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Ed Belfour makes a kick-save during Game 4 of the Campbell Conference Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers on May 22, 1992. The fiery goaltender known as “The Eagle” won the 1991 Calder Trophy and went on to become a two-time Vezina Trophy-winner who posted 484 wins — third all-time — including 76 shutouts during his 17-year career. The Hall of Fame goalie, who backstopped the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup victory in 1999, turned 50 years old today. (Richard Mackson/SI)

Women’s Hockey vs. Men’s Hockey

I’ve heard this come up a lot with talk about the NWHL and that women’s hockey is not as good as men’s. The problem with saying women’s hockey isn’t as good as men’s hockey is that it’s not an even playing field. At all. Boys have everything rooting for them. They can play competitive, get a scholarship and go pro if they’re good enough. It can be a career for them. For girls it’s seen as a hobby. Once you get through high school there are scholarships for both sure, but after college or university, the boys at least the opportunity to try and make hockey their career. For women, there is no money in it. Even at the highest level and they have to provide their own equipment. And now, while the NWHL will pay the players and provide equipment (which I think is awesome and a huge step for women’s hockey) it’s still not anywhere close to a living wage. The salary minimum is $10,000, and the highest payed player, Kelli Stack, is only getting paid $25,000. In comparison, the minimum salary for the NHL is $575,000, double the Boston Pride’s entire salary cap.

So when people say “why aren’t there as many female players if they’re just as good?” It’s because there is no future in hockey for them. They can’t afford to play the sport and pay the bills at the same time. Until now, or, slightly off in the future when they get living wages for playing.

Also, to put the skill levels of the players into perspective. The women of the NWHL have practices at 10:00 PM at night twice a week. Plus day jobs. Do people really expect them to be as good as NHL players who train nearly everyday and have access to an enormous amount of resources? Janine Weber was asked to give her stick to the hockey hall of fame, but she almost didn’t because she couldn’t afford another.

Would that ever happen to an NHL player? So the argument over which is better, and really it shouldn’t matter because both play beautiful hockey, has to wait until women’s hockey is given the same chance to shine. Judging by the NHL’s treatment of the CWHL, that wasn’t going to change, hopefully the NWHL can be more successful and show people just how great women’s hockey is, with players actually getting paid for their efforts.  

Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom plays the puck against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 17, 2008 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Monday, with Lidstrom headlining the seven people making up the class. Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy seven times over his 20-year-career, which was entirely spent with Detroit. The 12-time All-Star won the Stanley Cup four times and recorded 1,142 career points. (David E. Klutho for SI)

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The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2015 has been selected. We have former Detroit Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Federov, Chris Pronger, Phil Housley, Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr, 4 time olympic medalist Angela Ruggerio, and Blackhawks old timer Bill Hay.

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The national anthem heard at Madison Square Garden in Miracle is performed by Lauren Hart, who began singing the anthem on a regular basis at Philadelphia Flyers home games in 1997. Hart is also the daughter of late NHL Hall of Fame announcer Gene Hart, who broadcast for the Flyers from 1967-1995.