Spoiler alert (tldr): absolutely not!
Recently the Toronto Star ran an article about women’s hockey at the Olympics, with the conclusion that it shouldn’t be there because only the American and Canadian teams are serious contenders. Not everyone shares this view.
I agree with The Gist. I grew up in the era when girls’ and women’s hockey was in its infancy. I wanted to play, but wasn’t allowed. Instead, I have watched the game grow from the sidelines, cheering on the women every time I knew they were playing.
My biggest thrill when visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame was seeing Hayley Wickenheiser’s jersey on display. When my son played in a league during a Winter Olympics year, the motivational speech was to get out there and play like girls. They knew that meant to skate hard, play as a team, and keep their sticks on the ice. And win the game if at all possible.
Women’s hockey is still growing in other countries, but it is getting increasingly competitive as more girls and women take up the sport. We absolutely should not shut down their opportunity to grow the game. We didn’t do that for men’s hockey in the early days, or basketball, which is now completely dominated by the American NBA players.
The Canadian and American teams will meet on Wednesday in the gold medal game. I’ll be cheering for the Canadians, of course. But I’ll also be keeping an eye on Switzerland and Finland as they face off for the bronze. I’m willing to bet it will be pretty great hockey too.
Diane Harper lives in Ottawa. She is still a hockey mom to her grown son, and a recovering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.