The Bubble Burst Before It Was Built For Women’s Hockey

The Men’s World Junior Hockey Championships was a smashing success for hockey fans through late December and January. Especially considering lockdown conditions across parts of the globe due to COVID-19.

And it was a success in terms of keeping players safe after they’d arrived in the bubble.

But did you know the Women’s U18 World Championships should also be running this month?

There will be no bubble for International women’s hockey after organizers, governing bodies, government officials, sponsors, and media bent over backward to make sure the Men’s World Junior Hockey Championships went off without a hitch.

If ever there was an example of gender inequality in sport and sports media, this is it.

If you televise women’s sports, people will watch in droves, which was proven by the WNBA’s 2019 season. So every insecure man out there about to type that into your fragile comment box, zip it.

Locally, in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Jessie McPherson was a member of Canada’s U18 team last year. Anyone out there want to say that Jessie, the only goaltender from Chatham to be named to a Team Canada roster in, didn’t deserve to play last year? Or from the Southwest Wildcats in Windsor, Kira Juodikis would have been a Team Canada member.

Cue the fragility and misogyny and all the ostriches out there willing to stick their head in the sand before they defend the need for daughters and sisters to see their role models on a screen…but this is both a systemic issue, and a hockey specific issue.

On September 17, 2020, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) cancelled all tournaments…but it didn’t take long for the decision to sway for the men.

Even across the globe, in Sweden, where this year’s U18 Women’s Championship was scheduled to begin on January 5 and end January 15, men’s leagues are playing, but this women’s tournament can’t. In fact, we’ve been watching NHL youth and prospects playing professionally in Sweden for months.

We have a problem. Hockey has a problem. Society has a problem. If we won’t support women’s sports to be played, we shouldn’t be moving mountains to support men’s sports.

Unfortunately this year, and every year prior, the women’s bubble was burst before we could even build it.

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