The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, August 7, 2020

Reimagine inclusion — Interview with Gina Kingsbury — must-click women's hockey links

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Reimagining inclusivity

We need to stop making excuses.

I’ve called out many ways hockey has done this. And the truth is I’ve recently fallen into this trap. After hours of scripting, shooting, and editing videos and teasers for the videos, I make excuses for why I don’t need to post with captions.


Because I’m not directly impacted and so doing “something extra” is a choice for me. Except if increasing women’s sports coverage is my goal, I can’t settle for increasing coverage only for people who learn, think, and hear like me.

That is why I want to highlight a former Five at The IX guest Chantel Keenan. She has found her voice in the hockey space and is speaking about the ways hockey continually perpetuates ableism.

Jen Southhall is also a hockey-loving fan on the Interwebs making a case for true intersectionality.

Making space for others doesn’t dim our light, but intentionally refusing to uplift others does. Here are a few resources I’m learning about when it comes to making hockey more accessible to all bodies.

I have fumbled in the past and will again, but that is not an excuse to not try to be better. If you have resources you’d like to share to make hockey more inclusive, email me:

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This Week in Women’s Hockey

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORE COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS? Good, click these links and show decision-makers that if you post it, we will read it! If you have any hot tips for great stories or voices you’d like to see in The IX, email me:

Tweet of the Week

A name like Hockey Diversity Alliance and not a woman in sight.

Five at The IX: Gina Kingsbury

Gina Kingsbury is a retired hockey player and current director of women’s programs for Hockey Canada. She also happens to be part of the first NCAA incoming class to have an NCAA Frozen Four tournament. I spoke to Gina back in April about the first-ever NCAA Championship game for a collaboration with former The IXer Lindsay Gibbs for her newsletter Power Plays. Here are some of my favorite quotes that we didn’t use. Photo: James Emery – Hockey Canada Images

What do you remember about your decision to enter the NCAA and play for St. Lawrence? Did you see any of the change in how women’s hockey was being perceived or talked about at that time?

Yeah, to be honest, you hit the nail on the head there. Entering the Olympic games, making women’s hockey and Olympic sport changes the landscape tremendously. Suddenly now there’s a massive dream of becoming an Olympian. I remember watching the 1998 Games in Nagano. I was up at like two o’clock in the morning to watch games. It sparked something inside of me I can’t really explain. I know it had that impact on on a lot of athletes but it also had an impact on the population, knowing that women’s hockey if it’s an Olympic sport, it’s a legitimate sport

So I went off to to a prep school in Connecticut in 1998 to pursue women’s hockey, to pursue my aspirations of playing on Team Canada. So I went to prep school called Hotchkiss in Connecticut and from there I learned a lot about NCAA. I ended up going to St. Lawrence because I really like the campus, I really like people, and just felt right for me. I had two academic advisors that had went to St. Lawrence and from Hotchkiss, and they definitely had a huge impact on me and I decided that that was the right place for me.

Gina remembers how she found out St.m Lawrence made the first-ever Frozen Four

I think we’re in athletic director’s office or the locker room. So don’t quote me on that one. But I do remember being together as a team. Back then, they took an equation that no one understood and that just named a Top 4 to make it to the Frozen Four

As much as we felt that we had a great team that deserved to be there, there’s still that “underdogness” that you’re like, ‘Yeah, are we gonna get picked? There’s all these other conferences, you know, will we be selected?’ And I remember when they announced St. Lawrence just that feeling of bringing a small school to the biggest stage, you know, the top four best teams in the US was was really, really special.

Did you feel that you were expected seeing things differently than the upperclassmen? What was that like for you to be in this really unique position?

Yeah. You know, I think when I look back at it, I do think that we had a different perspective than our upperclassmen.

Upperclassmen had to go through the growing pains, if you may, and we did as well as you look back now. But it’s pretty neat as a freshman coming in, you know, there’s already a Frozen Four that’s established that you’re gonna have an opportunity to compete for. I think you’re in a different position than the seniors that this is they’re only and last chapter.

I think we were pretty fortunate that I felt very fortunate that as as a freshman we had that platform to play for and that made it that much more exciting to think about your college career as an opportunity every year to go back to the national championship.

I spoke to Shannon Miller yesterday and she also felt that even going through her lawsuit that ultimately she felt hope for the sport and where it’s going. Do you share in Shannon’s hope for the future of of women’s hockey? If so, what are the things that you point to that you think are indicative that women’s hockey can and will be resilient?

Yeah, I do share. I don’t think I would be in this position (with Hockey Canada) if I have hope for a future and certainly interested in seeing it happen. I 100% agree with Shannon on that we have a long history of resilience. So I do believe that that will serve us well continuing to move forward and continue to try to kick down doors.

I’ve said this several times here this year, you know, with where the game is this year, and it was a very unorthodox year with no CWHL in Canada and 200 athletes pretty much standing strong and wanting to stand on the on the sidelines in hopes of a professional league likely with the support of the NHL, to be able to come in and create a professional platform.

I think once we do have a professional platform and these incredible athletes get better every single year. But I do think once we do have a platform where our athletes will be visible and seen by the next generation of athletes – when people can appreciate live the speed of our game and the scale of our game – I think that’s, that’s where the game is gonna skyrocket and we will continue to fight to get it to that. Athletes are from all around the world, not just Canadians but Americans and Europeans, are standing strong right now to make that happen.

I think we’re still a long ways away, it’s not gonna happen overnight. But to your point, I think our foundation in our sports has been built by pioneers that have paved the way and have fought very hard for just little gains here and there. They did it selflessly and I think we have to continue to carry the torch and go for for what they started way back and and we’re hoping that it will happen sooner than later here that we’ll have a at least professional platform I think will be the next step where I will see our game grow.

As we close any other things that you’d like to share about that first NCAA experience or, you know where where you see or how you’ve seen the NCAA grow since you’re playing time?

Yeah, I think as the game grows, as well, I get to watch NCAA games a five or six weekends a year. It’s an incredible experience first and foremost. You know, again, the band was really loud the last game. And the whole crowd has dances and song and everybody follows suit. It’s pretty special and pretty unique.

It definitely made me very happy to see that athletes, not just Canadians, but our athletes in our game are getting to experience something that’s special. I think it’s such a great platform for them to continue to grow and hopefully there will be something after that for them. And we’ll work very hard to make that happen. But it’s a great platform to for that, that age group to be able to play in an incredible environment to play under. So it’s pretty special.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala