Hockey Hall of Fame has a gender equity issue — Class of 2024 announced

Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, June 27, 2024

Another Hockey Hall of Fame induction announcement has come and gone and there are still hundreds of women who have been waiting far too long to hear their name called.

Let’s do some time traveling. 

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The year is 2010. Women are finally eligible to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cammi Granato and Angela James were the first-ever women to get the call into the Hall.

The 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony was historic and was viewed as the start of change at hockey’s biggest stage for recognition in the sport both on and off the ice. 

After 2010, a woman didn’t receive the illustrious call from the Hockey Hall of Fame for three more years when Geraldine Heaney was inducted in 2013. As the number of women in the Hall grew to three in 2013, the voting committee could’ve doubled that number and had six women in it. 

The following year USA Hockey legend Angela Ruggiero was the fourth woman to be inducted. Again, the number could be at eight for those who are keeping track at home.

The Hockey Hall of Fame induction voting committee decided to ignore women once again for the next two seasons until 2017 when Danielle Goyette became the fifth — yes fifth — woman to be inducted. As a quick math update, that’s seven less than the number could’ve been if the committee remembered that women have two available spots each year.

From 2018-2020 the hockey world saw back-to-back-to-back inductions on the women’s side as Jayna Hefford, Hayley Wickenheiser and the first-ever goalie Kim St-Pierre all entered the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

In 2021 not a single person, both on the men’s and women’s side, were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

History was made in 2022 when the first-ever European was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the women’s side. Finnish legend Riikka Sallinen was the lone woman inductee that season. 

Last year Caroline Ouellette became the tenth woman to hear her name called into the Hockey Hall of Fame after an incredibly successful and historic career. After 2023 ten out of a possible 24 women had been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Back to the present day…

Earlier this week the Hockey Hall of Fame did the unthinkable. They used both positions as two women were inducted into the same Hall of Fame Class. Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell-Pohl, the two Minnesotians and USA Hockey icons brought the number up to 12 women in the Hall. 

As the Hockey Hall of Fame did something they have failed to do for the first time since 2010 I can’t help but feel an intense amount of grief and disappointment over the several women who should’ve been in the Hall decades ago who might continue to wait years, if ever, to hear their name inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The list of women in hockey who should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame is not only staggeringly long, but is incredibly deep with talent and accomplishments. If I were to write out the list of names that should hear their name called into the Hall of Fame I would be here for hours, so I’ll just name a few.

Erin Whitten-Hamlen, Jennifer Botterill, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Julie Chu, Maria Rooth, Meghan Duggan, Vicky Sunohara, Florence Schelling, Hilda Ranscombe, Fran Rider, Cindy Curley, Cathy Phillips and Dawn McGuire are a handful of names that come to the top of my head, and that’s just me naming a few. 

It’s evident that the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee needs a massive overhaul of how it decides which women get inducted. As of right now out of the total 18 people on the committee, only two of them are women. Those two women are Cammi Granato and Cassie Campbell-Pascal. 

After a historic inaugural PWHL season and more eyes than ever on the women’s game, I hope 2023 goes down as the last year ever to only induct one woman into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Even by continuing to use the two available spots for women in the Hall, it’s clearly not enough. I’m not sure if sometime soon we have a few years where they make an exception to make up for all the names they have missed and use more than two spots. But what I do know is that the sport of hockey has been robbed of seeing women who have helped get the sport to where it is today for the last 100 years earn the title as Hockey Hall of Famers. And that to me is a damn shame

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Written by The Ice Garden