It is impossible to miss that the world is rapidly changing before our very eyes. The dividing lines between men and women are becoming more blurred and the root of the transformation is a more open society which allows women to jump many hurdles that were off limits not long ago without overwhelming resistance. Barriers continue to fall from private Golf memberships being men only, to Ronda Rousey, the unbeaten UFC women’s bantamweight champion emerging as the only athlete to make Fortune magazine’s list of ‘the most influential young people in business.
Who would have guessed just five years ago that she would become a more popular boxer than many of her male contemporaries?
Mo’ne Davis distinguished herself as a gamer not just suiting up ,but showcasing her considerable pitching skills by leading her baseball team to victory in the Little League World Series.
The brand new National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) needed a superstar to join their ranks and they signed Team USA’s Hillary Knight. She made the decision to leave the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and join the Boston Pride of the NWHL.
Knight, 26, is one of the most recognizable faces in women’s hockey. She’s a two-time Olympic silver medalist. In four years at Wisconsin, she put up 262 points in 161 games played.
As a member of the Boston Blades (CWHL) for three seasons, she scored 62 points in 43 games. This past season she was the first skater to practice with an NHL team, joining the Anaheim Ducks on the ice. Off the ice she’s appeared in ESPN the Body Issue and countless opportunities to promote girls and women’s hockey world wide.
To demonstrate how the ice hockey environment continues to evolve, now girls are skating on boy hockey teams. The reasons are obvious; they are looking for belter competition and the elite coaching available on boys teams.Unique to any other youth sport another barrier has also started to come down. Now some girls are dressing and undressing in the same locker room as their male teammates.
In a blog written by Sharon Enck she says “On the ice, they are unidentifiable — just cage-masked figures in pads, and skates. But off the ice, it’s another story. While girl hockey players may be getting some equality in the game, off the ice a struggle is ensuing: To locker room or not to locker room? For girls playing on co-ed teams, the answer is not as simple as you would think. Some areas of the country have instituted a separate locker room policy, in essence segregating the girls from the boys.”
It is true that a locker room in youth hockey is not just a place to dress. It is also a place to develop camaraderie, for synergy to grow, and strategy to be discussed.Hockey mom Deirdre McGaffey Schwein posted “We have reached a critical state in my daughter’s locker room issue. She changes with the boys but will keep her shock Doctor shorts on. she wears them to the game and then home where she takes them off. She wears a t-shirt at all times too. She is the only girl on her team and many times the boys undress to their boxers or briefs in the locker room.
“This year is not such a big deal since parents are allowed in the locker room and can supervise. But next year Parents are not allowed in the locker room, my daughter has a shy personality and gets embarrassed easily. She will be entering age group where hormones are going crazy. Our association does not have any rules in place or separate locker rooms. I am lost in how to go about this issue to make sure my daughter is safe.”
Hockey is a fantastic sport and boys and girls should be able to participate together in the 21st century, however, certain considerations have to be made to insure parents are comfortable and children are protected. For those who do not think that there is a real concern -all they need to do is look at the picture of Hillary Knight nude in ESPN’s body issue, which many young boys may have already seen and saves thousand words in explaining the locker room problem.