COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship kicks off Monday (March 15) in Erie, Pa., and will feature 124 American players across eight teams vying for this year’s national title.
Quarterfinal games will be played Monday and Tuesday (March 15-16) and will include match-ups between Northeastern (1) and Robert Morris (8); Wisconsin (2) and Providence (7); Ohio State (3) and Boston College (6); and Colgate (4) and Minnesota Duluth (5). The Frozen Four will take place on March 18 and 20. For the full schedule, please click here.
Among the tournament participants, 26 players have represented the United States in international competition. Of those, 24 have done so in International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship play, combining to win 36 medals (29 gold, 7 silver).
Twenty-three participants have also appeared in at least one Under-18 Series as part of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Select Team, and ten have competed in an Under-22 Series with the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team.
Among the 124 Americans competing, five helped the U.S. to gold at the 2020 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia, including Katie Davis (Boise, Idaho/University of Minnesota Duluth), Lacey Eden (Annapolis, Md./University of Wisconsin), Amanda Thiele (Milford, Mich./Ohio State University), Clara Van Wieren (Cooperstown, N.Y./University of Minnesota Duluth) and Makenna Webster (St. Louis, Mo./University of Wisconsin).
In addition, Aerin Frankel (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y./Northeastern University), Britta Curl (Bismarck, N.D./University of Wisconsin) and Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif./Boston College) were all named to the U.S. Women’s National Team that was set to compete at the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship, before the event was canceled due to COVID-19. Barnes also claimed a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland.
Collectively, 22 states will be represented by players in the tournament, including California (5), Colorado (3), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Idaho (1), Illinois (6), Maine (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (21), Michigan (8), Minnesota (30), Missouri (2), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New York (17), North Dakota (2), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (4), Rhode Island (3), Texas (3), Vermont (2) and Wisconsin (5).
Defender Natalie Buchbinder and goaltender Aerin Frankel suited up with Team USA Dec. 17 in Moncton, N.B., as part of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series.
In addition, numerous staff members across the eight competing teams have ties to USA Hockey, highlighted by University of Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson, who was a member of the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and also previously served as head coach for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team that claimed a silver medal in Vancouver, B.C. Additionally, Dave Flint, head coach of Northeastern University, served as goaltending coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team that earned a gold medal at the 2008 IIHF Women’s World Championship and a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Other notable staff members of the competing teams in the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship with connections to USA Hockey include Boston College head coach Katie King-Crowley and associate head coach Courtney Kennedy. Crowley played in three Olympic Winter Games (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and six IIHF Women’s World Championships (1 gold, 5 silver) for Team USA. She was also named USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year in 2006 and as head coach, led the 2010 Under-18 Women’s National Team to a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship. Kennedy’s playing career with USA Hockey spanned from 1999-2006, highlighted by two appearances in the Olympic Winter Games (1 silver, 1 bronze) and helping the U.S. win its first-ever gold medal in the IIHF Women’s World Championship in 2005. On the coaching front, she has served as an assistant coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team on four occasions, helping lead the U.S. to gold medals in 2017 and 2018 and silver medals in 2013 and 2014.
NOTES: Skylar Fontaine (East Greenwich, R.I./Northeastern University) and Aerin Frankel, two of the 124 Americans competing in this year’s tournament, were both named top-ten finalists for the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The 24th Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 27. More details around the unveiling will be available soon.