TAMPA – Just the other day, Manon Rheaume went to get the oil changed on her car at a garage near her home in suburban Detroit. While she sat in the waiting room, one of the grease monkeys came out from the back with the work order in his hand. “He was looking at the name and he looked at me and said, ‘Are you the hockey player?’ ” Rheaume said. “He was like, ‘I used to have a poster of you on my wall.’ And I was thinking, ‘This is weird, you know?’ ”
Weird perhaps, but still gratifying for the first and only woman to ever appear in an NHL pre-season game. Rheaume’s world changed forever after she stopped seven of the nine shots she faced Sept. 23, 1992 for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the St. Louis Blues. She went on to play for eight different men’s teams in four minor leagues over the years, along with a team in Austria. She founded a foundation, worked in hockey and is raising two hockey-playing boys, one of whom is on the fast track with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. And starting this winter, filming will begin on Between the Pipes, the story of Rheaume’s life from the time she started playing hockey at five to when she appeared with the Lightning.
If the “Like A Girl” campaign that Team USA women’s standout Hilary Knight was promoting earlier this season is looking for a new face, maybe they should give 11-year-old Emma Nichols a call.
As part of the English Ice Hockey Association’s Inter Conference Tournament, Nichols’ South East squad took on Midlands back on May 3 and the young netminder turned away more than 25 shots in the victory. But it’s not that Nichols turned away so many shots. It’s how she stopped the pucks. From sprawling, desperation saves to a few flashes of the leather, Nichols was far and away the star of the game. Check it out: Read more
Understanding what goaltender Shannon Szabados has accomplished in the past year is an exercise in mythbusting.
She’s broken new ground for female hockey players. She’s flourished in the all-male Southern Professional Hockey League after joining last year on the heels of her second Olympic gold medal for Canada. It’s tempting, though, to tell her story a certain romantic way: she overcomes insurmountable odds, endures hardship and abuse from teammates and opponents, and she triumphs.
That cliched idea belongs in Mulan. Toss it in the trash. There’s nothing conventional about Shannon Szabados’ journey. Her tale is not one of fighting to survive in the male game. It’s about growing up in the male game and earning a spot she’s worked toward her entire life. This is Szabados’ inspiring true story. And it’s nowhere near finished.
When Natalie Spooner was young, her goal was to play in the NHL. Years later, she has done the next best thing: made a career for herself in the CWHL and as a member of Canada’s national team. However, she wants to make sure the next generation of women’s hockey stars can focus solely on being professional athletes.
“There’s more challenges as I’m getting older,” Spooner told thn.com. “When I was young, I was just playing the game. Now, getting older and having to realize where my future is and wondering if I can work, I think that’s the biggest barrier that can hopefully be broken in the future – that having women’s sports, or women’s hockey, be a fulltime job or being a career. Because right now it’s not.” Read more
At every major women’s tournament it seems like an inevitability – the United States taking on Canada for the gold medal and the game becoming one of the highlights of the hockey season. The gold medal contest at the 2015 Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden was no different.
What will be most memorable about the gold medal contest, aside from continued dominance at the World Championships by the American squad, is Canada’s three-goal comeback in a span of little more than two minutes. The Canadian squad fought back from a 3-0 deficit to enter the first intermission down 4-2 before a Haley Skarupa marker put the Americans ahead 5-2.
Over the next 2:03, Canada rallied with three straight goals. First, Brigette Lacquette scored on a blast from the blueline. Rebecca Johnston followed that up with a goal from the slot. Then, with American goaltender Alex Rigsby replacing the rattled Jessie Vetter, Caroline Outlette produced the game-tying goal on a deflection of a Lacquette point shot. The Canadian effort set up for a furious finish in the third. Read more
Goaltenders have used mask art to pay tribute to troops, they’ve shown their love for family and friends and in some cases the legends who came before them. For Russia’s Maria Sorokina, her mask for the Women’s World Championship honors the life of Alexei Cherepanov.
Cherepanov, you may recall, was drafted 17th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2007 draft. While playing in the KHL for Avangard Omsk in 2008, Cherepanov tragically passed away at the age of 19. During an October 2008 contest against Vityaz Chekhov, Cherepanov returned to the bench following a shift, collapsed and was later pronounced dead. His death shocked the hockey world. Read more
Less than three weeks after the CWHL handed out the Clarkson Cup to the Boston Blades, news comes that next season they’ll have to compete with a rival women’s league… and a rival league that can pay its players.
Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale reported this afternoon the league, spawned by Dani Rylan and former Team USA superstar Angela Ruggiero, will begin its inaugural season in 2015-16. With four teams spread across the Northeastern United States, the four team league hopes it can coincide with the CWHL while giving women’s players another option, one that will offer them pay and takes the onus off of its players to find time, money and resources to compete in the league. Read more
A dream season for Shannon Szabados keeps getting better. With wins over Huntsville and Knoxville, Szabados was named the SPHL Player of the Week for the second time this season.
In her two victories, Szabados, who plays for the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths, posted a 1.00 goals-against average and monster .970 save percentage. In Tuesday game against Huntsville, Szabados stopped 34 of the 35 shots she faced and turned aside 16 of 17 attempts Friday against Knoxville. Read more