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Women -- In the Upper Tiers of Hockey?


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#1 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:18 AM

This thread started off as a reply in the Women HoF thread; however, it has massive de-rail potential, so I decided it was worthy of its own thread. Furthermore, a recent Bettman talk indicated hockey is striving for diversity, and you have to wonder if they have these sorts of conversations at the managerial level.

"Women can't play hockey at the NHL level/it would suck/etc"


I'd like to hear a good explanation as to why. Grant you'd, I'd concede a few points off the bat:

1. Men have a general size/strength advantage on women.

2. Male bodies are generally more configured for violent abuse.

3. The unknown variable on how women would affect a predominantly male locker room environment.


Now, having covered those points:

I think, if this ever were to happen, men and women's hockey should be separated in all but the uppermost level (read: AHL & NHL). A dedicated women's hockey league allows for more diversity in women at those levels, where they don't have to compete with the size of men (so, say, a 5'2" woman doesn't have to go up against Zdeno Chara). However, it should be noted that some of the strongest people in the world, as far as size to weight ratio goes, are women. Furthermore, there are women 5'8" and taller, and there are NHL players 5'8" and taller.

I don't see any reason why a woman can't be as mentally as gifted or skilled as a man. In fact, since women on average tend to have higher reflexes than men, you could see some exceptional women goaltenders, for example. Also, why women are less prone to aggression than men, you're kidding yourself if you think there aren't any aggressive women out there. Hell, look at Alex Semin. The only x-factor I can see is point 3, and the ever present sexual tension and interactivity between genders. But honestly, I think a mature society can overcome that (as has been shown in some other sports with mixed gender leagues, or the military, for that matter).

Anyhow, I see no reason why physically well-developed and exceptionally talented women, with the proper size for the NHL, could not compete at the upper echelon of the sport (and frankly, I don't think I'm the only one who gets a good grin out of the thought of some 6'2" woman delivering a brutal open ice check on -insert hated player here-).
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#2 GoalieManPat

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:20 AM

Not to sound like an ass but Ive never seen a woman goaltender skilled enough to play in the NHL

#3 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:22 AM

QUOTE (GoalieManPat @ April 1, 2009 - 08:20AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not to sound like an ass but Ive never seen a woman goaltender skilled enough to play in the NHL


Me neither. Then again, I watch 122314431 times more upper tier (NHL/AHL/a couple euro leagues) hockey than I do women's hockey. Sample size? It's not like you can just walk out on some random street and have a good chance to grab a HoF-worthy goalie, a couple d-men and some forwards. Unless you're in Novi, or something.

Edited by Datsyerberger, 01 April 2009 - 08:23 AM.

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#4 GoalieManPat

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:23 AM

I havnt either but I pretty much say the best female players were in the Olympics so I base my assessment off that.

#5 lnvincible

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:35 AM

QUOTE (GoalieManPat @ April 1, 2009 - 08:23AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I havnt either but I pretty much say the best female players were in the Olympics so I base my assessment off that.


Ok well leave aside goalies what about players?

#6 vladdy16

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:36 AM

Maybe if women received the same attention and training that men do, they would improve their skills. Goaltending is about fearlessness and flexibility, not strength. I see no reason why a woman could not develop into an NHL calibre goalie.
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#7 eva unit zero

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:41 AM

QUOTE (GoalieManPat @ April 1, 2009 - 09:23AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I havnt either but I pretty much say the best female players were in the Olympics so I base my assessment off that.


Cammi Granato was a better player than Tony Granato, and Tony Granato had a fairly successful NHL career. I would think Cammi would have been able to succeed at the NHL level as well.
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#8 uk_redwing

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:47 AM

Im sorry, but no.

If I was playing hockey and went to check a guy then realised it was a woman it would definately feel wrong to even push her.

Sports should stay gender specific, just like public toilets and changing rooms should.

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#9 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:49 AM

QUOTE (eva unit zero @ April 1, 2009 - 08:41AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cammi Granato was a better player than Tony Granato, and Tony Granato had a fairly successful NHL career. I would think Cammi would have been able to succeed at the NHL level as well.


Even if you were to take (on average) 3 women players from the top 10 women's hockey nation's national teams, you would end up with 30 players with possible NHL talent/size. And even if only 1/3 of those made it past the AHL, you'd still have 10 women in hockey, with 1-2 of those with star/upper tier level potential. While it'd be a small start, it'd certainly be a very significant inroad into increased attention to the scouting and training of women's hockey players, and eventually you could end up with a small but significant amount of women hockey players in the NHL--say 5%, which would be around what, 35 players? That's more overall representation than some significant hockey nations have in the NHL.
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#10 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:50 AM

QUOTE (uk_redwing @ April 1, 2009 - 08:47AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If I was playing hockey and went to check a guy then realised it was a woman it would definately feel wrong to even push her.


So the US and UK militaries (for example) shouldn't field women soldiers because their enemies would feel wrong to shoot at them? Wut?
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#11 timothy1997

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:54 AM

i get it...April Fools. HA HA HA!!

Woman, get back in the kitchen and cook something good for dinner. And get me another beer.yowza.gif

Edited by timothy1997, 01 April 2009 - 08:55 AM.


#12 Wombat

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:57 AM

An interesting topic for sure. My opinion is that the best sports league in any particular sport should simply take the best players period. In general, men are better equipped physically to compete in the most physical/athletic games. However, if there is a woman that is good enough to play, let her play! I thought it was fine when Annika Sorenstam played a tourney or two on the men's tour because she earned her way on, proving that she is good enough to compete. Michelle Wie, on the other hand, is there as a sideshow.

Sports leagues should not discriminate by race, nationality, gender, size, hair color or any other attribute besides two: age (it is a workplace so some minimum age requirements should be in place to maintain safety) and skill. If they are skilled enough to play then they should.

That said, I still think we're a long way from seeing a woman play in the NHL. I just have never seen any woman play and thought "she could hang in the NHL." Perhaps one or more will eventually, and I think goalie is a good position to see it. But as someone pointed out, men also tend to get the advantage in coaching/skill development at an early age so the woman's talent will need to be found when she is a girl and honed.

#13 betterREDthandead

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:57 AM

QUOTE (eva unit zero @ April 1, 2009 - 09:41AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cammi Granato was a better player than Tony Granato, and Tony Granato had a fairly successful NHL career. I would think Cammi would have been able to succeed at the NHL level as well.

Cammi Granato played against other women. She was better in that field than Tony was at his, but the comparison is just ludicrous.

I look at basketball. The gulf in athleticism between men and women is so vast that it took six years of WNBA play before a single slam dunk was ever recorded, which caused on-court celebrations, articles marking the occasion, and reflections on previous college women's dunks - the article I read heralds a certain player as having dunked three times in her college career.

Meanwhile, high school boys dunk every day.

That kind of gap in athleticism certainly would translate to hockey as well, and the gap is so wide that I can't help but wonder if this is more an April Fools thread than anything. The only position that's even remotely plausible is goalie.
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#14 skacore

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:58 AM

QUOTE (eva unit zero @ April 1, 2009 - 09:41AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cammi Granato was a better player than Tony Granato, and Tony Granato had a fairly successful NHL career. I would think Cammi would have been able to succeed at the NHL level as well.

he strikes again

#15 Frozen-Man

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:03 AM

I think one thing you touched on in your first two concessions but that deserves more fleshing out is the fact that people in general don't mind near as much seeing a guy take a puck/stick in the face, or bloodied up from a bad check into the boards, or hurt from a cheap hit, or dropping the gloves and punching and getting punched by another guy. I think that this is the dynamic that would keep this from ever working. Take fighting for example (which would cause the most outrage), can you imagine Colton Orr or Jared Boll dropping their gloves, pushing back their sleeves, circling around and then proceeding to punch a woman in the face. In the first place I can't see either of these guys doing that (which would create its own parity because you would have a group that could act without fear of retribution - unless you carried a male and female enforcer which I doubt most GM's would want to do) but if they did I for one, like most people, would not want to watch it. The outrage would be huge and it would be a PR nightmare because of the moral outrage it would create. It seems to me that unless the NHL totally bans fighting bad.gif this alone will keep the NHL from going coed (I guess they could make rules about different genders fighting but that would never work to have some people on the ice that can fight each other and some that cannot). However, for the sake of argument assuming that fighting is not an issue I still think that society as a whole, while not minding seeing this:





will not be ok with the same thing happening to women.

I even think that most people would have a hard time seeing a male NHL player do this to a female:


Edited by Frozen-Man, 01 April 2009 - 09:12 AM.

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#16 GMRwings1983

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:04 AM

QUOTE (uk_redwing @ April 1, 2009 - 08:47AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Im sorry, but no.

If I was playing hockey and went to check a guy then realised it was a woman it would definately feel wrong to even push her.

Sports should stay gender specific, just like public toilets and changing rooms should.


If Kopecky hit her, he'd probably still fall down. laugh.gif

Seriously, though, I agree with what you said, and I think the other players playing against her would feel the same way. Likewise, the guys on the team would feel slightly uncomfortable. This whole thread feels like some April Fool's joke. No chance it happens in our lifetime.
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#17 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:06 AM

QUOTE (betterREDthandead @ April 1, 2009 - 08:57AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cammi Granato played against other women. She was better in that field than Tony was at his, but the comparison is just ludicrous.

I look at basketball. The gulf in athleticism between men and women is so vast that it took six years of WNBA play before a single slam dunk was ever recorded, which caused on-court celebrations, articles marking the occasion, and reflections on previous college women's dunks - the article I read heralds a certain player as having dunked three times in her college career.


That's mostly resultant of inferior training and (of course) a lesser average height. I knew a couple exceptionally tall gals in high school who could dunk on a regular basis. Of course, they were exceptions to the rule.. but then again, so are shorties like Hudler and Gionta, and so are weird style goalies like Hasek.

You're comparing a sport relatively new in its evolution (woman's upper tier basketball) to something that has been around as a mainstay significantly longer (men's upper tier basketball). It would be more appropriate to compare the first 6 years of WNBA to the first 6 years of NBA. While I still expect there to be a dunking discrepancy (due to average height), I still think there are a good handful of women players who have the size to dunk in the NBA.. and out of those, at least a couple have to have upper echelon talent. The remaining x-factor is training.
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#18 Datsyerberger

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:10 AM

QUOTE (Frozen-Man @ April 1, 2009 - 09:03AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
*Snip for length*


If anything, what I would see is something like with exceptional players in the 80s and early 90s.. even a minor hit on them would be a possible cause for retribution (a la Gretzky).

As I do admit, the greatest challenges to overcome are by far societal and gender mentality barriers, and the fact that the NHL is a very physical sport (not something I want to change).
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#19 Wombat

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:13 AM

QUOTE (GMRwings1983 @ April 1, 2009 - 10:04AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If Kopecky hit her, he'd probably still fall down. laugh.gif

Seriously, though, I agree with what you said, and I think the other players playing against her would feel the same way. Likewise, the guys on the team would feel slightly uncomfortable. This whole thread feels like some April Fool's joke. No chance it happens in our lifetime.


It is a valid point. In high school, I played soccer and occasionally, we would play a school that didn't have enough girls to make a separate girls' squad, so we would play a coed team (this happened more at the JV level, I don't remember it at the varsity level). One thing I noticed is that the women would tend to play more aggressively, and I recall stealing and clearing a ball from a girl's bad dribble, and she just followed through and shoved me. I was surprised as I was never shoved by a guy in a similar situation all through high school.

the point: perhaps what you, UK, and FrozenMan all stated is true. Men would have a hard time playing women as "honestly" as they play other guys, and perhaps women would be emboldened to take additional liberties knowing that they won't get pounded by an enforcer. In general I think that if you can play in the league, the other players need to treat that player like all others. Still it would take some time for those social mores to change, even in high level sports.

#20 uk_redwing

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:17 AM

QUOTE (Datsyerberger @ April 1, 2009 - 02:50PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So the US and UK militaries (for example) shouldn't field women soldiers because their enemies would feel wrong to shoot at them? Wut?


If I was a solider and I killed a female in fighting Id feel pretty s*** tbh...

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