In the beginning, there was ice.
Then somebody got the bright idea to strap sharp metal blades to the bottom of people’s boots, place a bent stick in their hands, and a round rubber disk on the ice. Then those people glided across the ice chasing the rubber disk. Okay, that may not be exactly how the game of hockey got started, but you get the idea.
Now flash forward to the first time women’s hockey was played at the Olympic Winter Games – 1998 in Nagano, Japan. The United States won the gold medal, with Canada claiming silver and Finland taking bronze. Canada has won the gold medal at three subsequent Olympic Winter Games – 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah; 2006 in Torino, Italy, and of course most recently, 2010 in Vancouver, B.C.
What has all of this growth, since Lady Isobel Stanley playing outside of Rideau Hall right here in Ottawa, to the women’s world championship coming back to the nation’s capital this week, meant for women’s hockey across our country?
In 1990, there were about 9,000 women of all ages playing hockey in Canada. Now, there are more than 86,000 girls registered to play the great Canadian game.
Once upon a time, the best chance a girl had of playing hockey at a competitive level was to join a boys’ team. Now, there are a number of competitive women’s organizations across Canada, producing some of the best hockey players in the country. Just check out what’s happening right now in Ottawa to see for yourself!
The host hockey association for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship is the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), the largest women’s hockey association in the world.
There is a rich resource of material on women’s hockey available on the Internet, from the International Ice Hockey Federation to the Hockey Hall of Fame websites, and of course, you can always stop by www.HockeyCanada.ca to learn more about women’s hockey, from the very beginning to a still unfolding future.