So, Here it is: The completed paper!
Before you start reading here are a couple facts about my paper: This paper counts as 30% of my overall English grade, this paper has taken the whole second semester to write, I got to interview Manon Rheaume (if you don't know who she is, she was the first female to play a game in the NHL), and I incorporated feedback that i got from hockey fans on an earlier fanpost (if you would like to read the responses, you can go back a couple posts and find it.)
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in any way, shape, or form to complete this paper. I hope you enjoy reading my paper!
Thank you so much,
Meridian McDaniel (lostinthecrowd)
So finally, here it is:
When Will Woman Be Joining the Major Leagues?
For men, the sport of ice hockey started to pick up popularity in the 1800’s. For women, the sport had not gained popularity until the last ten years. The International Olympic committee approved Women’s Ice Hockey as an official Winter Olympic sport in 1992 and was first played as an Olympic sport in 1998 ("Ice Hockey Equipment and History"). However, women being involved in the NHL, National Hockey League, has only happened a few times in the history of the NHL. Women should be permitted to play in the NHL along side men or have an equal league.
Women are often questioned about their athletic capabilities and skills. For instance, if women were to play with men, they would have to have the skills and capabilities that the teams are looking for. Women trying out for the team would have to pass all of the tests and trials the teams put their potential members through. Women would have to pass the extensive and grueling fitness tests that demands a player to meet certain requirements of strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, and aerobic fitness ("Fitness Testing for Hockey"). One member of St. Louis Gametime, an online St. Louis Blues news and opinion website, believes, "It’s a profession… If a woman has prolonged training …so long as she is prepared to deal with being a media target, and a target for males in the profession who decide to test her mental and physical toughness, then she should certainly be allowed to play" ("Hockey Research Paper"). Women with the extensive training would definitely have to be fit enough to pass the yearly fitness test and make it through training camp. When trying out for a NHL team she would also have to be prepared for everything playing in the NHL would entail. Women have proven that they are physically capable and should be able to tryout for the same programs that the men currently are now and be compensated equally.
Women that are questioned about athletic ability are often only allowed to play in a certain position. In this case; the goalie. There are fewer injuries, in the NHL, to goalies than to forwards and defenseman ("NHL Injuries"). A study by four doctors from the American Sports Medicine Institute found that, "Goaltenders were not at higher risk when measuring injuries per hours played but were at significantly greater risk of an intra-articular hip injury than other on-ice… when measured per game played" (Epstein). A great number of people dislike only allowing someone to play in a certain position, another hockey fan stated, "This defeats the point to me. It’s like saying race X can vote but have to drink at different water fountains"("Hockey Research Paper"). This fan believes along with a large amount of people, that there should not be a position restriction on women who would play in the NHL. Even though there are fewer risks for to the goalie’s health during the game, this would be wrong to do to a player just because og f gender.
The health risks for a female player are similar to a male player. Women are generally smaller in height and weight than men. When Hayley Wickenheiser, a female hockey player who plays with men in a European hockey league, was interviewed for ESPN’s article about women on the ice, she said, "The way the game is now, there's less hooking and holding. There are more headshots. You take a female body getting hit like that, by somebody 60 to 70 pounds heavier, it's a pretty dangerous situation" (Wakiji). Other health related issues include concussion rates in women and men, the disorders of the menstrual cycle, and general hockey injuries. Some of medical issues are complex and some are straightforward.
The straightforward medical concerns of most athletes are concussions and general injuries. The concussion rates are becoming a higher sports injury than any other injury in contact sports, for males and females (Women's Sports Foundation). All leagues in all contact sports are making rules to protect their players from being concussed and injured. The general injuries are those such as various sprains, tears, pulls, and broken bones. Injuries are a common reoccurrence that usually happen at one point or another in an athlete’s career. A complex and misunderstood medical issue is about the menstrual cycle. There is a journal article in the Biological Rhythm Research about the menstrual cycle and its effects on female ice hockey players and female figure skaters. The experiment preformed on the women found that the menstrual cycle had scarcely effected by the physical activity of ice hockey on the women (Egan). The general injuries and concussions happen in most athletic events at some point, whether they happen to a female or a male.
The international tennis organizations are leading the way for sports gender equality and the NHL should follow in their footsteps. At the Grand Slam tournament in Wimbledon, the singles men and women’s champions both receive the same amount of prize money. The only difference between men and women in tennis at the Grand Slams it that men play the best of five sets and women play the best of three sets, although more and more female players want to switch to playing best of five. While in smaller tournaments, both men and women’s matches are best of three ("Wimbledon 2013: Tennis leading way in battle for gender equality"). Another type of tennis team is a mixed doubles team, in which a man and woman play together ("Doubles Tennis Rules and Guidelines"). Even though tennis is not completely equal for men and women, tennis is leading the way for gender equality in sports and should be model for all sports organizations to follow.
Like international tennis programs, women playing hockey should be able to at least have a league equal to the NHL on a professional level but only with women instead of a mixed co-ed league. Now, there is no equality in ice hockey except for the Olympics, which still are not completely gender equal. Ice hockey in the Olympics is similar to what an equal league should look like. Ice hockey in the Olympics is played on European style ice with most of the same rules as the women; the only difference between the women and men’s Olympic ice hockey rules is that there is no checking in women’s hockey ("By comparison: NHL vs. Olympic hockey rinks"). When asked about her view on the idea of an equivalent league to the NHL, Manon Rhéaume said, "I think they should create a WNHL for a place for the women to play after they are done with college and has they train for the Olympics" (Rhéaume). Like Haley Wickenheiser, Rhéaume believes that compromise could be made to have an equal league for women.
Contrary to popular belief, the NHL has no rule against women playing in the league. The official rulebook states, "A team shall be composed of 20 players (18 skaters and two goalkeepers) who shall be under contract to the Club they represent"(National Hockey League Official Rules 2013/2014). The NHL has had multiple female players play or practice on multiple teams before. In Tampa Bay in 1992, Manon Rhéaume became the first female player to ever play in a NHL game. She played in the position of the Tampa Bay goalie against the St. Louis Blues, stopping all pucks except for two. She also played in an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins. (Wakiji). A more current example was in Edmonton, Canada where gold medalist goalie Shannon Szabados practiced with the Edmonton Oilers in a practice (Dadoun). The NHL rulebook never mentions anything the gender of the players; it is about having so many players on your roster.
If the owners would reject the idea of female players, another alternative could be created, such as a co-ed league. There are multiple leagues around the world that are co-ed and have special rules. For example the Vancouver Adult Co-ed Hockey League has specific rules in fighting and/or an attempt to injure, any fighting or attempt to injure will result in a penalty with a game misconduct along with a minimum 3 games suspension, which depends on how severe the incident was, which are strictly enforced ("Vancouver Adult Co-ed Hockey League"). The leagues that people propose would have strict rules, such as the example above, and would work as the NHL and NHL schedule would. If an equal woman’s league were to be created, there could be "brother" and "sister" teams in which the two would combine and face other "brother" and "sister" from the NHL and proposed women’s equivalent. Women could potentially play with men professionally in a co-ed league where the rules are changed to where there is minimal contact in regards to checking.
Women have played with men in the NHL many times before, such as Manon Rhéaume playing with Tampa in preseason exhibition games in the 1990’s, and Haley Wickenheiser playing in European leagues, have both proved that women have what it takes to play in the NHL (Wakiji). Women are being held back because of hesitant team owners, coaches, and players who are afraid of what women in the NHL might do to their team’s ratings or image. Women have proven themselves to the world time and time again that they have the skill and it is time that women get their shot in the NHL. There are plenty of skilled women and it is a waste for their talent to go to waster after college. In 2014, the USA women’s hockey team finished better than the men’s team, winning a silver metal while them men place fourth can came home without a metal (Golen). Women placing better than the men in the Olympics proves that women have what it takes to compete with men.
The women’s leagues have made checking illegal; it is mostly a game of skill, which proves the point that women are more than ready to play in the big leagues. Men have the chance to go onto play in multiple leagues and women basically only have the chance to go onto play the Olympics later in their lives. Rhéaume believes that, "I think they should create a WNHL for a place for the women to play after they are done with college and has they train for the Olympics" (Rhéaume). Women should at least have the opportunity to have a place to play after coming out of college and have a chance to create a career out of something they are skilled at. As Amelia Earhart said, ""Please know I'm quite aware of the hazards," she says. "I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failures must be but a challenge to others" (Nudd).
"By comparison: NHL vs. Olympic hockey rinks." - latimes.com. N.p., 2 Feb. 2010.
Web. 19 Apr. 2014. .
Dadoun, Ryan. "Gold Medal Goalie Shannon Szabados Signs with Men’s Pro
Team."NBCSports. NBC Sport, 8 Mar. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
"Doubles Tennis Rules and Guidelines.." http://www.tennistips.org/. TennisTips.org, n.d.
Web. 24 Apr. 2014. .
Egan, E., et al. "Disorders of the Menstrual Cycle in Elite Female Ice Hockey Players and
Figure Skaters."Biological Rhythm Research 34.3 (2003): 251-64. Ebscohost. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Epstein, DM, et al. "Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S.
National Library of Medicine, 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. .
"Fitness Testing for Hockey." Hockey Fitness Testing. Topend Sports Network, n.d. Web. 7
May 2014. .
Golen, Jimmy. "A Day Later, US Women's Ice Hockey Deals with Silver
Medal."MercuryNews.com. San Jose Mercury News, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Mar.
"Hockey Research Paper!" St. Louis Game Time. Vox Media, Inc., 28 Mar. 2014. Web.
14 Apr. 2014. .
"Ice Hockey Equipment and History." Equipment and History.N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr.
Rheaume, Manon. "Women In the NHL." E-mail interview. 25 Apr. 2014.
National Hockey League Official Rules 2013/2014. Toronto, Ontario: National Hockey
League, 2013. PDF.
"NHL Injuries." CBSSports.com. CBS, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
Nudd, Tim . "Visa Soars Into the Winter Olympics With Sarah Hendrickson and Amelia
Earhart." AdWeek. Adweek, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. .
"Vancouver Adult Co-ed Hockey League." Vancouver Adult Co-ed Hockey League.
Vancouver Adult Co-ed Hockey League, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
Wakiji, Dana. "WOMEN IN THE NHL: AN IDEA ON ICE." espn.go.com.
ESPN, 13 May 2011. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.
"Wimbledon 2013: Tennis leading way in battle for gender equality." London24. Archant
Community Media Ltd., 24 June 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
"Women's Sports Foundation." Women's Sports Foundation. Women’s Sports
Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. .