Ice Hockey is an adrenaline-surging sport that is packed with action, speed and physical contact. Hence this sport is an endeavor sought only by men… not! As early as the 1890s, women have shown interest in the sport. The person who actually donated the famous Stanley Cup had a daughter who pioneered the women Ice Hockey. She was Isobel Stanley, who inherited her fathers passion. She frequents the rink outside the Government House in Ottawa and Ice Hockey play Hockey. She even organized the first Montreal Winter Carnival where women were allowed to play. This event was the first one to be recorded to have women participants, as only men are reportedly indulged in this sport during that time. It was rumored that it was through her persuasion that her father, Lord Stanly of Preston, donated the Stanley Cup to serve as the trophy for Ice Hockey Champions.
The traditional long skirt used by women as uniform while playing was also her innovation. Because of this utmost support shown, more and more women started to get involved. By 1990, hockey teams with exclusive female members became common, wearing long skirts, as this gives them the advantage at goaltending. During this time, there were no protective pads or helmets to cushion their fall and prevent injuries. It was in 1899 at the Rideau Skating Rink that the first competition between two women’s teams was documented.
In 1920, the long skirts are still popular dress for women. It was during this time that the first Ice Hockey Trophy in Canada is competed by women teams. The trophy is the Lady Meredith Cup, after its donor, Lady Meredith, who is the cousin of the person who donated the Allan Cup for mens amateur ice hockey.
The women’s Ice Hockey entered the Winter Olympics in 1998, which was held in Japan. The topmost positions were bagged by US (gold medal), Canada (silver medal) and Finland (bronze medal). In 1999, the National Women’s Hockey League was organized but later disbanded after the 2006 to 2007 season. This gave way to Canadian Women’s Hockey League and Western Women’s Hockey League.
The play in Women’s Hockey slightly differs to that of the Men’s for certain rules and regulations. In women’s hockey body checking is automatically considered a penalty due to the relatively smaller mass of the female body. However, in some competitions, body checking is allowed and it is the referees decision to award the penalty. Women are also required to wear full-face mask to prevent facial injuries.