There are four men’s hockey teams here at UTSC:
- Tri-Campus (very competitive contact hockey)
- B-Team (very competitive non-contact hockey)
- C-Team (competitive non-contact hockey)
- R-Team (competitive non-contact hockey)
As mentioned in my last post (Tryout hangover), I made the B-team! YAY! I was so proud of myself to be able to compete and keep up with the men’s team, that I had a constant smile on my face for at least two days.
Growing up with brothers and playing competitive hockey all my life, I’ve never been the “puck bunny” type. I’d rather strap on the skates and compete with the guys, rather than drool over their missing teeth and wild helmet hair in the stands. As a result, I looked forward to playing my first game with the new team. I felt confident in myself that I’d be able to keep up, rather than make a fool of myself and get benched.
On Saturday (game day) I was calm and composed……until I entered the arena.
It was then I saw a glimpse of the other team. They had guys triple the size of me. I started to doubt myself quietly in the change room. Will I be able to keep up? Will I be laughed at? Will I fit in with the team? These questions started racing through my head.
Being a female player on a male hockey team isn’t always easy. Even though I’ve had success playing in mens leagues, I’ve had my share of inappropriate comments off and on the ice by other male players. I’ve heard it all.
“Girl’s can’t play hockey!” “You’re just a pylon!” “Is she a joke?” “Figure skating’s the next arena over!””Don’t pass to her!”
I usually block those comments out and play my game, but they all came rushing back as I stepped onto the ice to warm up. I’ve never felt so nervous.
When the game started, I got into my groove. My defence partner was amazing and we worked incredibly well together. I started to notice that shift after shift, I was improving. I was just as fast, my shots were just as hard, and my passes were just as accurate.
We were leading 1-0 at the end of the first period.
At the start of the second, I received the puck at the blue line and took a slap shot right at the goalie. To my surprise – it reflected off the other team and WENT IN! I couldn’t believe it! I scored a goal! All my teammates and coaches were super supportive and congratulated me. I didn’t feel like a girl on the ice, I was one of the guys and they treated me as such.
The game ended with a 2-0 win for us. All the doubts and nerves I was thinking of beforehand seemed to have enticed me to work harder and prove that a girl can be just as good as any guy on the ice. Myself and two other amazing girls on the team seem to prove this theory well.
Our next game is against UTM on Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. – Varsity Arena.
If you’re a female athlete, do you have a similar experience? How do you deal with hurtful comments? If you’re a male athlete, what are your thoughts of girls playing on your team? Comment below or tweet me @Jessica_Moy!