March is Women's History Month
In celebration of Women's History Month, SPCHA will post articles & links focusing on women who have impacted the great sport of hockey.
Our aim is to highlight leaders & change-makers in our sport that may be overlooked. If you know of such a girl or woman you'd like to see highlighted, please send an email to Gina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of Women's Ice Hockey
Video: This is who I am
Most people are surprised to learn that women’s ice hockey has a history that dates back more than 120 years, beginning with the earliest known film image of women involved in a game of ice hockey — featuring Isobel Preston, daughter of Lord Stanley Preston (of Stanley Cup lore), playing hockey on a flooded lawn in the winter of 1890.
There is little doubt that women played the sport well before the first newspaper account of a game between two unnamed women’s teams appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on Feb. 11, 1891. After much research, that game, which was played in Ottawa, Ontario, is now regarded as the start of women’s ice hockey.
Over the span of more than a century, girls and women have pursued their interest in the sport, and today that segment continues to be one of the fastest-growing in USA Hockey.A look back at the history of the women’s game reveals an amazing evolution, with the best yet to come for females involved in the sport.
GRASSROOTS ICE HOCKEY
During the 1990-91 season, 5,573 female ice hockey players registered with USA Hockey. Since then, that number has increased more than 10 times with nearly 73,000 registered girls and women playing ice hockey across the United States today. While the number of girls’/women’s teams has grown significantly, some females continue to play on mixed-gender teams.
THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE
As far back as 1916, women’s ice hockey teams from Canada and the U.S. have competed against each other. The 1980s, however, propelled women’s ice hockey into the future. In April 1987, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association hosted the first World Invitational Tournament, which proved to be a resounding success. During that tournament, representatives from participating nations met to discuss the future of women’s ice hockey and to establish a strategy to lobby the International Ice Hockey Federation for the creation of a Women’s World Championship.
Those discussions led to the first-ever IIHF Women’s World Championship, which was held in March 1990 in Ottawa. In 2005, the U.S. defeated Canada in a shootout to win its first-ever world title. Team USA has won seven of the last eight world championships.Learn More: USA Hockey Play Girls' Hockey Brochure