing. Prior to the news that the Pegula family had purchased the Beauts, the league announced a set of exhibition games against Team USA as a final primer for Pyeongchang. Today, we learned that the Beauts will be heavily represented at the friendlies, with forwards Corinne Buie. Jess Jones, and Hayley Scamurra all getting the nod.

The roster was selected from the current active group of NWHL players by deputy commissioner Hayley Moore, with input from the league’s coaching staffs. “I got the call from Hayley [Moore] on the same day that the news broke about the new ownership, so it was a great set of Christmas presents,” Buie told 716 Sports Podcast on a phone interview.

Her linemate, Jess Jones, was equally excited to get the call. “It was awesome to be chosen. The game is going to be a lot of fun.”

Both Buie and Jones have faced many of the players on the national team throughout their collegiate and professional careers. Buie is eager for the challenge ahead. “I’ve played with a lot of the girls, and against them as well. Facing this national team is probably the highest level of hockey I’ve ever gotten to play.”

Jones echoed her linemates’ sentiments; “It is really cool to be facing these players at the top of their game. Everyone wants the opportunity to show their skills against the best of the best, and these games are our chance to do just that,” Jones said.

The pair have spent a lot of time together, playing on the Beauts’ top line this season. Buie says Jones is, “super-skilled, and a great teammate.” She pointed out that Jones is starting to get hot, so this is the perfect time for her to get the chance to show the world what she’s got.

Jones was equally complimentary. She described Buie, ‘my right wing’ as, “a big forward with lots of speed and a cannon of a shot.”

Buie is a four-year veteran, and is blown away by the evolution of women’s hockey in just that short time. “I got to come home and watch some high school hockey over the holidays,” she explained. “Everything is growing super fast. I was amazed at the skills these young girls are developing. Every year, when we get fresh players out of college, they are always a step above the last. It really is amazing.”

 Jess Jones versus Metropolitan Riveters. Photo courtesy of Mike Murphy.

Jess Jones versus Metropolitan Riveters. Photo courtesy of Mike Murphy.

Jones has just surpassed the 100 game mark in her professional career, and marveled at the growth her sport has experienced in that time. “When I began, there was no all-star game [for our league.] Getting the chance to play at the ACC the following season was huge. The stage just keeps growing – from a men’s hockey arena, now to the international spotlight. It’s really exciting.”

“This is great exposure for the league,” Buie added. “It’s going to be fun for fans to watch, and I’m excited to help this league grow.”

The storylines that have developed over the last week are an incredible bookend to what was an already amazing 2017 for the Buffalo Beauts. After a Cinderalla run to the Isobel Cup, the players joined in solidarity with their Team USA colleagues against USA Hockey, forcing the organization to recognize the inequity in their treatment of the athletes. The team became the first privately owned club in North American women’s hockey, and now they will take the ice against the potential gold-medal winners in the 2018 Olympic Games.

Closing out the conversation, Buie was clearly awestruck by everything that’s taken place in the last 360 days. “I’m so excited to play against the Olympic team. This is a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

Pegula Sports and Entertainment acquires the Buffalo Beauts

Pegula Sports and Entertainment acquires the Buffalo Beauts

We want to contribute to the growth of women’s hockey. HarborCenter has allowed us to make a positive impact on the game at the amateur, high school and collegiate levels, and we believe this is the perfect time to expand our reach to include women’s professional hockey through the NWHL. This sport provides outstanding opportunities, and we are committed to helping extend those opportunities to females of all ages.” – Kim Pegula, Pegula Sports and Entertainment

As the 2017 NWHL season glides toward the halfway point, the league and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have announced a blockbuster deal that changes the game of women’s sports to the core. Terry and Kim Pegula have purchased the 2017 Isobel Cup Champion Buffalo Beauts. The NWHL franchise is now officially a PSE property, rounding out the One Buffalo trifecta.

Over the past two seasons, our readers have seen our pleas to the Pegula family regarding the Beauts. The news comes only a few months after the New Jersey Devils partnered with the Metropolitan Riveters to begin the 2017-18 season. The Riveters’ home opener was part one of a double header with the Devils, and was an incredibly successful endeavor. One can expect that similar events will take place between the Sabres and the Beauts, though nothing has been announced at this time.

The idea that a partnership might be forming was massaged last spring, when the Pegulas worked a promotions video with the team. Players were seen wearing One Buffalo gear in Beauts colors, causing some to speculate that this move was in the works. “We’ve been in communication with the Pegulas since our inaugural season,” NWHL commissioner Rylan stated in a phone interview. “Things have ramped up over the last five or six months.

The Beauts will have the backing of a local sports and media power house. Not only does this reflect financial stability for the team, but with the news that the Pegulas will take over all team operations, the Beauts will have access to superior marketing and experienced management. A million doors that were previously closed to the team have now been opened with one pen stroke.

Rylan is familiar with the strength of the One Buffalo brand that the Beauts are now a part of. “One of the biggest benefits is that the team will be plugged into the marketing machine that One Buffalo has become.

“It also allows aspiring hockey families to show all of their children that their dreams can become a reality,” Rylan continued. “Their sons and daughters will know that a professional career is equally available to them.”

Beauts defender and Buffalo native Jacquie Greco agrees. “Knowing that the Pegula family and the city of Buffalo believes in my team and the future of women’s hockey is an extraordinary feeling. I couldn’t be more happy to join the One Buffalo family and I look forward to the future and growth in my home city.

Only one coach in the league has been behind the bench since the league's inception, and this deal further expands Ric Seiling's relationship with Buffalo hockey. The former Buffalo Sabre told 716 Sports Podcast, "It’s a great thrill and we are so honored to be part of the Pegula sports and entertainment and the Sabres organization. We have always trusted that Buffalo was the place for Hockey and this is just another piece of proof." 

Though the players’ salaries will not change, the resources available to them will be equal to that of the Buffalo Sabres, Rylan says. “We expect that One Buffalo will provide the same marketing opportunities, and of course, access to shared resources will be key for the Beauts players.”

Gone are the days when players are forced to beg for new sticks as the season comes to a close. Proper training and the resources required to do so are now a given instead of a hope or a dream.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Kim Pegula,” Rylan said. “Her role in the world of women’s sports cannot be understated, and we look forward to having her as a mentor for the league.”

The Pegula family, and especially Kim Pegula, have been longtime supporters of women in sports, and this is certainly a strong statement to substantiate the claim. They are the first private owners of a North American women’s hockey franchise, which demonstrates the type of commitment and leadership that can be expected as the NWHL and the Beauts continue to develop. “The goal is to expand into one or two more markets,” Rylan stated.

It stands to reason, then, that a partnership similar to this would be sought in expansion. There is little question that private ownership would make expansion infinitely easier.

This is incredibly exciting news for women’s hockey as a whole. 2017 has been an incredible year for growth of the sport. It began with the battle for equality between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in advance of the World Championships, and has been bookended perfectly with the announcement of this deal.

More details regarding the deal will certainly emerge over the coming weeks, and we will work to bring you any news that comes. This is an incredible step toward equal footing in the Buffalo sports marketplace, and an unparalleled opportunity for women’s sports as a whole.

Action will resume on January 6 at HarborCenter, when the Buffalo Beauts will take the ice for the first time under ownership. 716 Sports Podcast will bring you all of the action live on NWHL.zone.

 

 

Beaut Essentials: Twitter me this

Beaut Essentials: Twitter me this

If there were a worse-case scenario for the Buffalo Beauts’ season so far, this would probably be it. After a good start, the team has dropped three straight, and are occupying third place by the slimmest of margins – tiebreakers.

This matchup that will take place on Saturday afternoon is the tiebreaker to end all tiebreakers, as the Beauts will face basement dwellers the Connecticut Whale for the ultimate prize: a chance to not be the worst team in the league as the holiday break approaches.

Here’s what you need to know:

Momma, I’m comin’ home: IT’S THE TWITTER GAME OF THE WEEK! Come on out and support the team – fill the stands for the international cameras that will be trained on our Beaut-iful barn. It’s also the team’s Teddy Bear Toss event, so be sure to bring a furry companion to help provide gifts to Gold Star Families.

From a hockey standpoint, Buffalo has played well in their first two home games – matchups that include a win against Boston and a loss to the Riveters. The team is better at generating shots for the hometown crowd, and limit costly turnovers, too. If it weren’t for those pesky third periods…

Stick like glue: A Beauts Essentials referencing weak third periods? Hasn’t this horse suffered enough postmortem bashing? Perhaps. However, it bears repeating. In Buffalo’s last home game, the team took a 3-3 tie into the third before letting the Rivs net three straight, losing 6-3. On Dec 10, the team had a 2-1 lead on Metropolitan at the second intermission, and still lost 4-2.

Something has to give. The team is too good to keep dying in the final frame. It is a roster that is STACKED with scoring talent – something that coaches Ric Sieling and Craig Muni spoke about frequently in the preseason. Hopefully the home ice and international stage will spark some late-burning fire.

Blueline blitz: The Beauts have three defenders on the roster who spent some time at forward last season. They are a team that has perpetually strategized offensive defensewomen. It is quite a surprise, then, that in six games, the defense has accounted for only one goal.

In a piece earlier in the week, 716 Sports Podcast highlighted a diminished defensive shot rate. In fact, the only defender to have scored (Sarah Edney) is the only blueliner with double-digit shots on goal.

There are a lot of factors that lead to this result. One is that Buffalo hasn’t been great at keeping the puck in the offensive zone. A lot of the team’s goals have come on the rush, or very soon after a zone entry. The Beauts do spend a lot of time in the defensive zone, which means as soon as the puck clears, the blue line is changing, and the puck is probably headed back into the defensive zone very soon.

Possession. Shots. This is how the Riveters win, and it’s how good hockey teams win. The Beauts’ overall play – especially in the third period – would be boosted by an uptick in defensive contributions.

Come join us on Saturday as 716 Sports Podcast brings you the Twitter Game of the Week. If you can’t make it to the game, be sure to tune in on Saturday at 1:30.

We’re also working to bring you women’s hockey news on a broader level. Join us on Snapchat for video updates and answers to your questions!

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Shot through the heart

Shot through the heart

At the outset, I apologize for the self-referential nature of this piece, because I’m too lazy to present this info in a manner other than the tweets I sent out this morning. If you want good, organized data in fancy chart form, check out Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) on twitter, who does an incredible job herding the cats that are women pro hockey stats. And also is really good at herding cats, probably.

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First, I’ve made a a point of discussing shot differentials for the Beauts in my Beauts Essentials game previews. Historically, the team is known for giving up a lot of shots to their opponents. Last year’s Isobel Cup superhero Brianne McLaughlin stopped an incredible 60(!) shots in the final to defeat Boston. That’s two games worth of shots in the average NWHL game this season. Things are bad again this year, as Buffalo is giving up five more shots per game than they are taking. Goaltender Amanda Leveille has faced more shots and made more saves than any other netminder in the league this season.

As you can see from the tweet below, that is what they call in the business a ‘Big Deal.’ The standings through six games reflect exactly the teams who take the most shots per game, in descending order. Anomaly? Maybe. It’s a small sample size. But it’s also a reasonable, logical assessment. With team shooting percentages generally floating around 10-12 percent, just eight more shots per game can be one goal, from a statistical standpoint.

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Where is the deficit coming from? As a team, Buffalo’s shot rate is 1.11 less per game that last season, where they took the fewest shots of any team in the league. Even then, the team was getting shot support from the backend that they are not getting this year. Below is a breakdown of the top three defenders in shots per game last season versus this season.

As you can see, there is a huge gap between Megan Bozek’s 4.0 and Sarah Edney’s 1.83. It’s an important component to the story of the Beauts’ season so far – the role of the defense in the offensive zone has diminished greatly.

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There are a couple of things to note. First, Buffalo has played most of the year with a power play unit that features four forwards. That wasn’t always the case last season, though I am certain a lot of Bozek’s shots came with the player advantage. Second, the team has played the undefeated Riveters three times. Surely, this will skew the numbers a bit. There is no team in the NWHL that is as good at controlling the pace than the Riveters, and it has been Buffalo’s misfortune to have played them in half of their first six games.

It would appear, however, that the Beauts are very much missing the Bozek and Emily Pfalzer, who are committed to the US national team in preparation for the Olympics. While the team did a good job bringing in solid hockey players like Edney to balance the loss, there is no replacing two of the world’s most dynamic defenders.

Leveille is facing 34 shots a night, and the Beauts are generating only 26. It will be interesting to see how coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni deal with this deficit. It is something that the pair must address in the next few weeks, lest the team lose even more ground as the season heads toward the halfway point.

Of course, 716 Sports Podcast will have your Beauts Essentials later this week, and these points will be reiterated. Come join us at HarborCenter as the team looks to put some space between themselves and the Connecticut Whale. If you can’t make it to the game, be sure to tune in to the Twitter Game of the Week, with Jeff Boyd, Justen Ehrig, and I bringing you action from the ice.

Beaut Essentials: The Rule of Three

Beaut Essentials: The Rule of Three

Round three of Beauts vs Rivs couldn’t have come at a worse time for a sinking Buffalo team. After starting the season winning two of the first three games, the Beauts have lost two straight, including the most recent loss to a previously winless Boston Pride.

The 3-2 defeat at the hands of Boston had to be a bitter pill to swallow for the Beauts, who are again tied for second place with the Connecticut Whale. A win would have put them alone in the runner-up seat, and only two games behind a rocketing Riveters club. There seems to be no stopping Metro, but Buffalo needs to take care of business if the team hopes to gain any ground in the standings. Sunday afternoon’s matchups could end up turning the tables entirely on the NWHL – a Boston win against the Whale would put the Pride in second, with the Beauts possibly falling to last.

Here’s what you need to know.

Shots shots shotsshotsshots: In Buffalo’s two wins, the Beauts have outshot their opponents by an average of nearly 13 per game. In the three losses, the team has been outshot by 14, on average. The Riveters themselves account for 35 more shots in their two wins against Buffalo.

If the team is going to finally beat the Riveters, they are going to have to shoot early and often. Fitzgerald will give up rebounds – it’s the most consistent way that Buffalo has scored on the league’s leading netminder. Shoot low, clean up the garbage. It’s simple and effective, and is the secret to winning this game.

Lock it down: Goaltender Amanda Leveille has faced more shots than any other goalie in the league, and has more saves than any other as well. The shell-shocked backstop needs her defense to play sound and secure in front of her. Shot suppression should be a key component to Buffalo’s strategy going into Sunday night.

The defense also needs to be aware of what is happening around them. Last time MET came to town, three different goalscorers scored on a set play. The puck came to the slot and a quick pass to Lev’s glove side was easily buried. There wasn’t a blue sweater in sight. This was something the coaches stressed before the game, according to Ric Seiling’s postgame comments. It cannot happen again.

Protect your goalie. Block the shots. Give Lev a chance.

Running on empty: Buffalo’s best period has been the first; the team has outscored opponents 6-3 in the opening frame. Hot starts are fantastic – especially for a team that has been historically bad in the first period. Unfortunately, it goes downhill fast from there. Opponents lead 7-6 in the second and a tragic 10-3 in the third.

The Riveters, on the other hand, have outscored opponents 10-2 in the final period. They are a team built on speed and endurance and Buffalo is going to have to find a way to not only set the pace, but maintain the pace, for an entire 60 minutes. Of course it’s a cliché spouted from the mouths of everyone to ever step onto the ice, but it is absolutely true. In both previous matchups, the winner of the third period was the winner of the game. Buffalo needs a strong third if a win is to be had.

Be sure to tune in to NWHL.zone for live game action from New Jersey. The Beauts are down, but not out, and handing the Riveters the first loss of the season would be a sweet end to this two-game road trip.

Beaut essentials: A Buffalo team expected to beat a Boston team

Beaut essentials: A Buffalo team expected to beat a Boston team

The Buffalo Beauts will break their feast this weekend as they head to Beantown for game five of the 2017-18 season. With a quarter of the regular season behind them, the Beauts are even-steven at 2-2. Four games in, there are some identifiable tendencies with the team, and hopefully coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni were able to combat those tropes over the Thanksgiving break and give the Pride a new set of problems for Saturday night’s game.

It’s an important game for Buffalo from many standpoints. Boston has yet to win a game, though the team was able to steal a point from Connecticut two weeks ago. To give the Pride their first win would certainly be damaging to the Beauts’s ego. Also, after a disappointing loss to the Riveters, Buffalo needs to get back onto the better side of .500.

Here’s what you need to know:

USA scooped Skarupa: Boston’s leading scorer is now a member of Team USA’s centralization roster. After a successful run at the 2017 World Championships, it was a surprise that Skarupa was left off the list in the first place, but now that she’s almost kind of officially heading to the Olympics, the Pride are worse without her.

Skarupa leads the league in shots, and is the only Pride player with more than two goals. Even with the team failing to click into place around the leader, Boston will certainly struggle to replace her.

You Mad(die) bro?: Power forward Maddie Elia will not dress for Saturday’s game after her suspension was announced earlier this week. In a rough shift against the Riveters, Elia whacked defender Kelsey Koelzer twice. The league reviewed the series of swipes and decided she had taken the already high physicality a bit too far.

Elia is the third Beaut to be suspended from what has become one of the most heated rivalries in sports. It’s a big loss for Buffalo as she and Hayley Scamurra had found a fantastic mentor in Kourtney Kunichika, and the line has been Buffalo’s best over the last two games.

With Elia out of the lineup, we may see the Adrian Trio reunited once again. Shureb, Schroka, and Lewicki are a fast and dynamic line. If they can maintain the speed and aggression for the whole game, they will undoubtedly make Boston pay.

Fully Completely: Buffalo’s been outscored in the third period 6-1 over the last two games. Addressing this issue after the loss to the Rivs, Sieling told the media, “I felt the turning point was their conditioning over ours. It’s something we need to address.

“As the season goes on, we’re going to dress the players that can play 60 minutes,” he insisted.

This will be a good test for Buffalo. They need to prove they can play for a full game and Boston is a great place to start.

It’s Buffalo/Boston rivalry week: Beauts vs Pride, Bills vs Pats. At least one of our teams has a good chance of bringing home the W. Tune in to NWHL.zone at 7:30 on Saturday and watch the Beauts take down the Pride in game five.

Beaut Essentials: Beating Fitz

Beaut Essentials: Beating Fitz

The day of reckoning is upon us…almost. Saturday at 7:30pm, the Buffalo Beauts will host the Metro Riveters at the banner-adorned HarborCenter. The last time these two faced off, there were more whistles than The Bridge Over the River Kwai. Yes, that’s a dated reference. Yes. It will stand. Google ™ it. It’s funny.

What is really at stake, aside from the possible rotator cuff tear of an official’s overused arm, is first place in the NWHL. A win for the Rivs will put them at 4-0 on the season, and sole possession of the top spot. A win for Buffalo gives the pair matching 3-1 records and further builds upon the rivalry that has been brewing for the last two seasons.

Here is what to watch for:

Oh! Say, Accursi!

The league’s leading goalscorer is as humble as she is talented. On last week’s National Woman’s Hockey Lowdown podcast, you heard Taylor talk about the support of her team and the importance of getting ‘The W,’ but Accursi is the hottest rookie Buffalo has had in its three seasons. Her 5 goals in 3 games is the hottest start for a Beaut, and she is sniping at an incredible 41.6 percent success rate. She was one of only two Beauts to beat Brick Wall Fitzy (Katie Fitzgerald) in the last matchup, and will look to extend her scoring streak and boost the team to another mark in the win category.

Fitz gives ‘em tantrums

With a 1.33 goals against average and a .948 save percentage, there is little question that Katie Fitzgerald has been a revelation for the Riveters in net. It helps that coach Chad Wiseman’s stingy defense is allowing the fewest shots per game in the league (just shy of 26,) but Fitzgerald has been shutting teams down on the regular over the course of her 18-game career.

The Beauts are the only team to hang two on Fitzy this season, and it will likely take more than that to beat the Riveters on Saturday night. It’s not enough to get her moving laterally; Buffalo will have to force Fitzgerald to give up bad rebounds, and be there to cash them in.

Evening things up

On the flip side, Buffalo’s goaltender Amanda Leveille has had some struggles early in her first season as the Beauts’ number one. She knows it, too; admitting as much in her post-game comments after last week’s 5-3 win against Boston. “Ideally, I don’t want to give up three goals…I like two or less…”

The Riveters put six by Lev in their first meeting of the season, and what is more important is that most came at even strength. On the penalty kill, Leveille and her teammates have been the best in the league, allowing only three goals on 21 tries. The team needs to shore things up five-on-five if they’re going to beat the Riveters and take a share of first place.

Tickets are available for the primetime matchup. Come watch the Beauts defend the crown, or tune in on NWHL.zone for our call of the game.

Why Not?

Why Not?

**Title image property of Buffalo Beauts**

Has anything ever made so much sense to you that you get angry that it’s not actually a thing?That’s how I feel when it comes to the Buffalo Beauts and Pegula Sports and Entertainment. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Derek Roy and Chippewa Street. Or even Tim Murray and poor drafting. They’re meant to be together.

Before the start of the third NWHL season we saw the New Jersey Devils partner with the now Metropolitan Riveters and take them under their wing. That is a HUGE step for the NWHL and women’s hockey as a whole. The league has been rumored to have had discussions with Boston and Buffalo. Buffalo and Boston also just happen to have two of the richest owners in the NHL and Jeremy Jacobs is actually a Buffalo native. Why isn’t this a thing yet?!

The Pegulas came in here as saviors, flashing around their cash, and immediately dubbing this place “Hockey Heaven.” They soon put in place plans to build the glorious HarborCenter; home of many teams, including the Buffalo Beauts. Terry and Kim are a team and run the Sabres and Bills as a pair. Kim stepped into the NFL at a time where it needed female viability badly and she seems to run most of the Bills day-to-day operations. How great does a woman owning a professional women’s hockey team sound?

When you really take a step back and put everything together:

  1. The Beauts play in the building the Pegulas own.

  2. A woman owner running a women’s team.

  3. The amount it would take to run the Beauts, the Pegulas find stuck to three-week old pop at the bottom of the cup holder in their center console.

  4. The team is coached by three Sabres alumni.

  5. They basically own every other professional team in this area.

Now, this isn’t a desperate plea for the Pegulas to save a struggling team that may leave the area. The NWHL started out as a fumbling fawn but is now a young doe gaining strength and learning how to survive. The league is very much on the right path thanks to NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan and players who would do anything to see this league survive. This is a no brainer home run.

This town craves hockey and flocks to ANY hockey event that PSE puts their name on. The HarborCenter has an 1,800 seat capacity. Key Bank Center has a 19,070 seat capacity. If they show three ads for the Beauts on the Jumbotron during a Sabres game, and a measly nine percent of the people there decide to catch a super cheap, excellent $15 ticket, that would sell out the HarborCenter. What about the idea of Sabres/Beauts double header options? Beauts at 3:30 at KBC followed by the Sabres at 7:30? The Devils did this for the Rivs home opener, and it was incredibly successful.

Right now, the Pegulas are spending $16,317,851 for Marcell Dareus and Sammy Watkins to NOT play for them. When the league originated, each team had a $250,000 cap (salaries have dropped since). That’s enough money to pay players for a little over 15 years. The NWHL could run for roughly 10 years on that kind of money w/ each team having a $350,000 salary cap that pays these girls a respectable amount of money.

Again, this isn’t a plea for the Pegulas to save a team nor do I think they should be held responsible or expected to own/help this league/team. This just makes way too much sense to me for it to not be a thing.

Women’s hockey is looked upon as a novelty of sorts when it should be considered commonplace.

In the words of Buffalo Beauts color commentator, Erik Wollschlager, ”There comes a time in every athlete’s life that one must abandon their sport. For females, that time is frequently far too early – high school, sometimes college. Too often the choice is made for the athlete; there just aren’t any more options. This tragic lifecycle is entirely preventable. The women who hit the gym and hit the books and hit the ice or the field have earned the right to prove themselves among the best in their sport, and get paid a reasonable salary to do it, in the same way their male counterparts have.

“Often, a player will share a photo of themselves with a young girl staring up at them in amazement. Those young girls are your daughter. They’re my daughters. They’re the next generation of athletes poised on the precipice of seeing their greatest dreams realized. You have the power to make these dreams come true.”

Not only is a partnership logical, it is right. If you have the ability to help someone, you should. It is the foundation of what unites us as Buffalonians - the City of Good Neighbors.

Hopefully we’ll soon see the Pegulas reach across the street to their neighbors and lend a helping hand.

Beaut Essentials: Hail to the Victors

Beaut Essentials: Hail to the Victors

On Saturday, November 11, the Buffalo Beauts will take to the ice at HarborCenter, intent on improving in their 1-1 record. But perhaps the lede has been buried, even if it’s only one sentence in because fans and the team will watch as the ISOBEL CUP CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER IS RAISED TO THE RAFTERS.

It is impossible to conceive that a team that took down an undefeated club from Boston has failed to garner more attention, but here we are. The Beauts will open their two-game homestand defending their turf against their championship opponents, who limp into the game 0-2. Here’s what you need to know.

The gang’s all here: Many players from last year’s team have moved on, but there are several who have indicated they’ll be in the house for one last victory lap on the shores of the Buffalo River. The banks may flood with the tears of joy pouring from the HarborCenter, but the Queen City knows how to handle a natural disaster. Cry freely as this Davidian feat is honored in a pregame ceremony.

Isn’t that special? Buffalo’s special teams are once again top in the league. The Beauts have had to kill an ASTOUNDING 19 penalties, and they’ve done so 16 times, for a league-dominating 84.2 percent success rate. Their mighty power play is second in the league at 17.6 percent, but Buffalo will look to jump that number against the league’s worst penalty killing unit.

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Quick starts: Over the course of the Beauts’ two-year history, the team has been notoriously slow out of the gate. This season, they’ve flipped the script and are outscoring their opponents in the opening frame. Last week’s anomaly that had the refs whistling like a terrible impression of Axl Rose in patience had the Beauts playing catchup in the second and third. This unexpected interruption of a perfectly find hockey game skewed the numbers a bit, but expect Buffalo to double down this weekend and pick up the scoring in the last half of the game.

It’s Boston: This cannot be overstated. There are fewer rivalries in sports as bitter as Buffalo vs Boston, and the Beauts and Pride have faced off twice in the Cup final, splitting the series to date. Let that sink in. BUFFALO BEAT BOSTON. For the championship. And Saturday, the Beauts will rub it in Boston’s smug face, making the Pride watch as the banner flies to the ceiling. Hanging one on Boston is worth the price of admission, alone.