Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

A glaring omission from women’s hockey

with one comment

I’m very pleased that Canada’s women’s hockey team won Olympic gold last night over an impressive USA squad. But one thing continues to bother me: Nicole Corriero‘s absence. I covered Nicole for four years when she starred for the Harvard Crimson. I’d even like to take credit for coining her obvious nickname, “The Goal Scorriero,” though I’m sure somebody got there earlier. Nicole was left off the Canadian Olympic Team back in 2006, and again this year. She’s now a lawyer in Toronto, and I’m very happy about her success. But it’s an absolutely travesty that she was not allowed to represent Canada.

Nicole was not the fastest skater on the ice, but she had good puck handling skills, an excellent shot and a great knack for the net. She was a pure scorer. What’s more, Nicole was strong like an ox. An aggressive player, Nicole wrote her senior thesis on fighting in hockey (she was also one of the nicest athletes I met in my four years covering sports). And yet she was never able to truly embrace that strength and aggression, because women’s hockey continues to insist on its ridiculous ban on bodychecking.

Though women participate fully in rough contact sports like rugby, wrestling, football, and boxing, in hockey (and lacrosse), they are required to play different games. (In boxing women fight two minute rounds instead of three, but as far as I know the rest of the rules are the same and the sport is VERY rough). There is no reason for this. Women should play the same hockey game as men. I wrote about this years ago, but watching the women’s final last night, my feelings have not changed. I actually feel more strongly about this.

The women playing at this elite level are strong, tough and excellent shape. They can stand the heat. Moreover, it would make the reffing a lot less confusing. A.J. Mleczko, the MSNBC commentator (how sad that we had to watch this on MSNBC here in America), kept discussing how the refs have to set a tone on what’s allowed and what’s not, how ambiguous it is, how the coaches just want the refs to “let them play.”

The solution is obvious. Allow the women to hit. Would there be more injuries? Sure. But hockey is a rough game. Injuries come with the territory. Why it should be treated differently is beyond me.

And at the elite level, I think more and more women will want the game to be played this way. Not all of them. But even the ones that don’t would adapt. And the ones that do, like Angela Ruggiero, would thrive even more. And maybe Nicole Corriero would be wearing a pair of gold medals around her neck right now.

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Written by David Weinfeld

February 26, 2010 at 09:39

Posted in Canada, gender, sports

One Response

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  1. Some past threads on this:
    http://board.uscho.com/showthread.php?t=44127&page=1&pp=50
    http://board.uscho.com/archive/index.php/t-51470.html

    We’ll continue to agree to disagree.

    Though I do agree the inconsistency in officiating is frustrating to no end.

    DRDR

    February 27, 2010 at 14:05


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