Women’s ice hockey: Pioneers building a sport for the future

When you think of the leading women in hockey, names like Manon Rhéaume, Hilary Knight, and Marie-Philip Poulin come to mind.

That’s right. It is women like them who have paved the way for women in the sport of hockey, bringing women’s representation to the forefront.

It’s always important to reflect on the past, but what about the future? There are a number of young, budding stars in the world of women’s ice hockey who have just scratched the surface to help develop the game.

Fans had the privilege of seeing these players last month at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where Canada and the United States are vying for the gold medal. For two weeks, women’s hockey was in the national spotlight.

But that’s not enough. It shouldn’t just be every four years that the game is highlighted on the women’s side. Women deserve as much credit as men for building sports for future participation around the world.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the brightest stars in women’s ice hockey.

Sarah Nurse

Sarah Nurse was instrumental in Team Canada’s gold medal earned at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The 27-year-old forward made a name for himself by breaking record for most points (18) and assists (13) at a single Olympics, both records were previously held by former Canadian star Hayley Wickenheiser.

A native of Hamilton, Ontario. not only in the spotlight to highlight women in hockey but also black women in sports.

There is no denying that hockey is a sport dominated by white men. So not only women are the talk of the Olympics, but also black women, certainly helping to expand the game to reach a wider audience. Nurses have spoken widely about how much representation problem in the game of hockey and how she hopes to become a role model for young girls of all backgrounds.

“As we said again, representation is very important. I go back 20 years, the 2022 team won in Salt Lake City and I had to watch it. That’s where my dream started and I really hope we can be like that. , that I could be that, to some of the young girls out there watching over us.”

The nurse is also part of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) and recently said the group expects return of professional women’s hockey to Canada next year. She followed in the footsteps of her predecessors like Angela Davis to become the new face of black women in hockey.

Abby Roque

Nurses aren’t the only players to make history in representation at the Olympics.

Abby Roque becomes first smart woman to play on the United States women’s Olympic hockey team. The 24-year-old is a member of the Wahnapitae First Nation, which is part of the Ojibwe First Nation based in northern Ontario.

He grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., where she attends powwows and skates at an rink owned by a local tribe. He was surrounded by other Native American kids and it wasn’t until he went to college in Wisconsin that he realized how rare it is to be a Native American in the United States, let alone just a game of hockey.

With Roque having an international platform at the Olympics, she wants to use it to spread awareness of her culture, as well as the representation of women in sport. He talked about it in an episode NBC’s My New Favorite Olympian.

“I think it’s a big thing just making sure that everyone knows that there’s a place in sport for (women) and that they shouldn’t be bullied. If you’re good enough to play with boys, play with boys. . And even if they don’t think you’re good enough to play with them, show them, plain and simple.”

He continued to be a trailblazer for Indigenous hockey players, joining the likes of Jocelyne Larocque of Team Canada as one of the faces for the younger Native Americans in hockey.

Alina Mueller

When it comes to women’s ice hockey, Canada and the United States top the list and then a big drop for everyone else.

But the gap is getting closer and one of the countries that is emerging as a leading country for women’s hockey is Switzerland. Thanks in large part to Alina Müller.

The 23-year-old has quickly risen to become not only the best Swiss player, but also one of the best players in the world. Despite the fact that he is still in college, he already has three Olympics and a bronze medal under his belt, helping Switzerland to win a medal in 2014, becoming youngest player ever to win a medal in Olympic ice hockey.

He led all skaters in points at the 2018 Olympics by 10 in six games. Müller equaled that point total in seven games in 2022, when Switzerland lost to Finland in a bronze medal match.

Müller is in his fourth season at Northeastern University where he is fourth in the team with 38 points in 19 games, having missed almost half the collegiate season due to his international participation. Its 2.0 points per game rate is the best in the country. He helped Husky win Eastern Hockey Title 2021-22earned the MVP award as Northeastern saw their way back into the National Championship after falling to Wisconsin last season.

At such a young age and yet to reach a professional level, Müller will be the face of women’s hockey in Switzerland for many years to come.

Noora Rty

Räty had been playing hockey for a while as a player, but he wasn’t as well-known in North America as he should be.

The 32-year-old Finnish goalkeeper has been an integral part of the expansion of women’s ice hockey at international level. She currently plays in the Zhenskaya Khokkeinaya League, or Women’s Hockey League, a Eurasian based league consisting of nine teams from Russia and one from China. Räty plays for Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays, the only team based in China.

Like Müller, Räty is a integral part in growing women’s ice hockey in her home country. She helped Finland to two Olympic bronze medals (2010 and 2018), four bronze medals at the IIHF World Women’s Ice Hockey Championships and a historic silver at that tournament too, where Finland stunned Canada in the semifinals before nearly beating the United States in the gold medal game.

With Räty playing overseas, he now helps with hockey games in China, where he can make a living playing competitive hockey.

The goalkeeper is also a member of the founding board of PWHPA and the only one holding citizenship outside the US. This group helps advocate for the promotion of women’s hockey. Räty hopes North America can create a professional women’s hockey league for the best players to play with, and want to be a part of that creation, whether as a player or not.

“At least I want to be part of the creation of the league. Whether I will play in it or not, I will decide later, because it all depends on what season and what year it starts.”

Sarah Fillier

Like Nurse, Sarah Fillier appeared on the Canadian hockey rink at the Olympics in February. Her eight goals are second only to teammate Brianne Jenner and her 11 points is her sixth of all skaters.

Do we see a possibility future face of Canadian women’s hockey? Many think so. As long as the likes of Marie-Philip Poulin and Natalie Spooner are around, Fillier may have to wait, but the 21-year-old has all the makings of the best. next greatest Canadian female ice hockey player.

A native of Georgetown, Ontario. attended Princeton University for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons before jumping onto the international team. Even though his time was short with the Tigers, he got many awardsincluding the 2019 ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and National Rookie of the Year, 2020 ECAC Tournament Player of the Year and a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award for best NCAA women’s hockey player in both seasons.

Daryl Watts

Speaking of the new wave of Canadian female hockey players, Daryl Watts has made a name for himself especially among the NCAA community.

The Toronto native played two seasons at Boston College before moving to Wisconsin for the last three seasons. He had a crazy freshman season with the Eagles, racking up 82 points in 38 to be first freshman to win the Patty Kazmaier Award.

He is best known for his winning goal in the National Championships last season. He deflected a shot from the Northeastern defender in extra time to win Wisconsin’s sixth national title.

Watts is shocking insult of Team Canada and therefore, did not participate in the Olympics. But the 22-year-old will end his NCAA career this spring with Wisconsin eyeing another National title. She will also be a finalist for another Patty Kazmaier Award.

Murphy Monastery

What did you do when you were 19 years old? For Abbey Murphy, she represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Murphy was one of only two teenagers on the Americas team to play in Beijing. In seven games in February, he only provided one assist, but given his age, there should be more Olympics to come.

He is known as the little ball of hatred, someone who plays physical style and likes to get under the skin of the opponent. But Murphy also had a scoring touch. She is one of only two players to score in three consecutive IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship gold medal matches. In 15 matches in the tournament, Murphy collected 13 points which resulted in two gold medals and one silver.

He played for one season at the University of Minnesota before choosing to go on to the national team. He likely to come back to the Golden Gophers next season.

Jackson Wintringham

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