Lots of NWHL / PHF players were on the move this offseason which I can relate to. Since we’re in the same boat, I thought it would be a fun series to put together, to see what they go through as they prepare for Season 7. Once a week in this space we will have the low on what happens with a familiar face in a new place. Then goalie Tera Hofmann, who signed with her hometown team – the Toronto Six – after being drafted and playing just one game with the Metropolitan Riveters.
Drafted 16th overall (3rd round) in the 2020 NWHL Draft after a strong senior season at Yale University, Hofmann earned her only pro start, a 4-3 victory over the Connecticut Whale at Lake Placid where she made 33 saves. Now, she can’t wait to show up in front of her friends and family for the first time in a long time when she dresses for the Six this season.
The 23-year-old goaltender, who just turned 23, was the first player I officially spoke to about the change from NWHL to PHF.
âI am glad that the term gender of women has been dropped. I think it will make the league more accessible, I hope, to everyone – players and fans. It’s a preliminary step, an optical thing right now. It’s our job to move forward and make it happen, make a tangible change in our league. I don’t know where the Federation is from, but I think PHF makes sense, âsaid Hofmann from an airport as she prepared to fly back to Ontario from New Jersey for the coming season.
âI’m excited to see where it’s going, how it’s going, and I hope it’s not too big a change for our fans. I think everyone I spoke to agreed with that. Hope this opens up more dialogue instead of closing it. Some people might see it as an erasure of what has happened in the past six seasons, but what I’m hoping for is that it becomes an opportunity for people to really think beyond the rink.
âHockey is so much more than that,â she added. âOur league, for the most part, has done a good job of capturing that and using it, but there is always so much more for us to do. We are advocates, athletes, human beings, and I would like us to take this opportunity to provide this safe space for people to play hockey. I think that’s what will set us apart from other leagues. We need to be able to get that kind of reputation for inclusion and make hockey a sport that people can access.
No glove love
The ice garden: You only saw the ice for a game with the Riveters, do you feel like you have to prove yourself again, or is it just another day in the life of a goalie?
Tera Hofmann: Yes of course. You always try to prove yourself no matter what position you find yourself in, even if you are a beginner. You may be granted certain freedoms, but you have to come in and continue to prove yourself in every practice, in every game.
TIG: What can Six fans expect from you this season?
E: It’s hard to judge from a single game (pro), but I like to leave everything on the ice every time I play and I do everything I can to prepare for it. It has been difficult in the offseason, especially with the covid, not being able to play in a lot of games over the past two years. But I would say this game has definitely rekindled my passion for hockey. It’s easy to get lost in the sauce when you are not playing games; when you work out the intensity gets lost a bit I think. It was really nice to have this game because it reminded me of what I’m striving for. The dream is to be the best of myself, to reach my limit at every opportunity and to be consistent in that sense. That’s what I’m looking to give T6 fans and my team.
TIG: For those Toronto fans who may not have seen you play yet, what kind of goalie and person will they have?
E: I try to bring a calm and constant presence on the ice. I make the saves I’m supposed to make, give my team the confidence they need. I hope for my teammates this year, as I have been for the past few years, I can be someone they turn to when they’re a little nervous as a sense of security in the net – and even when I don’t. don’t play, hope to bring that to the bench too.
On the road once more
TIG: This will be your third team in three years, with the benefit of having Saroya (Tinker) with you, what do you think will be the most difficult or the weirdest part of changing teams all over again?
E: Honestly, that doesn’t sound weird. It’s a natural progression for me. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with the Riveters, I would have loved to play there again. But I’m also very excited and happy to come home and play there. I already know some of the players on the team, I played with them in Toronto growing up (peewee, midget, bantam), played against them for years as well. So, it really doesn’t look too much like joining a new team necessarily. I also trained with the Six here the previous summer during the covid when I couldn’t cross the border, and I got to know some of the players that way too.
I hadn’t really thought about the three team / three year thing until you brought it up, but I’m in this league now and with that you get to know the players, their personalities on and off the ice cream – whether or not you are on their team. So I look forward to continuing with all the new players in our league.
TIG: What are you passionate about playing in your hometown?
E: Well first of all, I live at home, so no rent! Free food, my mom’s cooking is phenomenal as is my dad’s. My sister is also at home, and she’s a great cook as well – so I’ll definitely eat really well (laughs). It will be nice to be at home, with my friends and the support structures around me – I don’t have to reinstate that here, which I had to do last season. I am really excited to see my parents, my grandmother and my other family in Toronto in the stands. I can’t wait to see their faces in the stands because it’s honestly been a while since they’ve been able to come and see me play in a game. Even when I was playing Yale, my parents both worked full time, so they couldn’t go out and see me too often; it was always a treat when they could be there.
TIG: Seems like everything went well for you, but how did this homecoming come about?
E: I think everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think it necessarily happens in a way that you would expect. I firmly believe that wherever I am, whatever situation I find myself in, I will try to make the most of it. Not only that, but I will prosper too. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t end up where I wanted to be initially, but I also love being at home in Toronto, so I don’t have much to complain about – just because things don’t. have not worked as I originally expected. would be heading towards this offseason. Sometimes life throws curveballs at you (laughs), and it’s my job to catch them.
TIG: Are you excited for a potential start against the Riveters? Obviously you still have friends on the squad and on other teams, but these games should be circled in your timeline, right?
E: Yes quite. The fact that I have friendships with players from other teams makes it more exciting to play these games. I will definitely want to win. I’ve been training in New Jersey with Moose (Rebecca Morse) all summer, and she hasn’t managed to beat me on a breakaway yet, at least not intentionally!