As many of you know world events recently prompted me to write an article (Published here) about how proud that I am to be a part of this amazing community. You all are amazing people. Really. You really come together to aid those need.
To that end, it was truly moving to watch the Golden Knights honor those fallen and those left standing as heroes. After working for months to celebrate the teams opening night, they shifted gears on a dime to host a great tribute to the city the heroes, and victims in Las Vegas. With Vegas Strong surrounding the players, the victims names projected on the ice, and the 58 seconds of silence, it was as powerful a moment that could be accomplished in that setting.
Taking a break this weekend I was watching 30 young girls and our coaches hit the ice to start another Learn to Play session. The heart of these girls is inspiring. More inspiring than NHL players. These girls aged 4-15 are stepping into the world of hockey for the first time. These young women display the courage of lions as they adapt to this literal cold new world. I just can’t say enough good words about them as they build confidence and develop as skaters and players. It is an honor to be a part, albeit a small one, of that process.
The fact that it is a girls organization stopped me in my tracks this past Sunday. Not for the first time I might add. These girls that stand on the shoulders of the women that came before them have to work so much harder than any man ever has, or likely will. There is a great shirt making the rounds that says “Female Athlete” the female has been crossed out. The hope is that the wearer will be viewed simply as an athlete. A lofty goal. Unfortunately, The world has a long way to go before that is reality. But we and others are here to work to that end.
I am committed to, as are many others, to having our girls viewed as athletes and not objects, or revenue streams but purely as athletes. The discrimination that these girls face and will face as they move through life is unsettling. It varies from unwanted advances, to the being told that they don’t play real hockey by closed-minded individuals. For example, The US Women’s team was stuck in Florida and had to shelter in a hurricane. This was after the hold out during the 2016 World Championships, in which the same team asked for and was granted a number of their requests for equality. Tell me the men’s team, even without NHL players would find themselves in the same situation. Not very likely. Many of these women also work full time jobs, playing hockey for professional teams, that are unable to pay them a living wage.
In another forum I recently wrote about the great news that the New Jersey Devils have reached a 3 year agreement with the former New York and now Metro Riveters. Rechristening, rebranding and giving these women access to free ice time for games, front office and marketing tasks, and training facilities. One can only hope that this is the first of many NHL teams that take this jump to support the female teams in their communities.
My hope is that the NHL teams practice what the Devils have shown and give athletes a deserving chance to train in top-notch facilities. With the girls just starting the game and the young woman from Costa Rica, in her 30’s that I have the honor to share the ice with, I say thank you! Stick taps and support from the hockey community. We are behind you, support you and will fight alongside you, as hockey teammates do.
Peace – Take care of each other – Be Well – Isle5Cleanup