I remember when I was young I was watching a Canadiens game with my dad and I remember asking him “Are there any girls in the NHL?” and right away he gave the obvious answer of no. Being a little kid you ask all kinds of questions and I remember asking him “but what if the girl was really good at hockey, just as good as the boys or better, then can she play?” and his answer was still “No.” My dad wasn't meaning to be rude or sexist he just hadn't heard of any girls playing on an elite male team. So this is for the girls out there who might have been like me and thought girls can't play boys hockey, here are 4 cases of women who have played on male professional teams and totally dominated!
1. Manon Rhéaume It's only fair that we start with Manon as she was the first female player to play on a major junior team, try out for an NHL team, and the first to play in a regular season professional game. For the 1991-1992 season Rhéaume played for the Trois Rivières Draveurs in the QMJHL. Then in 1992 she tried out for the Tampa Bay lightning and was signed as a free agent. She appeared in one period of an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues, and then played in another exhibition game the following year. Being the first women to play in an NHL exhibition game also meant she was the first women to play in any game of the major sports leagues. During the 1992 season she played for the Atlanta Knights, who at the time were the Lightnings farm team. For five years she played for seven different teams appearing in net a total of 24 times. Last year she dropped the puck before the first ever game of the NWHL. For being the first women to play in a male professional league she sure made it sound easy and because of this a couple other ladies followed in her footsteps.
2. Hayley Wickenheiser
Hayley is considered one of the best female hockey players in the world and definitely for a good reason. One of her greatest accomplishments has got to be the fact that she was the first female to score a goal while playing in a professional men's league. Hayley played for the Kirkkonummi Salamat in Finland's Suomi-Sarja league which is the third highest league. She recorded 12 points, 2 goals and 10 assists in her 23 games with the team. Although it seems like it was easy for her to get to professional hockey it wasn't, she was originally suppose to play in Italy before their hockey federation ruled women as ineligible to play. In 2007, Hayley tried out and practiced with a Swedish team, scoring two goals in one game but was not signed to a contract. But hey still just being the first female to score is a pretty amazing title to have.
3. Hilary Knight and Danielle Dube These two ladies don't quite have the titles like the two above but still did some great things for female hockey. In 2003, Danielle became the third female to start in goal for a men's professional team. She played in relief of the Long Beach Ice Dog's when their starting goalie got pulled. She stopped 12 of the 13 shots she faced. Hilary is one of the more recent females in male hockey. In 2014, Hilary pulled on a Anaheim Ducks Jersey and practiced with the Ducks for World Girls Ice Hockey week. Although its not 100% she is considered to be the first female non-goalie to practice with an NHL team. Other than her long pony tail and diamond earrings she could have easily been mistaken for just one of the guys.
4. Shannon Szabados
Finally, last but not least one of my favourite hockey players. I'm just going to start off and say if you ever want to really get inspired to play boys hockey just go google Shannon, cause she's amazing. So to start off Shannon started being the first girl playing boys when she was just 9 years old, being the first girl to compete in the Brick Super Novice Tournament held at the West Edmonton mall. Then at 15 she was the first female to play in a Calgary Midget AAA tournament. She was a freshman in high school and was already dominating in boys hockey. When she was just 16 she suited up and became the first female to play in an WHL game. Just to give an idea of who she was competing against, she shared goal for an exhibition game with Carey Price. During Price's half he let in 4 goals, Shannon let in 2 plus one in overtime. She played for four games in the WHL before she was released back down to the AJHL. But this wasn't until she had to wait for the leagues board to come to the decision to let females play. While playing in the AJHL Shannon earned a whole list of accomplishments.
Her first game she recorded a shutout, to win the game for the Sherwood Park Crusaders
Played for 2004 Allstar Team and was co-MVP of the game.
Received co-MVP for her team at the end of the season with the Crusaders
Helped the Fort Saskatchewan Traders to a top record and fell one game short of the league championship.
Named to the 2007 AJHL Allstar team
2007 AJHL Top Goaltender Award
I can guarantee you that there is very few male goalies who have accomplished this list. Since Shannon had played in the WHL she was ineligible to play for an NCAA team which is usually the route that many female players take. It was never a thought in her mind to play for a women's team instead she went on to play for the men's team at Grant MacEwan university. She played with the team for two seasons, helping to win a silver medal. Then in 2011 she transferred to Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. That season she broke league records for 5 shutouts and a 1.87 goals against average which eventually helped to win an ACAC championship.
In 2010, Shannon was almost signed to a contract with the Edmonton Oilers to be their back up goalie when the started fell sick. The Oilers did not go through with it and instead signed a Calgary Dino goalie instead. A similar situation also occured in 2014 but again the Oilers did not pull through, but the following day Shannon was invited to practice with the team while they waited for their newly traded goalie to show up. It was then on March 7, 2014 Shannon had officially signed with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the SPHL, to become the first women to play in that league. She won her first game with the cottonmouths on March 15. In 2015 she earned her first shut out. Both of these were the first time a women had done so in this league. Earlier this season Shannon got traded to the Peoria Riverman. Other than playing for Canada's women team never once has Shannon played for a womens team, proving that girls can play boys hockey.
One thing that all these amazing ladies have in common is that they never took no for an answer. They were criticized and told they wouldn't make it in male hockey but each of these women proved the doubters wrong. So to the girls who were taught to believe girls don't play boys hockey, oh my were we ever mine. Don't let people tell you, you can't do something. Go out there and play like a girl cause being a girl is awesome! #PlayLikeAGirl