In 1915, Canadian Nellie McClung fought for a woman’s right to vote. 99 years later, I’d like someone to fight for televised women’s NHL hockey. As I stood there watching the female hockey teams battle it out for the gold last week (the game was so amazing I could not sit down) in what I can only assume was one of the best hockey games ever played at the Winter Games, I was overcome by two thoughts — this is AMAZING and why the hell can’t we see this more often? It is nothing short of archaic that in 2014 these superb female, NHL worthy, athletes aren’t in a professional televised league. Unless the general public isn’t interested in watching passionate, physical and intense games? A doubtful conclusion considering every bar and household in Canada erupted when the Women’s Canadian Hockey team won gold against the equally excellent American team.
So what’s the hold up NHL? People don’t want to watch girls play sports? Is that excuse still valid? The desire to inspire a younger generation of female athletes isn’t strong enough? Seriously, it’s time for an answer. The greatest attempt the NHL has made to incorporate female players into their organization is by including Canadian Hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser and American defenceman Angela Ruggiero as avatars in a video game. Could there be anything less passive than a video game?
It’s all getting a bit old wouldn’t you say guys?
I’m not suggesting women and men play on the same team, but I think that concept works extremely well for boys and girls just starting out in the game. Although many of those women on the Olympic teams could skate alongside anyone one of those million dollar paid male hockey stars, I’m personally not interested in seeing a female athlete crushed up against the boards by a man. And I could only assume most male athletes wouldn’t want to do that either. What I want to see is a full female hockey league — a league of inspired and incredible athletes that are already out there and who, right now, are not being used to their full potential. I want my two daughters to see female athletes on television and not just in the odd tennis match. The time is now to inspire girls to see the potential of professional sport.
Of course the standard argument that’s been used for too many years is that the money isn’t there. If something isn’t financially profitable for owners and advertisers then it’s pointless. Which truthfully has become nothing short of a pointless argument I would bet money on it that most restaurants and bars that aired the Gold Women’s Hockey game would say they had quite a successful and profitable day.
In fact, NHL, my guess is that you’re going to start losing viewers and fans if you keep on this in-your-face inequality in your game. The world is waiting for a female hockey league and my guess is that the public will be quick to buy in with not just their enthusiasm but with their money as well. I know I will.
Image via CTV.com
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