I bet you didn’t know that women have been playing ice
hockey nearly as long as men the first recorded women’s hockey game was played in
eighteen eighty nine in ottawa women’s hockey league’s thrived in
canada through the nineteen thirties after world war two interest in the woman’s
game declined through the nineteen sixties today ice hockey is one of the fastest
growing women’s sports with the number of participants increasing three
hundred fifty percent in the last ten years while they are not as many organized leagues for women as there are for men there exist leagues on all levels one such league is the canadian women’s
hockey league which is one of two major ice hockey league’s in canada the league was founded in two thousand and seven
and currently has six ice hockey teams three in ontario one in quebec one in
alberta and one in boston massachusetts someone who knows about women’s hockey is the coach
of the chelmsford high school girls hockey team lenny rowe a few of the players on the boston blades played
for him coach rowe explains how he began
coaching the girl’s team well I had three daughters and they all went into figure skating and the figure skating organization asked the middle one
not to return because she was disruptive maybe she should take speed skating so instead of speed skating she wanted to go into hockey so she went into hockey at six years old and here we are the youngest one followed her as a goalie
and the older one transferred from figure skating to hockey as a defenseman and where are they today well one has worked for the bruins the oldest one she played a year at uh… southern maine and then three years at U. Mass. Amherst good for her yeah the middle one four years at St. A’s she was a captain up there and the youngest one is now at UNH
she’s not playing hockey she’s playing rugby coach tell us about some of the
recent successes or challenges of this particular girls ice hockey team this team is probably the most skilled team
we’ve had over the twelve years existence of this team is
that how long you’ve been coaching twelve years yeah we started it twelve years
ago what is your goal of coaching the girls well
actually my goal has always been to coach ’em until uh… female a qualified female shows up
and says let’s take this over because i don’t really believe that the girls should
learn it a male should have to run this it should be run by females and right now as an assistant coach i have my
daughter sam my middle daughter and she’s the JV coach maybe she will maybe somebody else will but it really should be run by female coaches how do you help
the girls or do you help the girls get into college programs to continue their hockey playing years if they tell me uh what colleges they’re
interested in we’ll call up the coaches and they’ll come watch or we’ll send them you know information and and it seems like uh… when you start
winning like we were six and 0 at one point you see the
college coaches there we’ve already had i’ve seen two in the audience one’s already
contacted me and to talk about different people interesting to see two sets of sisters playing
hockey on your team at the varsity level how much do you think that helps the girls team that you have sisters who know each other well well the kender’s it’s like really not having
sisters it’s like having one player you know they they both think the same they’re both very very dedicated it’s hard to explain but working with them
is like working with one person pretty much
you know even though one’s a forward and one’s a D it’s uh… so that’s not that way but we’ve had sisters in the past and i think it helps i mean when my youngest came in my middle one was still
on the team and uh she helped her through it i’cause I notice when freshman uh… first
join the team they have a tendency to be a little behind or
lost only because of the maturity level maybe uh
maybe the confusion of all of the new excitement new information but they always seem to be a step behind so
we try to assign if we get a freshman on a team we try to assign
a senior to the freshmen and when it’s sisters it’s even better what do you attribute your success here to that’s a tough question i know we don’t treat ’em like girls we
treat ’em like hockey players we have difficult practices we uh through clinics all
summer and we have all age groups through the summer and we skate ’em hard they seem to like it and uh that’s one thing also we’ll bring in younger players and we’ll work
with ’em with the with the theory of them being as a junior as a senior getting a lot of
ice time but maybe as a freshman sophomore not getting that much ice and uh… and that helps because they
learn the systems and they learn what we’re trying to accomplish and by the time they are
seniors they’re usually a pretty dominant player do you foresee in our futures
seeing women play hockey at a professional level that would be difficult because the
strength level and the quickness level is difficult uh… as a goalie uh you know that’s
happened there’s been professional goalies as a player it’d be tough ’cause you could have
the most skilled a female player then they go out and play with the boys and they get knocked
around uh… and it doesn’t take long before they get hurt what about though the lack of checking do you think
that detracts from the game or adds to the game I like the game with checking I like first man on the body second man on the puck that’s
all fun stuff but you know these are still women they’re young girls you know you
don’t want ’em out there mashing each other and the girls game is a more of a finesse game you know they’ve got a they just can’t go in and knock somebody down and
take the puck away they’ve got to finesse the puck away they’ve got to get good angles
they’ve got to have real good skating abilities you know so personally I like the boy’s game but
i don’t think it’s they’re different and the the girls game is more of a european-style of skating and passing where the the boys’ game is more of
a muck it up this excerpt is brought to you by the massachusetts
school of law

Ice Hockey: One Of The Fastest Growing Women’s Sports.
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