Women’s hockey gold medalist Sami-Jo Small speaks at George Brown College

Three-time Olympic hockey medalist Sami-Jo Small enthusiastically telling stories of teamwork on the rink. Photo: Brittany Barber/The Dialog

Three-time Olympic hockey medalist Sami-Jo Small enthusiastically telling stories of teamwork on the rink. Photo: Brittany Barber/The Dialog

Living up to expectations, Canada is again the best in hockey as both women’s and men’s Olympic teams went undefeated in this year’s Olympics. Canada’s men’s hockey team followed the women and won gold. Canadians are pleased to say that the men succeeded by “playing like girls.”

Sami-Jo Small played for Canada’s women’s hockey team three times and was a gold medalist twice. She’s proud that more women are playing hockey.

Speaking at George Brown College (GBC) on Feb. 27 Small said, “12 to 16 year-old girls are more interested in what others think.” Small continued, “confidence is what matters, the personal skills you possess help achieve success.”

Since 1990, Canada’s national women’s hockey team has won 10 world titles, four Olympic gold medals and 13 Nations Cups. This is astounding for a team that wasn’t considered for the Olympics until recent years.

According to an analysis by social media management company HootSuite, women’s hockey was talked about more on twitter than the men’s team after claiming Olympic hockey gold.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because hockey is one of the fastest growing women’s sports in the world according to the International Ice Hockey Federation.

“I’ve watched fathers become suddenly okay with putting their daughters into hockey and girls that grew up playing are now coaching,” Small states about the views of women’s hockey. “Most Olympic commercials are showing women athletes as role models, which is a huge growth in recognition. The Olympics helped make hockey acceptable.”

Currently, GBC does not have a women’s extramural ice hockey team. However, if you’re passionate about slicing through the ice and sending a rubber disk 152 km/hr towards an opposing goal, you’re still in luck. While the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) does not offer any varsity level hockey for men or women, there is still hope for extramural teams. There are currently 16 women’s teams in the Ontario College Committee on Campus Recreation (OCCCR), with seven tournaments played between November and March each year.

The Fanshawe Falcons and the Conestoga Condors are rated first and second on the Women’s Power Ratings according to OCCCR, while Sheridan is ranked 16th.

If college-level hockey doesn’t appeal enough to you, Ontario University Athletics offers women’s ice hockey at 13 different universities including Guelph University (ranked 1st), University of Toronto (ranked 3rd) and Ryerson University (ranked 13th).

In a country where we are expected to have picked up a hockey stick before we start walking, it seems a bit bizarre that women’s hockey is not all the rage in Ontario’s post-secondary schools. Ice hockey was a big sport in the OCAA from 1967. However, in 2004, the teams dwindled down to three schools and the league chose to not operate any longer.

With dedication and passion, women’s hockey may be able to make a comeback in the OCAA and continue to move the puck towards gender equality.

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Women’s hockey gold medalist Sami-Jo Small speaks at George Brown College