April 06, 2013

Pucks On The 'Net: Women's Hockey Edition

There have been a plethora of great women's hockey history-related stories on the internet lately. Let's highlight a few.

Paul Harrington of TSN has a great history of women's hockey in Canada.
The return of the women's world hockey championships to Ottawa will be a homecoming in a number of ways.

The nation's capital hosted the very first women's championship in 1990. That's the tournament remembered for its pink uniforms, pink pom-poms and a pink Zamboni. And, of course, a gold medal for Canada.

But Ottawa's connections to the women's game go back much farther than that.

To the very beginning, as it turns out.

A game played at the Rideau Skating Club in Ottawa in March of 1889 is recognized by the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) as the first women's hockey game on record.

Eight women took part, four with the Rideau Club team and four on a team from Government House. In fact, one of the Government House players was Lady Isobel Stanley. Her father was Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada's Governor-General. Three years later he would donate the trophy that is now the symbol of men's professional hockey supremacy.
Here's the full story

As Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press tells us, it was that first women's championship back in 1990 that was the watershed moment for women's hockey.
For those on the Canadian women's hockey team old enough to remember the first world women's hockey championship in 1990, it was a light-bulb moment in their lives.

An 11-year-old Wickenheiser was playing boys hockey in Calgary with the double-A bantam Northwest Bruins. Ouellette, 10, was also playing on a boys minor hockey team Montreal. Hefford, 12, played for the Kingston Kodiaks girls' hockey club.

Watching on television from their various regions of the country as Canada won gold wearing bright pink jerseys, those three players were amazed to see there was a future for them in women's hockey.

"I didn't even know girls played hockey until I watched the 1990 worlds," says Wickenheiser, now 34. "It made me feel validated, that what I was doing was important and was OK because, for so much of my childhood, all I was told was how I didn't belong.
Here's the full story.

Mark Staffieri of Bleacher Report caught up with hockey legend Geraldine Heaney and reminisced with her about the 1990 championships, as well as her new passion in hockey - coaching her daughter:
For a generation of Canadians, Heaney’s goal at the 1990 IIHF Women’s Worlds was their initial exposure to the women’s game. Heaney’s accomplishment is well worthy of acknowledgement. The entire week in Ottawa is one that will provide her with a lifetime of memories.

“Obviously with the world championships coming in this weekend, and getting to coach my daughter, I think so. I am also being recognized among the alumni. The recognition will be in Canada’s game against Finland. It will be great to see how they’re doing.”

“I haven’t seen some of them in 10, 15, 20 years! It will bring back a lot of memories. We will talk about the times when we played, and about how far the game has come. At those first World Championships (at the time), we did not realize what it did for the sport.”
Here's the full story.

Alan Adams, with a special report for the CBC, tells us Caroline Oullette has joined a very rare club - she joins Hailey Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford in the 200 games played club with the national team. Adams goes on detail Ouellette's career.
Ouellette was 11 years old when the first women's championship was staged in Ottawa in 1990.

"I have been on the team since 1998 and I have not missed many games over the years. I feel so lucky and privileged to be that long on the national team and it has been an incredible journey."

"I have always talked about the people who were not able to play hockey, to the women who are just a bit older than me and it was not allowed when they were young, and for them and for all the little girls, it is a true honor to represent your country."
Again, here's the full story.

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