There are a lot of thing said about women who come to hockey games-–most of them are pretty negative and we won’t repeat them here. Instead we will be spending the next few editions of Women in Hockey talking about the bright and passionate women we know who follow hockey, report on hockey, and live hockey as players, moms, and avid watchers. Our quest to find positive models of women who love their hockey has led us to meet some incredible women.
Did you know there is a National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)? There are four teams, all on the east coast of the United States and their players hail from around the globe. The NWHL is the first league to actually pay women to play hockey. They play an 18 game schedule from October to February. North of the border the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is going strong, although they are not yet payed for their time. Both leagues hope to align themselves with their NHL brothers as they strive to carve out a new niche market.
Women’s hockey has been a part of the Winter Olympics since 1998. Slow to grow, the female side of the sport has gained popularity with each passing game. The women’s tournaments are usually dominated by the United States and Canadian teams. Eight teams competed in the last tournament in 2014 and challenge between the US and Canadian teams brought world-wide attention to an expanding sport.
In addition to these professional players, many ice rinks now provide hockey lessons to men and women and there are several coed teams around the US. For example, Kettler Ice Plex boasts an adult coed league that is fortified through training sessions for both men and women. In the weeks ahead you will be hearing from some of the women who play hockey and why they decided to put on pads instead of tutus to skate competitively. There are the moms who load up cars with hockey equipment to take their kids to practice and games. And let’s not forget the women who bring us updates about our favorite teams and budding sportscasters found in on our college campuses.
In the coming weeks you will be hearing stories from all of these women as we strive to bring you a new perspective on women in and around hockey. If you have a story to share, let us know. We would love to include you in our spotlight. We are excited to have met so many incredible women who are changing the face of hockey and breaking the stereotype.