The National Hockey League (NHL), a prominent and historically male-dominated professional ice hockey league, has seen significant progress in recent years towards inclusivity and opportunities for women. Though traditionally male-centric, the NHL has taken commendable steps to embrace and promote gender diversity within its ranks. In this article, we explore the journey of women breaking barriers and making strides in the National Hockey League.
Pioneering Women in NHL Roles
Kim Davis is the NHL’s Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives, and Legislative Affairs. She’s a prominent figure in the league’s initiatives to promote diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility. Davis plays a pivotal role in driving positive change within the NHL and its communities. She has been instrumental in the formation of the NHL’s Executive Inclusion Council.
Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian hockey legend, serves as the NHL’s Assistant Director of Player Development. A decorated Olympian and five-time Olympic medalist, Wickenheiser has been instrumental in fostering the growth of hockey at the grassroots level and breaking barriers for women in the sport. Hayley is a former Canadian ice hockey player, resident physician, and assistant general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs. She is widely considered to be the greatest female ice hockey player of all time.
Engel-Natzke got her start in 2013, when she was studying film and playing club hockey at the University of Colorado. Her coach asked her to shoot video and be the video coach for the United States women’s team at the World University Winter Games in Trentino, Italy.
Women in Officiating
Kelsey Mahoney made history by becoming the first full-time female scout in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils. Her appointment marked a significant milestone, opening doors for more women to pursue scouting and front-office roles in professional hockey.
Katie Guay broke new ground by becoming one of the first female officials in the NHL. She officiated preseason games and showcased her skills at the highest level of the sport, setting an inspiring example for aspiring female hockey officials.
The Future: Encouraging Progress
The NHL’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusion is evident through various initiatives and programs aimed at empowering women in hockey. The “NHL Female Hockey Ambassador Program” is an initiative designed to encourage and support female hockey players, coaches, and administrators, fostering their growth within the sport.
The “NHL Women’s Advisory Board” provides a platform for women to contribute their perspectives and ideas to further the development of women’s hockey and enhance the overall hockey experience for everyone. Their latest report is based on seven dimensions including, leadership, education, marketing, employment, partnerships, participation and community engagement. The goal of the NHL is to “build (diversity and inclusion) at every point where a player, fan, or employee might interact with the game, taking important steps to lay the foundation for progress,” according to its executive summary.
The presence and influence of women in the National Hockey League are steadily growing, breaking stereotypes and fostering a more inclusive and diverse hockey community. As women continue to rise through the ranks in various roles within the NHL, the league is becoming a better and more representative space for all hockey enthusiasts. With ongoing efforts and a collective commitment to equality, the future holds the promise of even more progress and opportunities for women in the NHL. The ice ceiling is cracking, and the sky’s the limit for women in hockey.
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The Sport Lady has been a lifelong sports enthusiast. She believes that sports have the power to unite people, create common bonds, and foster shared experiences. As a wife and mother of sports lovers, she is passionate about her favorite teams and cherishes every opportunity to watch them play. For her, every day is game day!