Wednesday, September 09, 2009

(No) check, please

The perennial debate in women's hockey is back, intensified by the forthcoming start of the season, and the Vancouver Olympics. To check or not to check.
It's an issue the semi-pro players in Nancy Theberge's study of Canadian hockey spoke about. And it appears not that much has changed in 10 plus years. Some want it. Others don't.
US defenseperson Angela Ruggerio has said she would like to check--but acknowledges her opinion is based on her ability as one of the larger players in the game to effectively check. In general, she doesn't feel it would be good for the game as a whole. And many others feel the same but for different reasons.
There's the: no one wants to see girls get hurt rationale which extends to the "mothers won't sign their daughters up for hockey if they can get hurt" thinking.
Not a fan of this line of thought. After all, if we don't have a problem with boys getting hurt...
The other reason is the one I subscribe to: it's a better game without checking. There's skillful passing and skating. It also allows for a variety of players with different strengths and skill sets.
So good are these reasons that I think there should be no checking in men's hockey either. But I doubt the hockey=violence paradigm is going to change any time soon.
It also does not appear that checking in the women's game is imminent. No formal request--or informal from what I can tell--has been made to the hockey governing body to allow women to check. Unfortunately the women's game will continue to be seen as less than, and female players as weaker and frailer, because there is no checking.

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