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Toronto (Canada) (AFP) – In Canada, hockey is king however there are few queens. In many areas, ladies’s groups don’t exist and there’s no ladies’s skilled league. But many are combating to vary that.
“The next five years will make up for the last 15. I think now is the time,” mentioned Daniele Sauvageau, former Canadian nationwide workforce coach and now director of the excessive efficiency heart.
“We’re going to see changes and more visibility, probably more women’s sports on TV than we’ve seen,” she added.
It’s fairly the paradox that regardless of one other Olympic gold medal in Beijing, Canadian feminine hockey gamers are nonetheless not very seen in their nation and hockey stays primarily a sport for males. Women nonetheless characterize lower than 20 p.c of gamers in Canada (lower than 10 p.c in Quebec).
The introduction in 2017 of a type of wage in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) might have marked a turning level. But barely two years later, the announcement of its chapter put an finish to the professionalization motion that appeared to have begun.
“We come back to the forefront with the Olympic Games. But everything has to be redone every four years,” mentioned Marie-Philip Poulin, captain of the Canadian workforce and three-time Olympic champion.
The latter based, along with different Canadian and American gamers, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA). Their purpose: to create a cross-border league the place feminine athletes might be paid as professionals with out having to work on the facet.
“We believe in it. We are fighting to create a league not only for ourselves, but for the next generations of players. It takes patience,” she added.
‘Boys might be imply’
In the ladies’s golf equipment, the women know little about these champions.
“There’s still the perception of only boys playing hockey, but I think it’s started to change now,” mentioned Kim McCullough, head of a ladies’s hockey membership in Toronto.
According to a current ballot, greater than 92 p.c of Canadians imagine that women must be inspired to play sports activities as a lot as boys, however greater than 33 p.c nonetheless contemplate that sure sports activities usually are not appropriate for girls.
In current years, “we’ve seen growth at a lot of different levels, which I think is awesome. The more players we can get, the better it is for our sport,” added McCullough, carrying a pink Team Canada cap.
On the ice, newbies aged seven to 14, inexperienced or pink jerseys on their backs, skated at full pace from one finish of the rink to the opposite, forwards and backwards, generally falling, underneath the watchful eyes of their dad and mom, who seize the second in pictures on their smartphones from behind the security glass that surrounds the rink.
Jamie Bliss, 43, accompanied his daughter Kira, 12, to coaching: “It’s great having all the girls on ice but also having the coaches being women. I think it’s great for them to see others girls and women coaching them, encouraging them, that really helps to build their confidence.”
Having a job mannequin is what motivated 10-year-old Hallae. “I was inspired by my dad’s girlfriend, she did a lot of hockey,” she mentioned, including that she loves the game.
At this all-girls membership in Toronto, many say it makes them really feel extra snug.
“It’s easier because some boys can sometimes be mean when you mess up,” mentioned eight-year-old Riley.
But not all provinces supply the chance for women to play on ladies’s groups to find hockey. In Quebec, more often than not the women are built-in into the boys’ groups.
A current report, commissioned by the Quebec authorities on the hockey system of the French-speaking province, centered in explicit on the promotion of ladies’s hockey and really helpful higher supervision of the event and profession of gamers. And for extra ladies in key positions inside Hockey Quebec.
© 2022 AFP
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