The first half didn’t play out like anyone would have predicted, and there are just about two months of the regular season remaining when teams hit the ice again in January. The holidays are all about wishes and resolutions, so I took the liberty of peeking at the letters the top teams sent to Santa this year. Here’s a look at what the best teams in women’s hockey are hoping to find under the tree.
From the desk of Mark Johnson (Wisconsin)
Christmas has come early for the Badgers, as they’re sitting atop the rankings with just one loss. Obviously, we’ve been really good this year, and I’d like to think we curry some favor by more or less copying your sartorial style. We’re big fans of the red and white look.
Wisconsin doesn’t have much to ask for — we’d be pretty happy for things to stay just as they are, but if you’re looking for something for our stocking, figuring out our occasional scoring droughts would be great. Feel free to leave some schematics, plays, or videos with the key to that problem. We’ll make sure to capitalize on those opportunities.
From the desk of Brad Frost (Minnesota)
Listen, I know our neighbors like to think they’re close to you because you guys are all matchy-matchy, but I’m pretty sure my name proves my lineage and devotion. So, Santa, it would be awesome if you could not only go ahead and ignore any letters postmarked Madison, but also pay a little extra attention to the Gophers. We really didn’t mean it when we said “Better dead than red.” Please pass our apologies on to Rudolph.
If you’re in the giving mood, some help on the power play would be well received. but honestly, we’d just really love a good dose of luck. We’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of big injuries over the past few years. Our team is really coming together, so let’s toast to health and happiness in the New Year, and we’ll see you in Connecticut in March, OK?
From the desk of Dave Flint (Northeastern)
Northeastern, North Pole. Same difference, right? If you wanted to spend a little extra time spreading holiday cheer with us this year, I don’t think you’d feel like you’re too far from home. I’m not going to lie, we’ve had the joy and excitement of the holidays for a while now, and we’re not planning on being greedy. Things are going really well for us, as we’ve set new program records with each win, so our asks are pretty small. We’d love to unwrap a bit of consistency. That Holy Cross loss was a bit like finding coal in your stocking, so we’d love to avoid that in the future.
We’re headed over to Ireland and could use a safe escort from any of your reindeer. We’re sure hoping for big results against Clarkson, so maybe send Rudolph, and we’ll keep him busy as the goal lamp, as well.
From the desk of Doug Derraugh (Cornell)
Santa, I love your look, and we’re practically in Canada, which means you and I are all but neighbors. We’re the Big Red, and I imagine that’s a nickname you’ve probably heard once or twice yourself. If you wanted to show a little neighborly love, we certainly would love to find an ECAC title under the tree. It’s been a few years, and we’re hunting the postseason, so anything you can do to help with a trip to the NCAAs and the Frozen Four would certainly make us very happy this year. Some puck luck would be nice, if you’ve got some to spare. We’ve already got four ties, and we want all the points we can get. I’ll leave a Big Red Sweater out for you alongside the cookies and milk. I suppose you’re a bit more comfortable wielding off dogs and cats when you head down a chimney, but if in your travels you’ve gained any knowledge on how to repel Tigers, I’d love to look over those notes.
From the desk of Matt Desrosiers (Clarkson)
Santa, I haven’t had to ask for much in recent years, so I hope you won’t mind if my list of requests is longer than normal. I know we had a bit of Christmas in July when we found T.T. Cianfarano and Kassidy Sauvé under the tree, so I suppose we can’t get too picky when it comes to holiday requests this year. We’d love to be kept in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed, so some motivational books might be helpful with this new mountain-climbing we’ve encountered. I’d love to know your thoughts on killing penalties and if you’ve got any fancy defensive moves in your bag of tricks. We’ve been awful good lately, so if you could just slip some scoring depth under the tree, I sure would appreciate it.
From the desk of Cara Morey (Princeton)
Hey there Santa, this is all a bit new to me, so really I’ll take any tips and tricks you’re willing to share. A lot of these coaches have more years at this than I do, so if you wanted to misdeliver any of the above requests, I promise I wouldn’t tell a soul. I know we’re Tigers and all, but we really don’t need to spend any more time in the cage. Any books you have on meditation, keeping calm, and discipline that might help keep our players out of the penalty box would be great stocking stuffers. We’ve got the toughest part of our schedule yet to go, so I’ll make like my fellow big cat the Cowardly Lion and ask for some courage. It’s going to be a tough road, but we control our destiny, and I hope we can show what we’re made of.
From the desk of Matt Kelly (Providence)
Well the Friars are used to talking to a different big guy, but I’ll take all the help I can get. We need everything you have on dog-catching and clipping wings. Right now, we’re keeping pace, but the Iditarod isn’t won or lost in a day. A copy of the Tortoise and the Hare wouldn’t go amiss in our locker room. This might be my first year, but our wish list is lofty -– we’re looking for our first Hockey East tournament championship since 1995 and our second-ever NCAA appearance. It’s been 14 years, and we’re ready for a return trip.
From the desk of Nadine Muzerall (Ohio State)
I’m a big believer in making your own luck, but I don’t suppose I’d turn down any extra help you wanted to leave under our tree. We’ll be looking for wins over our rivals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We’re right on the verge here Santa, and the third team from our conference, to boot. I don’t want to be on the outside looking in, and those quality win bonus points sure would look nice next to the Buckeyes name. I’d love to see some fire, and if any of that could be earmarked for the power play, even better. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Santa, we need goals if we’re going to keep pace, and we just need more cushion. We accomplished a lot of “firsts” last season, and we don’t plan to backslide. If any of the above folks happened to develop a tree nut allergy along the way, all’s the better for us.
From the desk of Greg Fargo (Colgate)
Bricks. Walls. Borders. Fences. Santa, whatever you’ve got to bolster a defense, I want to see it under the tree. Some self-help books would be great in our stockings — I know what this team is capable of, but I think they could use some confidence boosting, as well. Our players are young and full of potential, so whatever you’ve got in your sack that helps them find their stride in the second half is what tops my list. I’d love to see them take more shots and less penalties. We’re a little rough around the edges and could use with some sanding out and shining up. If you can help us clean things up a bit, I really like our chances.
From the desk of Katie Crowley (Boston College)
How much time do you have, Santa? Is that bag you carry around really bottomless, because we could use all the magic you’re able to spare for us. We’ve lost our mojo, and while I have no idea what that qualifies under on my wish list, if you’ve got something for cohesiveness, confidence, and teamwork, I’m all ears. I’d love to see what we can do to return to last year’s form for Daryl Watts, and it would be awesome if we weren’t averaging 10 minutes a game in penalties. I’m tempted to ask for a reset button, but maybe we just needed to be reminded about strength through adversity. How about a set of “Rocky” DVDs, or maybe we’ll just watch “Miracle” again? If you’ve got time, we’d love to see the good people of Boston at some of our games. Anything you can do to remind them they can watch gold-medal winning Olympians for free would be absolutely great.
From the desk of Paul Colontino (Robert Morris)
Santa, what do I have to do to convince you to freeze-in Erie? Is that possible? I mean, I’d want everyone to be safe, but if your friend the Snow Miser wanted to put our friends up in Erie on lockdown, we wouldn’t be too sad about it. Our scales are a little unbalanced, as we’re allowing more goals than we score, so anything you’ve got in your bag of tricks that helps us figure that out would be awesome. Our margin is pretty slim, but we’d really love to get another crack at the NCAA tournament and put the knowledge we’ve gained the past couple of years to the test.
From the desk of Erin Hamlen (Merrimack)
Listen big guy, I know it’s a long shot, but it sure seems like while everyone else is getting distracted by each other, there’s an opening for us to squeeze on in. I like our chances, especially in one-and-done situations, so I’m asking for a trip to the final weekend of the Hockey East tournament. Our friends the Huskies showed a four seed can win it all, and we’d love to follow in their little paw tracks. I love pretty much everything we’re doing, and I want to do more of it. We don’t just want to qualify for the postseason, we want to make waves. We’d love to find home ice under the tree.