Women’s Hockey Inspiration

Earlier this month, I went with my friend Vicki to a Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association (PWHPA) game. It was awesome!

Tennis legend and PWHPA Investor Billie Jean King made the ceremonial puck drop. I got to see some of my favourite Olympic players, including Brianne Jenner and Sarah Nurse. I also got to watch crowds of girls excited to see their heroes and dream that they might might someday join them as professionals. Every single official was a woman.

Billie Jean King drops the puck as players from both teams look on.
A crowd of girls in winter coats and hats are pressed up against the glass as Olympian Brianne Jenner skates by.

It was so much fun to see Vicki’s enthusiasm too. She spent the entire weekend at the arena, watching several games and doing the adult skills clinic. For her, seeing the players up close and watching how they move on the ice was a real dream. She is pretty sure she smiled for the entire time she was doing drills and asking questions; she couldn’t stop grinning during my time watching the game with her.

Vicki wears her new PWHPA jersey and gives the thumb’s up while standing in a hockey arena.

For me, the best moment was when Vicki told me about a discussion at the end of the skills clinic. Participants had a chance to talk to the players and one of them, Emerance Maschmeyer, told her that while they enjoy hosting clinics for young girls what they really look forward to are the clinics for adult women. She said they are inspired to see the women learning new skills and having such a huge passion for the game. When Emerance found out Vicki’s age (50), her response was that Vicki is old enough to be her mom and “it makes me want to get my mom out playing hockey!”

Sometimes on this blog we get frustrated with all the inequalities that still exist in women’s sport. But things really have changed since Vicki and I were kids. Vicki’s parents tried to enrol her in hockey when she was a kid in Saskatchewan but they were told “girls don’t play hockey”. I wanted to play on the newly-formed girls team when I was about 13, but my parents were the ones who said “girls don’t play hockey”.

Now we have professional players and role models, even if they are paid a pittance compared to the men. There are mixed and girls/women-only leagues. it’s still hard to catch a women’s game, but it is no longer weird.

Vicki Thomas is a former competitive cyclist who now swims, bikes and plays hockey for fun in Ottawa. You can keep up with her here or on Twitter.

Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa. Her recent enthusiasm for cycling is due to Vicki’s influence.

One thought on “Women’s Hockey Inspiration

  1. Hockey is big where I live. The university women’s team is legendary; the men less so – their glory days are in the distant past; but the men still play in a bigger arena.

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