It seems like just a short time ago when the winter Olympics added women’s hockey to its roster, but it turns out that was 12 years ago now. Women had already been playing high-level international hockey for years then (and, of course, at the college level for much longer), but the Women’s World Hockey Championship wasn’t covered on television in the United States, so it was really the Olympics that brought women’s hockey to my attention.
As a very mediocre rec league player, I have been such a big fan of the U.S. team. Despite copious evidence of my lack of talent for the game, I identified strongly with the players on that first U.S. Olympic team–if only I had played as a kid, that could have been me out there! It made me so proud of Title IX and the work that feminists had done to carve paths for women athletes. And, of course, the United States won the gold medal!*
So, to see in the news yesterday that two women–the best players each from the early teams for Canada the United States–had been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame was incredibly surprising. It didn’t seem to me that they had been playing long enough to have retired players to nominate! But no one is disputing the incredible talent of these two women, Cammi Granato and Angela James.
It is so unbelievably cool that I live in a time where women are in the Hall of Fame, and I am really looking forward to a time when it’s taken for granted and unworthy of comment. That will be the day.
*Canada won the next two gold medals, as well as 9 out of 12 world championships. Grrrr, Canada!