You’re five years old, it’s January, it’s snowing, and you are getting excited about being able to use the skates that Santa brought you for Christmas. You step on that ice, whether inside or outside, and your whole life has changed. You have now learned how to skate, and stop without hitting the boards, and now you need a stick and a puck so you can learn to pass, shoot, and eventually score.
You play this fun sport of hockey for many years learning new tricks along the way and how to be tougher as the competition gets bigger. You’re now 18 and ready to go off to college. But wait. Do you get a scholarship? Do you get to go play semi professional hockey first?
For male hockey players, there are always choices, if they are good enough. For female players, there are not so many choices. You may be able to play throughout your life, but unless you are in the top of your class, you are probably never going to play on a main stage. College seems like the last place to play in front of big crowds and have a chance at some kind of title or championship.
While I have never personally played the game I have had times when I was little, wearing over sized goalie pads and having pucks shot my direction by my brother and some friends. I have seen through family and friends the thrill the game can bring when you play. I have been through years of travel hockey and watching college hockey and even the professional leagues. There just has to be something more, when you lace up the skates and put the pads on that just takes you back to being a kid and playing a game that you love. The first chance to show off your new skills and showing mom how well you can skate.
Women have always been behind with the game, not really getting a chance to play unless it was with men, and even then you couldn’t play in a game. Even now, there are not nearly as many fans at women’s games as there are at men’s games, no matter what level of play you are competing in. Women can have just as much playing the game as men right?
Coming up in just a few short weeks, women will get the chance to show off their skills to the world. Starting April 2, the International Ice Hockey Federation will hold the Women’s World Championship in Ottawa, ON, with 8 countries competing for the top spot. This tournament will help show the world the amount of skill it takes to be a woman hockey player in this day and age. It will also show all of us non hockey players, how much fun it can be to skate at a top level, even when we can’t be there. This championship should also provide for some exciting pre-Olympic competition. So, when the time comes next February, we will have an idea of what the women are capable of.
Good luck to all the women competing in the World Championships and to all the women who play on a regular basis. Let’s show the world that we can play and we can put on a good show!