In honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, today, I would like to honor women in hockey. Pictured above is what is to believed to be the first ever photo of females playing hockey. The woman in the white dress is Isobel Stanley, daughter of THE Lord Stanley.
Women’s hockey is one of the fastest growing sports, with a 350% increase in the last 10 years. In 2010 there were 85,624 Females playing hockey in Canada, 61,612 in the United States, 4,694 in Finland and 3,425 in Sweden.
Karen Koch, in 1969 signed a contract for $40 a game, making her the first professional female hockey player. She played for the Marquette Iron Rangers. She brought huge publicity to the team as the first female. When the coach had to cut players, he made certain he cut in a way to ensure Karen stayed on the team. To encourage attendence, the mayor shot a penalty shot before the first game against Karen. When she stopped the penalty shot, the fans were on their feet. Unfortunately, with just 10 games left in the season, Karen repeatedly was removing her facemask despite her coaches instructions and they let her go from the team.
Manon Rheume is the only female to play in the NHL. She played for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the exhibition games, in 1992 against the St. Louis Blues and in 1993 against the Boston Bruins. Here is an article from Lonnie Herman re-capping her first time on NHL ice. After playing her first exhibition game, Manon was signed by the Atlanta Knights. While in Atlanta, she wrote an autobiography Manon: Alone in Front of the Net.
Manon has an older brother, Pascal Rheaume, Stanley Cup winner with the NJ Devils. She won Silver in the 1998 Olympics and won Gold for Team Canada in the 1992 and 1994 World Hockey Championships.
In 1998, the Winter Olympics added Women’s Hockey as a medal sport. The US won Gold, Canada won Silver and Finland won Bronze.
In 1998, the world was able to witness Geraldine Heaney who still holds the record for the mot games played (125) and the most career points by a defender (93). In her career, she won every World Championship for Canada (7 total). She was one of the first 3 women inducted into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame joined by Angela James who was Canada’s leading goal scorer in 1990 and Cammi Granato who is also the first female to be inducted into both the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame and the United States Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.
Some other notable women in the history of Ice Hockey:
Erika Holst who took the Swedish Olympians to a suprise Bronze medal in 2002 and, in 2006 won Silver. She has 9 Woman’s World Championships.
Guo Hong, also known as the “Great Wall of China”, denying up to 50 shots a game in 2002 and led in saves/ shots against/
Katie King, who was also a 1998 Olympic Gold winner ranks first among Americans in Olympic Scoring with 23 goals. Currently the head coach at Boston College, she, herself, graduated with 123 goals and 83 assists in 100 games.
And my favorite, Jenny Potter, Olympic Winner of Gold in 1998, Silver in 2002 and 2010 and Bronze in 2006. She was the only Mom on the Team in 2010. She has 7 World Championships, 3 Gold and 4 Silver. She has a slew of awards, Best Foward in 1999 in the IIHF World Hockey Championships, Player of the Year in 2000 (WCHA), Led NCAA in scoring in 2000 (41 goals, 53 assists, 93 Points), WCHA Team of the Decade, 2010 USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year and after winning the Clarkston Cup, is now (unofficially) a member of the Triple Gold Club and becomes one of 3 women to have won the Clarkston Cup, a Gold Medal in the Olympics and a Gold Medal at the IIHC Women’s World Hockey Championships. She and her husband currently run a summer training camp called “Potter’s Pure Hockey”.
In a sport dominated by men, it is amazing to know the women in the shadows.
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “You Go Girl!”