women's hockey history

Isobel Stanley (pictured in white), daughter of the same Lord Stanley who created the Stanley Cup, was key in popularizing women’s hockey. In 1899, she participated in one of the first games of women’s hockey at Rideau Skating Rink. Her legacy lives on with the Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award, given to the active player whose values, leadership, and personal traits are representative of all female athletes.

Classmates... Perhaps more?

Bitty sat in his study cubical staring at the sheet of paper before him. His excitement bubbled up inside only managing to leak out in the form of a small squeak of joy. He wasn’t sure if it was the chocolate pecan pie he’d left for the history department or the pumpkin sticky buns he’d dropped off for the folks in registration but somehow he had succeeding in getting into HIST376 aka Women, Food, and American Culture. It was a senior history lecture but the moment he had learned about the existence of the class Bitt was bound and determined to get in. His giggle of excitement drew the attention of the cutie in the cubical across from Bitty.

The dark haired young man who was clearly a few years older than the hockey player eyed him for a moment or two with a gaze like ice for a few minutes before returning to the stacks of history books that surrounded up. They had spent all semester sharing glances over the divider between them but never exchanging words. Without another sound, Bitty gathered his stuff now far too excited to continue studying for his finals.

Winter break flew by and before he knew it the first day of spring semester had finally arrived. Bitty wandered into his classroom and skidded to a halt. The cutie from the library was sitting next to an open seat. The blonde’s heart began to race. He’d spent the entire fall semester doodling those piercing blue eyes and that cute smile. He was a little on the heavy side but still handsome. Bitty knew he was tall, oh so tall, with a charming smile and just a little bit of scruff. His red plaid flannel framed his wide shoulders like a dream. He quickly made his way toward the front where the young man was seated but the empty seat was intercepted by a redhead girl from the swim team. He swore in his mind before sinking into an open seat a few rows back.

Despite not sitting next to Blue eyes, Bitty was going to enjoy this class. The professor came in and they quickly got through first day drabble that no one even listens to. Eventually they got to the first lecture… Food and its importance in culture. As class ended Bitty made up his mind to get there early next class to make sure he would sit next to Blue eyes. Pushing up his sweater sleeve his soulmark peeked out. The tight blocky writing danced across his forearm. Oh, the history, definitely. He sighed and pushed his sleeve back down as he hurried to his next class. He tried not to think about his soulmate or what would happen when he finally found them.

Jack had spotted the cute blonde from the library as he came in the classroom. His heart had skipped a beat. Perhaps he’d sit down, perhaps they’d flirt, perhaps he’d have the courage to ask the hockey hottie out, or perhaps that annoying redhead from the swim team, that had been pestering him for a date, would sit down in the empty chair next to him. Jack swore under his breath and did his best to ignore her during the lecture. The short blonde was gone before Jack could even gather his things at the end of class. Once again he swore under his breath and pushed past the annoying girl.

A smile bloomed on Jack’s face as he entered the classroom a few days later. The blonde hockey player was already seated where the ginger annoyance had been the week before. Jack scratched at his right wrist where the familiar messy scrawl danced across the skin. He didn’t think much about his soulmate but he knew they were out there somewhere and it was only a matter of time before he would find them.

“Jack, please just think about it. I really wish you would go with me to…” Jack’s glare was enough to shut the girl up.

“Amy, please stop asking. No.”

He turned his back to her and made his way to the seat, his seat next to the blonde, muttering the entire way there. His backpack hit the floor with a thump as he sank into his seat. Jack’s shoulders slumped and he sighed shaking his head slowly.

“You come here for the food or the history?”

The words rang out in his ears clear as day in a southern drawl. His hands shook slightly as he turned to look at the short hockey player next to him. Eyes like hazelnut gazed back at him with a bright smile lingering below them.

“Oh the history, definitely.”  

Although bodychecking was officially banned in the 1994 World Championship tournament, after being checked into the boards, Hayley Wickenheiser yelled at coach Shannon Miller, “I thought there was no fucking bodychecking!”  Miller’s response was to laugh and tell her to “go out and hit somebody.”

(Jeff Vinnick/Hockey Canada)

Riikka Välilä (née Nieminen) from Finland was the leading scorer of the 1998 Nagano Olympics.  In six games played she was 7-5-12 on 25 shots with a +14.  

Välilä, who retired from hockey in 2003, un-retired in 2013 and will be returning to the Olympics in Sochi in 2014 as a forward for Team Finland.

(Photo: Gerry Thomas)