101 Fascinating Hockey Facts by Brian McFarlane

101 Fascinating Hockey Facts by Brian McFarlane

Author:Brian McFarlane
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Dundurn
Published: 2019-11-01T16:00:00+00:00


50

ANOTHER GAME? FORGET ABOUT IT, FRAN

Women have been eager participants in hockey almost from the beginning. From the beginning of the last century, male players recruited sisters, mothers, wives and girlfriends to join them on frozen ponds for long games of shinny on ice. In time, women formed teams with creative names: the Snowflakes, the Floradoras, the Mighty Maidens, and even the Old Hens. One of the pioneers — a goalie — told me how she secretly kept her goals against average down. “It was the long skirt era and I wore a skirt extra long. And I put buckshot in the hem of the skirt. When I bent over in goal I’d spread my skirt out. That hem stopped a lot of pucks.” With women’s hockey growing more popular every year, the future is bright for the girls in the game. But it hasn’t always been rosy.

I once chatted with Fran Westman, a University of Toronto hockey player in the early 1930s, who was one of the stars of a team called the Vagabonds. For a game in Port Dover in 1933, posters advertised Miss Westman as the most “outstanding lady hockeyist in Ontario.” But did she excel in the contest? No. Newly married, Fran’s husband refused to let her play: “She had another game to play two days later,” he explained, “and two games in one week is too much for a woman — in my opinion.”

His bride was left fuming. But she bowed to her husband’s wishes. “Today, I’d just grab my skates and go play,” she told me. “I’m still upset there were posters announcing my appearance and I didn’t show up.”



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