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The first (and possibly) last woman to play in the NHL



Kirjoittanut: Kasperi Pitkänen - tiimistä Ei tiimiä.

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Manon Rhéaume did something no woman have ever done before, something most women don’t even dare to dream about nowadays. In 1992 she became the first, only and probably last woman ever to play in the NHL. She is a goaltender and her first game in the NHL was an Exhibition game, and she played for Tamba Bay Lighting. They played against St. Louis Blues where she managed to stop seven of nine shots. Although Manon Rhéaume is a Canadian hockey player, she is a woman you can link to some American values. She embodies individualism, equality and the American dream. She embodies these American values as she did something no woman have ever done and will probably not do again.

To support my theses that no woman will ever play in the NHL again, the professional hockey player Hayley Wickenheiserl said in an interview with the Espn, that she believes that no woman will ever be able to play in the NHL again. Woman`s hockey has come a long way the last years, but it is still far away from men’s hockey in many sections. On a skill level and tempo level, women couldn’t be able to keep up with the guys and also women aren’t physical and not strong enough. Also, the one of the biggest difference come in a pay checks where women’s get paid way much less than men’s if they even got paid.

Hockey is a popular sport in America, and men who play hockey are becoming faster, stronger, and bigger every year. It therefore follows that playing hockey with men could be very dangerous for a woman who is naturally much smaller than a man. As Red Wings assistant and general manager Jim Nill said in the interview “You’re talking men that are 220 pounds, that’s all I worry about.”. As a woman to be tackled by a man who is 220 pounds could cause some dangerous injuries. If a woman would be able to play in the NHL again, goaltender is most likely the position that would suit a woman to play. But it’s not just the outfield players who are getting bigger, goalies nowadays are also much bigger.

Manon Rhéaume was born February 1972 in Canada. In the season 1991/92 she was signed to a team in one of Canada’s top junior ice hockey leagues, she then became the first woman to ever play in the men`s junior ice hockey league. At one of her games an agent filmed her and shoved it to the coach of The Lightning. At first, he didn’t see that she was a female goaltender, and he claimed that he couldn’t see the difference between her and the male goaltenders. Therefore, he invited her to a training camp with The Lightning. According to Manon herself everyone told her she was crazy to even go to the camp. But she didn`t listened to them and went to the camp. After the camp she got the opportunity to play in an exhibition game against St. Louise Blues. (Wakiji, 2011).

St. Louise Blues got a powerplay right away. She told in an interview with Sportsnet that she was thinking to herself “Oh, great. Starting on the PK. Here we go!” But it turned out that it was a great way to get into the game, as she had an amazing save. Despite the fact that she played a pretty good first period and blocked seven of nine shots. She only played that one period for The Lightning that season. The following season she played another exhibition game for the Tampa Bay where one of the players from the other team acknowledged her for what she had accomplished. (Rutherford, 2017)

Manon Rhéaume is a woman who stands by the American values individualism, American dream and equality. You can tie her up to individualism, as she stood by her own and didn’t listened when everyone told her that she was crazy. The American dream symbolises that you can be everything you want to if you set your mind to it. Manon Rhéaume achieved something that is near to impossible. Although the NHL is the American hockey league they handpick their players from all over the world. The result of this is that most of the best hockey players in the world plays in the NHL. So, for a woman to play at this level is an amazing accomplishment and something most women only can dream about. Therefore, Manon is a really good example on a person who lived by the theory of the American dream.

This woman did something quite unusual 26 years ago and despite that many have forgotten about it, doesn’t make it less impressive. She is a good role model for girls all over the world. She shows to all girls that nothing is impossible, and you can do everything you set your mind to. You shouldn’t listen to what other says to you and follow your dream. And that although she may be the first and the last woman to play in the NHL, she proofed for the whole world that girls can play hockey too.

In conclusion why I took this topic for my essay is to show that it is not only the mans who can do great success. Also, I wanted to see other side of hockey which is passion to me, and I didn’t know that much about women’s hockey or their accomplishes. With good attitude + passion you can do things that might feel impossible to even dream about. Never underestimate yourself if you haven’t tried. Dream big or go home.

Proakatemia, 2023

Entrepreneurship & Team leadership

Kasperi Pitkänen

References:

Wakji, D. 2011. Women in the NHL: An idea on the ice. ESPN article. http://www.espn.com/espnw/news/article/6529908/idea-ice

Rheume, M. 2018. NHL now. Video interview. https://www.nhl.com/video/nhl-now-manon-rheaume/t-277350912/c-58303403

Rutherford, K. 2017. Manon Rheaume realizes her NHL debut was ‘not just another game’. Sportsnet article.https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/manon-rheaume-realizes-nhl-debut-not-just-another-game/

Kreiser, J. 2020. Rheaume makes NHL history with Lightning. NHL article. https://www.nhl.com/news/this-date-in-nhl-history-september-23/c-282004426

 

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