Jenny Scrivens will be turning 28 years old in June, and in the fall she will not be returning to the NWHL as either a player or in a public relations role. In an interview with Puck Daddy's Jen Neale that was published today, Scrivens announced her retirement from her "dream job" so she could focus on starting a family.
The departure from her dream job almost came a great deal earlier. In her interview with Puck Daddy Scrivens revealed that she very nearly walked away from her role with the NWHL sometime in November.
"I think it was November when I called Ben and told him I thought I should go home. He had been placed on waivers in October and sent to Edmonton's farm team in Bakersfield, California. It took a few weeks for him to get a work visa, so he wasn't even allowed to dress for games until the visa went through. Then the team told him to get a place to live, which is the telltale sign you'll be staying there for a while.
"While Ben was going through this, I was in New York trying to juggle the PR role with playing hockey again. I was really enjoying it, but I had no spare time and was beginning to feel overwhelmed. I moved to New York with the assumption that Ben would be living in Edmonton with his family and friends and our dog, Ezra. When he moved to Bakersfield, everything changed.
"There were many days when I thought it wasn't worth being away from him anymore."
But, as any devout Riveters fan knows, Jenny stayed in Brooklyn.
With Nana Fujimoto's undisclosed injury and the shakeup of the trade involving Shenae Lundberg and Chelsea Laden, Scrivens was thrust into the role of New York's starting goaltender for a good stretch of the season. Expectations for what she could do in net quickly changed when her relentless efforts provided night after night of highlight reel saves that had just as much to do with determination and effort as they did talent.
Scrivens was unorthodox in the blue paint, but she was undoubtedly effective. Her big frame and work ethic combined to make her a solid goaltender that played better with each passing game. She improved so much over the course of the year that some were convinced that she should have started both of the New York's playoff games against the eventual Isobel Cup Champion Boston Pride.
Scrivens smiling at some young fans during warm-ups.
The 2015-16 NWHL season proved once and for all that Scrivens was and is so much more than her husband's wife. In the crease she exceeded all expectations after being away for the game for six years and off the ice she was vital to the fledgling NWHL.
When she wasn't stopping pucks she was helping to promote and expand the media coverage that the league received.
"I’m not a PR professional, I'm not a hockey player, and I'm not a spouse. I may be all of those things all rolled into one, and the roles certainly change yearly and even daily; but what I'm doing one day compared to the next does not define who I am as a person.
"Making the sacrifice and moving to Brooklyn to play hockey was my way of proving that it could be done. I hope other young women can look at this year, look at the sacrifices players made, and realize they can make their dream jobs happen, too."
She may have never recorded a shutout or even a win while between the pipes for New York, but ask any Riveters fan what they think of Jenny Scrivens and they will almost certainly answer with the same smile that she so frequently displayed before, during, and after games. The same smile and enthusiasm that accompanied the one-on-one time she gave to so many members of the media and any fan that wanted to simply say hello or have a piece of memorabilia signed.
There have been precious few ambassadors for women's hockey who have done more for the game that they love than Scrivens has and will almost certainly continue to do.
Her career in the NWHL may have been just one season long, but there's no doubt that Scrivens is leaving behind an important legacy. As an outspoken voice for LGBTQI equality, mental health awareness, and redefining society's gender norms, Scrivens was and will continue to be a treasured voice in the hockey community.
Happy retirement, Jenny. Let's go Riveters.
On a personal note: As one of the millions of people who has firsthand experience with depression and anxiety disorder, I'd like to thank both Jenny and Ben Scrivens for their continued efforts to promote mental health awareness.