The Role Communication Plays in the Marginalization of Female Gender in Sports

michael-messner-quote-there-is-a-continuing-marginalization-or    Participation in sport in the United States by women — as athletes/players, fans, and as media professionals — has been problematic throughout history in a variety of ways (History of Women in sport; Moss; Pope; Jones), which demonstrate a history of female marginalization in sport. The definition of sport and sports, which are used interchangeably throughout this literature review, include descriptions of such as a contest or game …according to a specific set of rules where people compete against each other, or “a physical activity such as hunting, fishing, running, swimming, etc. that is done for enjoyment” (Merriam-Webster). Potentially discriminatory behavior against women in sport, however implemented, has a tendency to reduce opportunities for women.

Broadly considering the representation of women in sport reveals potential opportunities to mitigate and potentially eliminate this sexualization, marginalization and objectification. This broad consideration may create and increase opportunities for the significant empowerment of women. Taking a closer look at the instances and causes of sexualization, marginalization and objectification of women in sport may result in not only enhanced opportunities for them, but also for society at large.

Sport Culture and Masculinity

            The culture that surrounds sport potentially could be seen as masculine. As referenced by Moss, “When athleticism is not an option for boys, they draw on the other masculine traits associated with the Jock, such as emphasized heterosexuality or dominance to ‘make up for’ what they lack in claims on masculinity through sports (2011, pg. 166).” As a society, a lot of pressure is placed on male children to participate in sport throughout their lives (Billings, 2016). It is also important to note that the media reinforce the masculine values the permeate sport (Pope, 2010).

Research into the masculinity of sport is extensive (Moss, 2011; Pope, 2010; Crawford &Gosling, 2004). A possible reason behind this is sport providing a naturalized convergence of sex, gender, sexuality, and race. These factors combined with the addition of competition that sport provides the emergence of a hero culture (Moss, 2011).  It has been said that “males may have insecurities that (to some extent) stem from male fears concerning their own adulation of male sporting heroes” (Crawford &Gosling, 2004, pg 490). Sport is something that the majority of men can relate to (Crawford &Gosling, 2004; Moss, 2011). The involvement of females in sport could be seen as a way to undermine male hegemony. This can be seen as a thread that runs throughout American history (Billings, 2016).

Women in the United States have spent the better part of 70 years gaining just some of the same rights as men. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 26, 1920. Three years later, The National Women’s Party proposed the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which would prevent discrimination on the basis of gender. To this day, this Amendment still has not been ratified (Brown, 1993). Some women’s rights may have been codified into law in 1920, yet today women are still experiencing discriminatory behavior (Moss; Billings; Crawford & Gosling). A pertinent summation of the modern issues women in sport face is Cynthia Pemberton’s “every day someone puts on her armor and goes into battle for equality (114).”

The implementation of Title IX has increased female participation in sport by eight hundred and forty percent. Bell stated, “It was not until the advent of the equal rights movement and Title IX that women truly found a place as participants in the world of sport and in the public arena (History of Women in sport).” Trolan points out that in the 1950s, a woman’s identity was concealed across all parts of society. Women who participated in sport were seen as a contradiction to society. Therefore, women athletes had to oversexualize themselves in order to overcome the societal apathy caused by participating in sport. An example of the continued societal apathy is highlighted by ESPN giving female sports a mere two percent of time on Sportscenter, even though twenty-five percent of their audience is female.  This disparity highlights the discrimination female athletes and female teams still face today. This dismissal of female sports can potentially lead to problems for females in other areas of the sport ecosystem (Gibson, 2016; Trolan 2013).

For example, females in other areas of the sport world don’t have Title IX in place to protect them. Media and fans have been subjected to sexualization, marginalization and objectification. The number of female sport fans increased following the implementation of Title IX. Enactment of this law ignited a nascent sports fandom among women. Duffett notes that Hills believes defining fandom can be problematic because it is ever changing (2013). “A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional connection about someone or something famous…Fans find their identities wrapped up with the pleasures connected to popular culture (Hills, 2002).”


Female Identities

According to Ussher (1997,445), there are four types of female identities in relation to sport culture:

  • ‘Being girl’ – The archetypal position for most women, the position ‘taken up when a woman wants to be rather than merely do femininity…beauty, goodness and the ability to attract the admiration of men are the key attributes of being girl’ (Ussher 1997, p. 445).
  • ‘Doing girl’ – Here the woman might reflexively ‘perform the feminine masquerade’ but she knows that essentially ‘doing girl’ is about ‘playing a part’ (Ussher 1997, p. 450).
  • ‘Resisting girl’ – When adopting this position women ignore or deny the traditionally signified ‘femininity’, such as the necessity for body discipline and adoption of the mask of beauty but ‘this doesn’t necessarily mean a rejection of all that is associated with what it is to be ‘woman’ – attention to appearance, motherhood or sex with men’ (Ussher 1997, p. 455).


Regardless of where females fall on Ussher’s femininity spectrum, all of them have dealt with overcoming male biases toward them. This male chauvinism is noted female fans by Jones, Moss, Crawford & Gosling, Sveinson, and Duffett. For example, some of the women that were interviewed by Jones did not want to be seen as women. They felt this way because of the negative connotations their gender produces. For instance, the women are concerned about having their knowledge tested, sexist comments, and having their commitment to their team.  These nuanced biases could potentially contribute to the sexualization, marginalization and objectification that surrounds a female fan.

Jones (2008) found that women used three strategies when dealing with marginalization, objectification and sexualization.

• ‘Defining sexist and abusive behavior as disgusting’. This varied from outright confrontation to individual boycotts (for example, by refusing to join in with swearing), to a redefinition of ‘proper’ fan practices. This final strategy involved the use of gender identities to challenge the meaning of fandom; for them, ‘fandom and femininity are entirely compatible, whereas fandom and abusive masculinity are not’ (2008, p. 524).

  • ‘Downplaying sexist and homophobic abuse’. This included: claims that sexism was not as important as racism as there were no female players; denying that sexism occurred because abuse is directed at men and women; and claiming that sexism and homophobia were ‘funny’ and therefore harmless (2008, p. 524).
  • ‘Embracing gender stereotypes as part of the game’. This involved agreeing with hegemonic masculine definitions about which women should be regarded as ‘proper’ fans and distancing themselves from ‘emphasized femininity’, with claims that women who did not understand the laws, found players attractive and/or were dressed up in a heterosexually attractive way did not ‘do’ fandom properly. A further group suggested that sexism and homophobia were fundamental to football (2008, p. 524).

Pope addresses female fans and their identities. Some women answered questions with ‘pharmacological’ terms. Referencing their fandom as an addictive thing or just waiting for the next ‘fix’. One woman went as far as saying (277):

‘It’s an identity, and I think if you’re a football fan, your football team is part of your identity and who you are and where you’re proud of…I’m such a big football fan that it means a lot to me and it is part of my identity. It’s part of me and it’s part of how I spend my money and how I spend my weekends and how I spend my thinking geared round my week…So if people were to, like, say to me “Describe yourself” and “What are your interests?” It would be a big part of me to say this is what I like doing, this is who I am.’

Despite all of these societal changes, females are more likely to judge themselves and have others judge them when it comes to traditional gender roles, such as child- rearing (Pope, 2010 p 270)

All of a sudden, this responsibility of having children just completely… everything else goes. And it’s only now that they’ve got older and they can sort of look after themselves a bit that the football starts to creep back in a bit…When I first had children, I just sat there and I thought “Oh my God!” The responsibility of having children was just overwhelming.

Male bias toward females in sport

Crawford and Gosling found male interviewees did not believe that female supporters actually root for their side. The interviewees believed that the female rooters “show little knowledge or commitment to their team” (Crawford, Gosling 2004).  John, a male interviewee, stated, “They just have a giggle, you know what I mean (Crawford, Gosling, 2004)?” Female sports fans are often viewed as inferior to their male counterparts. They are interrogated about their knowledge, have had their motivations for watching questioned, and many other potentially sexist examples exist. Throughout the literature, it is arduous to find positive examples of women being treated equally. Sveinson had a participant named Emma say, “They just get to be a fan because they’re a guy (2016).”

For example, in research by Crawford and Gosling, when male fans of the Manchester Storm, a British Ice Hockey team, were interviewed, they frequently described the presence of female fans as disruptive to the stadium atmosphere. One man went as far as saying that “the presence of women he felt imposed an ‘outsider’ on the normal composition of this group [of fans] (Crawford, Gosling 2004, p. 485).”

A participant named Keith said:

Some of the guys bring their girlfriends like, sometimes, you know? …Like me one mate who met his girlfriend at the arena, and she sometimes comes…[but] it’s more a laugh when it’s just the boys … you know what I mean? Just us and the hockey and no women-folk to bother ya [laughs] (Crawford, Gosling 2004, p. 485)

According to Crawford and Gosling, 90 percent of the males interviewed had negative feelings toward females attending sporting events (2004). Many reference women potentially having sexual desires for players and coaching staff which the participants viewed as negative distractions (Crawford, Gosling, 2004). This gives rise to a label given to this subset of female fans. This description is the potentially derogatory moniker known as a ‘Puck Bunny’.

The term ‘Puck Bunny’ has an unknown origin but has a known definition:

A puck bunny is someone who hangs around players, always on the lookout for the chance to get that autograph/photography/quick pint [drink]/quick knee trembler round the back of the around the Arena from the player or players (or even coach) of their choice, heck let’s face it even the water carrier is in with a change here (Reverend Richard, 2001).

A further example of the marginalization of women can be seen clearly in Sveinson’s study. During the qualitative interview process, the researchers found that when the women were originally questioned about whether or not they felt that their treatment was different than men the women denied unequal treatment. However, as the process continued, many of the women described times they were treated differently (2016).

Sveinson showcases this disparate treatment with two different women who are fans of different sports and locations (2016).

Think that it is just assumed that there would be a lot of male, highly identified fans and males with a lot of knowledge, but I think it’s not assumed that there is a lot of females with that. So, you feel a sense of needing to prove that knowledge. (Lexi)

The very first time I ordered the NFL Sunday Ticket [a televised sports package that allows fans to watch non-local NFL games], I called the [cable company] and the girl I was talking to on the phone says, “oh your boyfriend or husband must really love you.” I was like “no, this is for me.” (Chloe)

Taking a look at media coverage and marketing towards female fans leaves a lot of room for improvement. For example, on ESPN, women comprise twenty five percent of its viewership. However, eight percent of the programming is geared toward women or focusing on women’s sports (Gibson, 2016).

Crawford and Gosling found that there is little evidence to back up the claims of many of the male participants that women have little knowledge of the sport. For example, one woman said that “I know more about [ice hockey] than my dad …cause I talk about it at school and you get to know stuff…from others (p. 485).”


Media bias toward females

            Media is integrated into every part of society. This gives people who work in the industry a lot of influence. Consequently, sexualization, marginalization and objectification of women can potentially be spread by the media. In 2002, a national survey found that close to one third of newspaper editors thought that female athletes were “naturally less athletic and less interested in sports than are men.” Additionally, half said that Title IX hurt men’s sports (Hardin, 2005, pg 71-72). Such research strongly indicates a need for these biases to be addressed and potentially rectified.

Media talents are caught referring to female athletes as “girl” or “young woman” and even by their first names. On the other hand, male athletes are often called “young man” or be addressed by their last names. These differences could be seen as sexualization, marginalization and objectification. Peterson said:

Where we marvel and celebrate male athletes’ bodies for their incredible function and utility—‘Wow, so fast, so strong, so big, so tall, incredible!—on the other hand, female bodies are still primarily judged on attractiveness (Gibson, 2016).”

There is a line between a female’s appeal towards men and the media coverage they receive. “If you are a female athlete and you want to get attention, the way to do that is play the sex card (Gibson, 2016 p. 220).” However, the coverage is not always about the athleticism or preforming, instead, it is about what designer made her clothes, night clubs, boyfriends, etc. (Gibson, 2016; Trolan, 2013).

However, coverage is not always good. Female athletes are often called lesbians, because this gives power over the masculinity that women athletes potentially display. An example of this is of a volleyball coach, requiring his players to have long hair and wear ribbons in their hair. This was a strategy to give the players some sense of femininity (Trolan, 2013). Springer said that “you constantly have to prove that women are worth the coverage, that there’s an audience out there. And it’s not just one time. It’s multiple time, over and over and over again (Gibson, 2016).”

An example of this overt sexualization of female athletes could be seen in the coverage of Anna Kournikova, a European tennis player. Noted as the most photographed athlete at Wimbledon in 2003, Kournikova wore revealing outfits and received the most attention even though she never won any of tennis’ four most prestigious tournaments by herself. However, she is worth more than other tennis athletes. On the other hand, Maria Sharapova, has won five Grand Slams since 2001. Despite all of her athletic accomplishments, the focus is still placed on her body.

In addition to the coverage of Kournikova and Sharapova, in 2007 the Australian National Football Team posed nude as a way to bring some media coverage for their sport in a men’s magazine (Trolan, 2013). This desperation for media attention is not only seen internationally. The United States Women’s Ice Hockey Team posed in the ESPN Body Issue in 2017. The body issue is full of both male and female athletes posing nude and is supposed to be a “celebration and exploration of the athletic form, honoring athletes of diverse shapes, sizes, color, genders and race (Stewart, 2010).”  However, many of the female athletes poses are more sexual in nature while the men are showcased as strong. The problem lies in the fact that women athletes have accepted that becoming sexualized is how their sport or themselves gets covered (Trolan, 2013). Instead of posing nude, female athletes need to be putting on their armor to combat ideas like Mangan’s:

…Beauty of face and form is one of the chief characteristics (for women), but unlimited indulgence in violent, outdoor sports, cricket and most odious of all games for women- hockey, cannot have an unwomanly effect on a young girl’s mind, no less on her appearance…let girls ride, skate, dance in moderation, but let them leave field sports to those whom they were intended for – men (Mangan, 1987 p. 158).


Conclusion and Future Study

As illustrated by the literature review, it is crucial to further explore communication strategies that can be used to potentially mitigate, and lead to the elimination of marginalization, sexualization, and objectification towards women in sports. Pope describes the lack of research in this area of female fandoms in sport (2010). These fandoms are becoming increasingly popular. In addition to studying women and sport, it’s important to note that most of the research into this area excludes women.

Trolan notes that the media’s portrayal of women, whether that be in the words that they choose or the photographs selected continues, the cycle of marginalization, sexualization, and objectification. Trolan suggests in his conclusion that change can happen in the media but it is going to take time (2013).

As Crawford and Gosling, suggest the area of being female sports fan is a very complex position to hold. A lot of psychology establishes the reasons why someone is a fan. These factors include feelings of belonging, identity, self-esteem, excitement and pleasure. A study done by Po-Ju Chen, showed that female fans liked to travel to away events to support their team. The reasons stated are: socialization, enjoyment, relaxation and learning. Female fans are more likely to show empathy when their team does poorly (International Journal of Hospitality Management, 2010). The differences between male and female fans are obvious. However, those differences should not be reasons for marginalization, sexualization, and objectification.

Further research should be done in the areas of women’s sports being cut for budgetary reasons. Examples of this can be found all over the country, including the University of North Dakota’s Women’s Hockey, Swimming and Diving teams. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), has 1,123 colleges and universities across three divisions, comprising of 19,500 teams, 54,000 student athletes that compete across 24 sports (What is the NCAA?, 2015). However, the number of teams has been slowly declining as budgets are cut. More often than not, sports teams that are cut are never recovered. This is especially true when speaking about Olympic sports, such as gymnastics, tennis and ice hockey (Belson, 2009).

However, there is an example of a women’s team being cut and after a lawsuit battle was reinstated. Quinnipiac Women’s Volleyball Team was cut in 2008 with the lawsuit being filled in 2009. The volleyball team was cut, while Competitive Cheerleading was added. The judge ruled that Competitive Cheer is not a sport and that Quinnipiac University had to support the return of women’s volleyball and increase the funding for women’s sports. During the investigative process, it was discovered that Quinnipiac was artificially inflating the opportunities that female athletes supposedly had (Quinnipiac settles title IX lawsuit that pitted volleyball against cheerleading, 2013).




Andrews, D. L., & Carrington, B. (2013). A companion to sport (1st ed.). Somerset: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from

Antunovic, D. (2017). Just another story. Communication & Sport, 5(2), 205-225. doi:10.1177/2167479515603956

Antunovic, D., & Hardin, M. (2015). Women and the blogosphere: Exploring feminist approaches to sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 50(6), 661-677. doi:10.1177/1012690213493106

Belson, K. (2009, -05-03). With revenue down, colleges cut teams along with budgets. The New York Times Retrieved from

Billings, A. C. (2016). Defining sport communication. Milton: Routledge Ltd. doi:10.4324/9781315693910

Brown, J. K. (1993). The nineteenth amendment and women’s equality. The Yale Law Journal, 102(8), 2175-2204. doi:10.2307/796863

Bruce, T. (2013). Reflections on communication and sport. Communication & Sport, 1(1-2), 125-137. doi:10.1177/2167479512472883

Consuming sport fans sport a

Cooky, C., Begovic, M., Sabo, D., Oglesby, C. A., & Snyder, M. (2016). Gender and sport participation in montenegro. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 51(8), 917-939. doi:10.1177/1012690214559109

Crawford, G., & Gosling, V. K. (2004). The myth of the ‘Puck bunny’. Sociology, 38(3), 477-493. doi:10.1177/0038038504043214

D.C. sports bog – clinton portis on ines sainz situation — UPDATE. Retrieved from

Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom. New York [u.a.]: Bloomsbury.

Factors influencing girls’ participation in sports. Retrieved from

The fight for women’s suffrage – women’s history. Retrieved from

Gibson, L. (2016). The elephant in the room: Sports and sexism. Retrieved from

Hardin, M. (2005). Stopped at the gate: Women’s sports, “reader interest,” and decision making by editors. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(1), 62. Retrieved from

Hills, M. (2002). Fan cultures (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge.

International journal of hospitality management. ENGLAND: Pergamon.

Jones, K. W. (2008). Female fandom: Identity, sexism, and men’s professional football in england. Sociology of Sport Journal, 25(4), 516.

Mangan, J. A. (1987). From “fair sex” to feminism (1. publ. ed.). London u.a: Cass.

Merriam-webster learner’s dictionary: Sport. Retrieved from

Moss, M. (2011). The media and the models of masculinity. US: Lexington Books. Retrieved from

Panthers’ newton laughs at female reporter. (2017). Retrieved from

Pascoe, C. J. (2003). Multiple masculinities? American Behavioral Scientist, 46(10), 1423-1438. doi:10.1177/0002764203046010009

Pemberton, Cynthia Lee A., 1958. (2002). More than a game : One woman’s fight for gender equity in sport. United States: Retrieved from

Pope, S. E. (2010). Female fandom in an english ‘Sports city’: A sociological study of female spectating and consumption around sport Available from Dissertations & Theses Europe Full Text: Social Sciences. Retrieved from

Quinnipiac settles title IX lawsuit that pitted volleyball against cheerleading. (2013). Retrieved from

Reverend Richard.Strap on the ears, it’s time to bunny  Retrieved from

The risks of earlier puberty. Retrieved from

Stewart, D.Female athletes get naked for ESPN magazine’s body issue. Retrieved from

Sveinson, K. (2016). Female sport fans’ experiences of marginalization and empowerment. Journal of Sport Management, 30(1), 8-21. Retrieved from

Trolan, E. J. (2013). The impact of the media on gender inequality within sport. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 91, 215-227. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.08.420

Ussher, J. M. (1997). Fantasies of femininity (1. publ. in Great Britain, 1. publ. in the United States ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

What is the NCAA? (2015). Retrieved from


Three For One: How UND Defeated Minnesota 4-0 to Earn a Split

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

On Saturday night, in front of 11,890 boisterous fans, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (4-1-1) defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3-0, 1-1-0) 4-0. Their victory was keyed by three goals on a Jack Glover checking from behind major. This set up the Fighting Hawks to separate themselves from the Gophers for the remainder of the contest.

With the Gophers down a defenseman, and shorthanded for five full minutes, UND took advantage of its chances. The three markers provided insurance after the Fighting Hawks had a one goal lead.


04:59 into the first period Nick Jones buried his first goal as a Fighting Hawk on a perfect setup from linemate Grant Mismash. The Predators prospect took a feed from defenseman Hayden Shaw, streaked down to the goal line, and fired an exquisite no look back hand pass to a wide open Jones who did the rest.

19:19 into the opening frame,  the Fighting Hawks would score their first of three goals on Jack Glover’s five minute major. Christian Wolanin took a feed from Gabe Bast and rifled it past Gophers’ goalie Eric Schierhorn to give UND a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Give forward Rhett Gardner credit on that goal for providing a beautiful screen to set that chance up.

The Fighting Hawks continued their strong special teams play as Colton Poolman joined the goal scoring fun. The sophomore defenseman scored  2:12 into the period. He took a drop pass from Ludvig Hoff and sent a rocket past three Gopher defenders and Schierhorn into the back of the net.

Wolanin capped off the scoring 3:43 into the middle frame. He took a pass from Colin Adams and fired it past Schierhorn to secure the final margin of victory for the Fighting Hawks.


Forward Grant Mismash had an especially strong first period and was my vote for second star of the evening. He had two assists, finished plus one, and blocked a shot. The two-way forward played a strong 200 foot game for the Fighting Hawks tonight, and is developing into the player Nashville drafted him to be.

Junior defender Hayden Shaw notched two secondary assists tonight, as he did a superb job setting up the play throughout the evening for the Fighting Hawks.

Last night, North Dakota dominated possession and chances, yet could not win. Tonight, the tables were turned as Minnesota finished with 47 shot attempts to UND’s 39.

My Thoughts

I think that the Fighting Hawks cannot only be judged by their shot totals, or even shot attempts. Some of the past few games that the Fighting Hawks have not won, going back to last season against Boston have a few common themes. Strong goaltender, not finishing chances, and too many blocked shots.

Tonight the Fighting Hawks took care of the last two, and Schierhorn had to deal with a lot of traffic on Saturday. Look for UND to utilize that even more moving forward. The Fighting Hawks almost have to be judged without shot attempts. One the one hand, this stat shows possession, on the other hand said possession does not  always indicate who actually wins as evidenced by UND’s season opener against Alaska Anchorage. .

The Fighting Hawks go on the road next week to open to take on Colorado College in their NCHC conference-opening series. If UND plays a simple game and opens up lanes like it did tonight, good things can happen.



Gophers Skate Past Fighting Hawks 2-1: A Recap and 2 Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of a raucous sold out group of 11,862  fans at the Ralph Englestad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (3-1-1) came up short against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-2-0, 1-1).

Steve Johnson had the game winning marker for the Gophers 12:08 into the third period. The senior defenseman took a pass from Rem Pitlick, and fired the puck past Cam Johnson to give the Golden Gophers a 2-0 lead.

Forward Rhett Gardner would capitalize on a Fighting Hawks power play 92 seconds later to provide the final margin for the evening. Gardner tapped home a rebound from a Grant Mismash shot.  This would be the beginning of a furious Fighting Hawk rally in the third period that did not change the final score.

Minnesota netminder Eric Schierhorn was superb on friday, he made 34 saves on 35 UND shots on net. He was the first star of the evening, Pitlick with two points, and Rhett Garndner took home the second and third star honors.

11:00 into the first period, Tyler Sheehy fired a pass to Sabres’ prospect Casey Mittelstadt who fed Nashville Predators prospect Rem Pitlick. He walked in and fired a clean shot past Cam Johnson to open the scoring 11 minutes into the opening stanza. The Fighting Hawks killed off three Gopher power plays to keep the score 1-0 Minnesota after the first period. UND had several chances but could not capitalize on any of them.

The Fighting Hawks generated plenty of chances in the second but could not convert on their three second period power plays. Eric Schierhorn made 13 saves to keep UND off the board in the second frame.  The Gophers blocked 11 of their 29 blocked shots during this period. They were able to do just enough to keep the Fighting Hawks from soaring into the lead.

In the third period, once again the Fighting Hawks would generate chance after chance, yet thanks to 29 total blocked shots, one successful power play out of six, and timely Minnesota scoring, UND could not tie things up.

The Fighting Hawks look to rebound tonight at 7:07 PM at the Ralph.

Thoughts for Tonight 

Improve the Power Play

The Fighting Hawks have to be better on the power play. While they did convert a power play on Friday night, they were unable to solve the Gophers’ penalty kill five times. The Gophers blocked a fair amount of their 29 shots when killing penalties. One thing UND did on the last power play chance that provided the goal was rotate their passing a bit more. While you want as many shots to reach the net as possible, you want them to be good shots. Both shots on goal on that particular power play came on the Gardner goal.

UND utilized cross ice passes to open up the shooting lanes it needed to score. That ability tonight will be a key to solving the Gopher defense.

Stay Out of the Box

UND took seven penalties last night. While the Fighting Hawks did a superb job being aggressive and limiting Gopher power play chances, they do not want to let the Gophers skilled forwards like Pitlick and Mittelstadt get extra time on the power play. The Fighting Hawks have to keep penalties down tonight to have a chance to win. If they can hold the Gophers to one power play per period or less, their chances to earn a split dramatically increase.




UND Uses Special Teams and a Fast Start to Defeat St. Lawrence 6-1: A Recap, Notes, and Some Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

What a difference a day makes. Coming off a night where it took until late in the third period to convert a power play, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks(3-0-1) used a dominant three goal first period and two power play goals to earn a sweep over the St. Lawrence Saints (0-4-0).

6:11 into the first period, Christian Wolanin opened up the scoring with a point shot goal that squeaked past Saints netminder Arthur Brey. Colton Poolman provided the feed which set Wolanin up for a strong shot, that would stake UND to a lead it would not relinquish.

14:51 into the period, on UND’s second power play of the evening,  Shane Gersich knocked home a rebound from a Colton Poolman point shot.

Colton Poolman quietly put together a strong evening for the Fighting Hawks with two assists, two blocked shots, and he finished plus two. He was voted the game’s first star of the evening.

A few minutes later, at the nineteen minute mark of the first, Grant Mismash created a beautiful turnover, and rushed into the offensive zone. The Nashville Predators prospect staked the Fighting Hawks to a 3-0 lead after the first period.

UND dominated the first period with 13 shots on net to four from St. Lawrence. The Fighting Hawks generated 23 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes.

The first was also marked by dominance in the faceoff circle. UND won 20 of 24 faceoffs during the first period, yet the Saints would win the night 37-33.

During the second period, Daniel Mannella entered the game for the Saints in net.’St Lawrence was able to generate some more pressure thanks to a number of UND trips to the penalty box, including a two man advantage thanks to multiple UND minor penalties, and a checking from behind and game misconduct penalty to Grant Mismash.

UND’s lone second period marker came on the power play 15:38 into the frame, as Jordan Kawaguchi found his way to the front of the net, and put the puck past Mannella to put the Fighting Hawks up 4-0 heading into the intermission.

After Jacob Pritchard got St. Lawrence on the board 03:44 into the third period, UND put the game out of reach with goals by Cole Smith and Rhett Gardner.

Notes and Thoughts

Goaltender Cam Johnson finished the evening with 27 saves on 28 shots.  The senior netminder was voted second star of the game for his efforts. Colton Poolman and Shane Gersich were the other two stars of the evening.

Tonight, after the game, head coach Brad Berry noted his team’s ability to simplify things on the power play. That ability to simplfy things helped the Fighting Hawks generate six shots on five power plays.

UND was able to better utilize its speed tonight against the Saints. It used its speed game to create numerous chances throughout the evening. These chances were a big part of the dominant first period, as the Fighting Hawks finished it with 23 shot attempts.

Despite the score tonight, and their age as a team, I do not expect St. Lawrence to finish seventh in the ECAC, where they were predicted to finish. Their top two lines generated plenty of chances,and their side plays a game more suited to Olympic ice sheets, which is where it benefits defensemen to stay at home a bit more. If the Saints can use their size to stifle chances like they did on Friday night, some teams in the ECAC could be in for quite the shock this year.

Next week, the rivalry returns, as the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers head to the Ralph to take on the Fighinng Hawks.






UND Squeaks Past St. Lawrence 2-1: A Recap and Thoughts for Saturday

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

On Friday night, 11,221 fans came out to the Ralph Englestad Arena to watch the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2-0-1) get its first home win in its regular season home opener against the St. Lawrence Saints (0-3-0).

Colin Adams was able to stave off the Saints upset bid with a power play marker 16:11 into the third period.  The goal came on a feed from Joel Janatuinen, on a play started by Christian Wolanin. It was one of the most active power plays UND had all night, and the only one of its seven it converted on. The Fighting Hawks ended the night one for seven on the power play with a mere eight shots reaching Saints netminder Arthur Brey.

Most of the first period was physical,and each team generated under ten shots on net. Austin Poganski came close to putting UND ahead on a two-on-zero breakaway, however he hit the post.  A few minutes after Poganski hit the post, 19:49 into the first, Colton Poolman sprung Grant Mismash into the Saints’ zone, where he drove the net hard on Arthur Brey, and created an easy rebound for Ludvig Hoff to stake UND to its first lead of the night.

In the second period,  the Fighting Hawks could not convert on their multiple chances throughout the period. However, St Lawrence converted on their full powerplay chance.  Saints senior forward Joe Sullivan tapped home a rebound off of a Nolan Gluchowski shot to knot things up heading to the final period.

Once again, in the third period, early on, UND had trouble finding the back of the net on its powerplay. It could not convert on 44 seconds of five-on-three time, and let the Saints hang around late into the third period, where Adams would ultimately notch the game-winner.

Here are some thoughts on tonight’s contest, and things to look for tomorrow.

Limit Breakaways 

The Fighting Hawks allowed multiple Saints breakaways throughout the contest, and were bailed out by senior netminder Cam Johnson. His strong play, allowed the Fighting Hawks to withstand the dearth of special teams goals.  If UND can limit the time and space St. Lawrence routinely had throughout the night, it can generate more a few more chances.

Continue to Utilize Speed 

Colin Adams, the New York Islanders prospect, noted that UND did a good job utilizing its speed throughout the night. While UND did not have a lot of sustained offensive zone pressure during five-on-five play, it was able to use its speed to generate quick chances and force the Saints to play on their heels.

Be Physical 

During the weekly press conference on Wednesday, Johnny Simonson noted that the Saints are a big and physical team. They showed that tonight, I thought the Saints did a good job limiting second and third chance opportunities. Goalie Arthur Brey only had to make 26 saves tonight for the Saints on 55 shot attempts. The Saints blocked 19 shots, and did a superb job limiting UND to eight shots on goal during its seven power plays.

If UND can continue to match St. Lawrence with its physical play, then tomorrow could bring another good result for the Fighting Hawks. Cam Johnson had to make 20 saves on a mere 33 shot attempts. Also, the Fighting Hawks had seven blocks.

All of this showcases UND’s  continued ability to limit chances. When it starts converting a few more special teams markers, this team has a lot of potential to grow this season.



An Interview with St Lawrence Saints Coach Mark Morris

Last night, we had a chance to talk to Saint Lawrence’s Head Coach Mark Morris about how his group played this weekend, and some of the things he is expecting from his group this weekend as they prepare to take on the Fighting Hawks at the Ralph Englestad Arena.

Coach Morris also touched on the strong atmosphere of the Ralph, as well as his memories of the Hrkac Circus team that dominated the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey landscape in 1987 to win a national title.






UND ties Alaska Anchorage 1-1: Quick Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Last night, the University of North Dakota at times looked dominant over the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves. The Fighting Hawks generated plenty of chances throughout the evening.

However, the Seawolves defense, lead by Olivier Mantha was up to the task. The senior goalie made 32 saves on 33 shots faced. The UAA defense blocked 25 shots on the evening.

UND did a lot of things right last night. They used their speed and depth to generate a lot of chances, especially as the game wore on. They kept the Seawolves playing defense most of the evening. They staved off a five-on-three powerplay in overtime. Shane Gersich showed his skill and speed all night, generating chances, and getting his linemates involved.

Yet, UND has to improve some things tonight. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on tonight.

Passing to create lanes

One thing the Fighting Hawks did exceptionally well last week against Manitoba was getting a lot of quality chances. Yes, UND had some quality chances last night they should have converted. However, part of the reason why UAA blocked so many shots is because UND did not utilize the full Olympic sheet of ice at times.

The Fighting Hawks’ only goal came on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play where Trevor Olson found Christian Wolanin who quickly got the puck to a wide open Johnny Simonson. This team scored all but one of its goals last weekend on transitions and quick plays.

If the Fighting Hawks have a few less shots, but can utilize their ability to create time and space, then they could make life harder for Mantha.

Get One or More Special Teams Goals

The Fighting Hawks have to get one goal on special teams. Last night, they once again generated chances and had good zone time. If the Fighting Hawks can catch the Seawolves in transition that may open up their defense a bit.

Control the Dot Once More 

UND went 35-18 in the faceoff dot last night. That started a lot of their possesions, and lead to generating the amount of chances they did. If that continues look for UND to get a lot more chances tonight.

If UND can limit chances, and improve on its speed game from last night, then tonight could produce a lot different outcome for the Fighting Hawks.




UND Heads North: Previewing the Alaska Anchorage Series

Photo Credit: (Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Fresh off a 6-2 exhibition win over Manitoba, UND heads north this weekend to take on an Alaska Anchorage side that finished last in the WCHA last season. The Seawolves won seven total games in 34 contests last season.

This season, the Seawolves look to improve on their record lead in net by senior goaltender Olivier Mantha. He finished last season with a 2.82 goals against average and .913 save percentage.

The Seawolves play a physical style of hockey that will force UND to utilize the wider sheet of Olympic ice to make more skilled plays.

Giving fast players like Shane Gersich and Ludvig Hoff more ice to skate on will benefit the Fighting Hawks.

To have a chance against the Fighting Hawks, Head Coach Matt Thomas noted the importance of taking away time and space from the Fighting Hawks. The Seawolves’ returning leading scorer and captain, Matt Anholt, had 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games. Alaska Anchorage has done better when it plays physical and limits scoring chances.

For the Fighting Hawks to have success against the Seawolves this weekend here are few things to look for.

Utilize your Speed Game 

North Dakota is a faster team than the Seawolves. Because of this, it will  be able to generate chances if they can maintain puck possession. As the game wears on, like during the Manitoba game, the Fighting Hawks will show their speed. Look for players like Ludvig Hoff to build on their exhibition performance against Manitoba.

Build on the Blue Line 

One of the things Head Coach Brad Berry thought needed improvement was play in UND’s own defensive zone. Manitoba had some long cycles in the first period, and one of those cycles contributed to the Bisons second goal on a deflection.

Start Fast 

The Seawolves will be incredibly motivated. They have experience playing the top teams in the country to start a season. The Fighting Hawks have to come out fast, and force the Seawolves to score multiple times just to keep pace.

Now that the games count, UND has to not give the Seawolves any chance to stick around with their motivated crowd cheering them on.


UND will face some challenges this weekend from the Seawolves but should come out on top with a sweep.

Score Prediction: UND 4-2 UND 5-2