PHOTO CRED: Troy Parla
New York Riveters practice has just ended, a tough one at that. After playing not one of their best games on a Sunday night (12/11), they were put through a taxing bag skate on a Tuesday night. One that some admitted they probably deserved. Blueliner Kiira Dosdall, like the majority of her teammates, worked a 9-5 shift at her day job (more on that later) and then hopped on a train from New York City to Newark, New Jersey to practice with her teammates.
“And then you get bag-skated,” the 29-year-old said with a laugh following the rough on-ice session. “I find that you go through a work day, nothing too eventful happens and you’re kind of in this lull or zone. Then you come here (to the rink) and it’s easily the best part of your day,” Dosdall said with a smile. “I might come here kind of grumpy from whatever happened (earlier in the day) or even just calm, and the locker room livens you up. You get on the ice and it’s fun, it’s a release and it’s a workout; you’re with your friends. It makes it easy.”
By day she works as a project specialist for Schoology, (https://www.schoology.com) a start-up company (in some ways like the NWHL) that recently had to lay off a number of people. “I used to teach and then moved into the education tech industry about a year and a half ago. It’s a learning management system; basically, all schools are moving towards a digital space, so what we do is host classrooms online.”
PHOTO CRED: Troy Parla
“It’s pretty much nonstop. I think we’re all used to that lifestyle,” Dosdall, a graduate of Colgate University would say of the doubleheader days of work that she goes through on Tuesday and Thursday nights. “You go to school and play D-1 hockey, but it is a lot. Especially as it’s your responsibility to grow at work - work piles on and you have to leave at five o’clock twice a week. It asks for longer days.”
For love of the game, she has played every season except one (when she thought she was retiring) since college and when the NWHL was created it was another opportunity to make a difference that Dosdall could not pass up. No matter how tired she was, as she explains.
“There was a tryout in Long Island that was the only one I could attend because I was teaching and coaching at a prep school. I actually went to my friend’s wedding on Cape Cod, woke up at six a.m. the next morning and drove to Long Island,” she said followed by an intentionally long pause. “After a wedding…by myself. Just showed up. There were three D there, (including herself) and we scrimmaged all day.”
“I hadn’t skated in like a year,” she said laughing. “It worked out.” It obviously worked out pretty well as Dosdall was part of the original Riveters team last season and when it came time to sign a new contract, there was 0.00% of doubt in her mind as to what team she wanted to skate with in season two with the NWHL - despite her ties to Connecticut (hometown) and Boston (a season with the CWHL’s Blades).
“I knew ending that season last year that I absolutely wanted to play again, and be a part of this. I was ready to sign as soon as Chad (Wiseman, Rivs coach/GM) wanted me to. I live in New York now. I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else and with any other group.”
Between college and the creation of the NWHL Dosdall took her hockey career overseas where she won an astounding four (4!) consecutive championships in Austria with the Vienna Sabres. “The competition (there) isn’t exactly what it is here,” she said smoothly downplaying the fantastic feat. “It was so fun playing there.”
While there she would meet someone who is now one of her best friends (basically a sister) and now also happens to be her teammate (again) and sometimes roommate (again): Janine Weber. “We were stuck in an apartment together, randomly; and became buddies,” Dosdall recalled and started grinning. “She was like my mom, she was 18-years-old when I got there. She was carting me around, buying me groceries, explaining everything to me, getting the cable set up; getting registered in the district. The language was a huge culture shock but after four years I learned it.”
As a trailblazer with the NWHL Kiira Dosdall is making a difference on the ice and in the public eye, but she’s also making a difference off the ice too and a role model for not only little girl and boy athletes, but also in their educations. Something that surely must be rewarding when she finally does get to sleep for a few hours, which we couldn’t quite confirm actually occurs.
PHOTO CRED: Troy Parla