After a weekend of spirited discussion about the women’s game, there was
one key take away for Amy Walsh.
“I’m not alone.”
The executive director of Hockey Nova Scotia was a contributor to the
National Female Hockey Forum and panellist for the Women’s Hockey Summit,
both features of Hockey Canada’s 2021 Spring Congress, which took place
virtually from May 6-9. She said both events were inspiring but also an
honest look at the state of women’s hockey. Much of the discussion focused
on the obstacles still faced in the game and potential ways to overcome
“Just statements aren’t enough and talk is not enough. I think it needs to
be action and potentially some bold action,” Walsh says. “[Those actions]
need to be intentional. Women need to be asked, women need to be sponsored,
there needs to be seats at the table.”
“I really hope people will go out there and take action, impact their
pieces of society but the reality is slow evolution of change,” says
Stephanie White, chair of the Hockey Canada Female Hockey Policy Committee,
which hosted the two events. White added this forum was just the first of
many more discussions to come.
“This is not something that we’ve solved the problem with one weekend so we
will need to continue this work and continue to education and continue to
grow so that we can actually grow the game.”
The National Female Hockey Forum brought together nearly 200 delegates from
Hockey Canada and its Members. Barry Reynard, a Hockey Canada director,
sits on the policy committee with White and is also part of the Female
Canadian Development Model task team. He said one goal of the weekend was
getting hockey governance, athletes and administrators to the same table.
“We’ve never brought those people and those minds together,” Reynard says.
“I think that this is one of the outcomes of [these events] … the good work
of the committees is very close to some very powerful opportunities.”
One of those opportunities lies with Hockey Canada’s renewed commitment to
equity, diversity and inclusion; ensuring new voices and varied experiences
are sought out and welcomed. Walsh said there were signs of this during the
Women’s Hockey Summit, with panellists of different hockey backgrounds
discussing women’s leadership opportunities and growing the game. They also
answered questions from more than 600 people in the virtual audience.
“It was a good first step and an eye-opening experience for some of the
participants,” Walsh says.
“In a way, I think we challenged some people. I think there was some good
learning for a variety of people so I hope that people have gone away
themselves ready to take action in whatever way they can,” White adds.
Hockey Canada is taking action to empower those in the women’s game through
the Pond to Podium development series. The first set of webinars was hosted
by Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion Tessa Bonhomme. Pond
to Podium gives grassroots players access to the coaches, players and
administrators of Canada’s National Women’s Team.
For more information on the Pond to Podium development series, please visit