Lewicki Gains New Hockey Opportunity
MOUNDSVILLE — Kristin Lewicki is skating into a new challenge.
The John Marshall High grad is now a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA).
Lewicki, after a spectacular career at Adrian College in Michigan, played the last two seasons in the National Women’s Hockey League. She skated for the Buffalo Beauts as a rookie while being a Metropolitan Riveter last winter.
The fledgling PWHPA came to fruition last year in response to the low salaries, no health insurance and overall feeble support the professional league provided its players. The association’s goals are:
∫ To promote, advance and support a single, viable professional women’s ice hockey league in North America that showcases the greatest product of women’s professional ice hockey in the world;
∫ To provide a united voice to players advocating for the creation of a sustainable professional league;
∫ To coordinate training needs and programming opportunities during the 2019-2020 season;
∫ To collaborate with like-minded organizations to make hockey more inclusive for women today and for the girls of the next generation.
As a result, PWHPA players, “will not play in any professional leagues in North America this season until we get the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves,” according to the association’s mission statement.
“It (the PWHPA) gives us the opportunity to help grow the game to become more sustainable and professional,” Lewicki said. “It shows the importance of this game and what it means to us, hoping to make it better for the younger generations.
“This new association started to come together after last season and really took shape this summer. Social media really helped to get the ball rolling and gauge the interest for the new association. A lot of the league players were hesitant early on. But now I would say about half of the league’s players from last year have joined the PWHPA. We also have Olympians from the U.S. and Canadian teams with us.”
For the 24-year-old former Monarch, she was on board from the outset.
“It wasn’t a hard decision for me even though I had an offer to return to the Riveters this coming year,” she said. “The league didn’t back us at all. It was not financial feasible to return.”
In place of a league, the PWHPA will stage showcases throughout the country. Teams are divided into geographic regions.
Lewicki is in the Tri-state Region, based out of New Jersey. The teams will stage workouts and play some practice games against college squads such as Princeton and UConn.
“My first showcase will be in New Hampshire on Oct. 5-6. Then I play in the Chicago showcase on Oct. 19-20,” she said. “On showcase weekends, we put on clincs for the public on Fridays and play games on Saturdays and Sundays.
“I am looking forward to it. It is an exciting new venture. We are working to create a better professional hockey league.”
Lewicki netted five goals and two assists in 14 games with Buffalo two seasons ago. She made the NWHL All-Star Game, winning the Fastest Skater Award in conjunction with the game.
The way the league operates is all players receive one-year contracts. They essentially become free agents after the season and can sign with any other league team.
“It was a great year in Buffalo. We advanced to the title game and I made a lot of special friendships,” she said. “I thought I did pretty well.”
The soft-spoken star was a two-time All-American at Adrian College and is the sixth all-time leading scorer in NCAA D-III history. Lewicki authored a sensational senior season with 32 goals and 34 assists in 31 games. Those numbers pushed her career totals to 179 points in 113 games — 90 goals and 89 assists.
The multi-talented forward also received the ultimate honor. She was named the U.S. College Hockey Division III Women’s Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season.
Lewicki is currently working for the FBI in Clarksburg.
TOP FOOTBALL GAMES
It is said there are two seasons in the Ohio Valley — football season and waiting for football season.
To pay tribute to King Football, The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register and Times Leader are joining forces to identify and subsequently chronicle the “Greatest High School Games” of the past 50 years.
Criteria for those games include:
∫ History (first-ever meeting of teams/most yards/points);
∫ Atmosphere (sellout crowd/standing room only);
∫ Competitiveness (back and forth/close game);
∫ Importance of the game (championship/playoff berth);
∫ Participants (All-time great players involved).
To help select the top games, we are enlisting help from our readership. Fans are asked to submit their choices with supporting information via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Bubba Kapral, 200 S. Fourth St., Martins Ferry, Ohio 43935.
If you have a game that doesn’t meet the aforementioned criteria but has special significance, we want to know about it. Please submit with pertinent information. More than two dozen games have already been submitted.
Once the top games have been selected, The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register and Times Leader will highlight those games in their Thanksgiving editions. Included will be game stories, photos, stats and comments from players/coaches and fans involved in those memorable contests.
∫ Kurt Stein has his Oakdale (Md.) Bears off to a 3-0 start. The Wheeling Central grad led Oakdale to the Class AA championship last fall.
∫ Kudos to Indian Creek. Not only do the Redskins have a quality football program, they have one of the most impressive marching bands I have ever witnessed on the prep level. I covered Creek’s game last Friday against Indian Valley and its band had more than 140 members. What is sad, however, is that Robert Kettlewell Stadium, sporting its new $1.2 million turf project, was vandalized shortly thereafter. That is senseless stupidity.
∫ It will be interesting to see how things play out for the Pittsburgh Steelers now that Ben Roethlisberger is shelved for the season. I believe Mason Rudolph has the makings of a quality NFL starting QB. I do love the Minkah Fitzpatrick acquisition. He was one of the best to play for Nick Saban at Bama.
∫ Myles Garrett is a beast. The Cleveland Browns’ defensive end is establishing himself as the premier pass rusher in the NFL.
∫ Dom Capers is a class act as well as a generous one. The Meadowbrook High grad recently donated $2 million to Mount Union University for the construction of a 5,600-square foot building. It will be named the Dom and Karen Capers Academic and Athletic Center. It will feature a team meeting and film room that can be split into smaller rooms along with offices. Capers was a star gridder for the Purple Raiders from 1968-71. In 2013, Capers gave the university the lead gift for the renovation of what is now called the Dom Capers Press Box.
∫ The Berry College (Ga.) football team is off to a 2-0 start. Rich Duncan is the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. Duncan is a Martins Ferry and Bethany College grad. Duncan is also the former head coach at Aurora University in Illinois.
∫ Jack Cook enjoyed another productive day as the University of Dayton quarterback last week. The redshirt sophomore threw for 238 yards and two TDs as Dayton edged Robert Morris, 34-31, to go 2-0. Cook is the son of Scott and Jen Cook. Scott was a standout hoopster for Shadyside (1988 grad) while Jen is a St. Clairsville native.
∫ Former WVU coach Dana Holgerson has his Houston Cougars off to a disappointing 1-3 start. Neal Brown is a major and refreshing upgrade for the Mountaineer Nation.
∫ If Wheeling Park continues to win football games and Alex Dunlevy continues to pile up impressive numbers, the senior quarterback should be in Kennedy Award discussion.
Bubba Kapral can be reached at email@example.com