Originally posted at http://www.historymuseum.ca/blog/a-controversial-jersey/
by Jenny Ellison
Hockey Canada created a national women’s team in 1990, and the first official Women’s World Hockey Championship was held in Ottawa that same year. Organizers of the tournament initially struggled to sell tickets. As a publicity stunt, the tournament committee decided to have Team Canada wear pink jerseys and white satin hockey pants.
Many female players and organizers were angry. They felt that pink uniforms trivialized the athleticism of the new national women’s team. The controversial decision paid off, however, in publicity and ticket sales. Team Canada won gold at the tournament, and the pink jerseys were retired.
The pink jerseys were not the first time a women’s hockey uniform had been controversial. In 1938, members of the Preston Rivulettes were forbidden to wear their jerseys in the national women’s championships, because the jerseys bore the name of the team’s sponsor: the Preston Springs Hotel. The team had agreed to add “Springs” to their jerseys, in exchange for money to buy new equipment.
The problem was that sponsorship was prohibited by the Dominion Women’s Amateur Hockey Association, sponsor of the tournament. Taking any kind of sponsorship or money was regarded by the public with suspicion, and players were expected to play simply for the love of the game. Members of the Rivulettes certainly loved hockey, but they also needed help to pay for new equipment.
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