Jade Downie-Landry grinned.
A moment earlier, she had been asked what it is like for her and her PWHL New York teammates to be a part of the nascent league’s inaugural season.
“I definitely think we all think it’s pretty special,” Downie-Landry said during PWHL New York’s media day availability on Wednesday at UBS Arena. “It’s not every day you get to do this, and I think we’re all appreciative.”
And, truth be told, to be able to get in on the ground floor and help lay the pillars for future generations to build upon is meaningful.
For both the individual and the collective.
“We’ve definitely spoken about it,” said Downie-Landry, who has three goals and two assists in the first six games. “But I also think we individually reflect and look back on all the opportunities we’ve had when the league started and all the opportunities we’re going to have and [both are] definitely something that we’re very grateful for.”
Add to that the fact that the team has been competitive this season despite an unusual amount of adversity and there was an acute sense of pride in what they have accomplished heretofore.
Because PWHL New York is splitting its home games between UBS Arena and Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and practicing at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford, the team is in the position of simultaneously playing 24 road games while trying to build a fan base.
The fact that PWHL New York has a 3-3-0-0 record and leads the league with 17 goals scored (Jessie Eldridge has a team-high four) one quarter of the way into the season is reasonably successful, despite both coach Howie Draper and GM Pascal Daoust expressing concern at some elements of their team’s performance.
“I would say there’s been positives,” Draper said. “I would say there’s been areas that need to get better. So just like any team or unit that’s trying to find itself there’s been some ups and there’s been some downs and we’re just actively involved trying to minimize the downs and increase the ups.”
What are the downs?
“I can say for now we haven’t played 60 minutes [in] a single game,” Daoust said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to find ways to win some games . . . Sometimes it was a player. Sometimes it was another one. Sometimes it was more than a player. I definitely don’t think that group [proved] us or [proved] themselves that there’s something wrong other than not being into [games] for 60 minutes. That’s the first step that we should [take].
“Respect 60 minutes. I mean, we need to respect the game itself. We need to respect the [opposition] because there’s great teams] in the league, six great teams that are all fighting and aiming [for] the big win at the end [of the season].
“To make the [playoffs] first and to [qualify] for the playoffs, to be part of [that], you need to commit ASAP because as we mentioned there’s three [quarters] of the season left. So there’s no time to say, ‘Maybe my idea is better than the other one.’ Let’s try one, 60 minutes, and then we’ll evaluate.
“We’ve done good things but I don’t think we’ve seen that team for 60 minutes like I saw then at least once or twice in Utica [during training camp].”