In some circles of hockey twitter, a few people are firm in the fact that women shouldn’t cover/write about hockey at all.
This isn’t a new concept.
I have been told many times that I don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t know anything about the team, or shouldn’t be running this website. I’ve also seen friends being told that their article is bad/wrong and the person telling the writer exactly the point they made in the article. Some people just look at the byline and say it's wrong because of who wrote it. Some people find all the mistakes and assume you cannot continue to run the website and that if they harass you enough, you’ll leave.
That’s not the reality of hockey blogging.
Here at Five For Howling, we have four women on staff.
Jessica, who is our Social Media and Community Manager and fills in when needed as an editor and contributor. She also is a growing photographer and we hope to have her photos hosted on the site soon.
Rose, who is our research, graph, and number-loving contributor. Rose works on highly detailed pieces that involve a lot of research, reading graphs, and sometimes even going to the source of a new metric and asking about it.
Liz, who is the co-host of Den Talk and general cheerleader for all of us and what we do.
Then there is me, Sarah, the Managing Editor of this website. I write, I edit, I encourage and educate my young writing staff, and I curate the content on Five For Howling.
Women deserve to have their voices out there when discussing hockey. That voice needs to be louder than just ‘bloggers.’
Women’s voices should be heard and not just for the ‘sensitive’ topics. Women writers are not just there to make sure you cover violence against women properly. They aren’t there to just ‘double check spelling and grammar’ and they aren’t there to stroke your ego about a badly written piece that they want to deconstruct and rewrite.
Women are reporters. Women are bloggers. Women can scout and, sometimes, women know more about a subject than any other person in their office or site.
The ‘Old Boys Club’ of hockey is starting to take a shift. More women, young women, are wanting to start covering sports. It’s time for the media to start changing. This is no longer a ‘women don’t belong in the locker room’ issue. This is fundamentally being told that women cannot cover hockey, or sports in general, ‘correctly.’ It isn’t about women being too emotional to cover a team or too unprofessional. When someone shows up to the arena to work, that’s what they are doing there, working.
Fellow Managing Editors, encourage your young women writers, help them grow. Don’t let them stall out over one piece that they don’t think is just right. Help them through it. Encourage your writers to speak to each other. Don’t let their voices be drowned out by the loudest male voice in the room, and if it’s yours? Take a step back and listen.
Women will and can do anything they put their mind to. In the blog setting, it’s already starting to boom. With people like Hannah Stuart who writes amazing prospect profiles for FanRag. Steph Driver does amazing audio things at Broad Street Hockey and Broad Street Radio. Kate Frese takes some of the best in-game photos. Megan of The Oilers Rig deals with the Oilers fan base on a day to day basis, much praise for that.
I can go on and on about women who cover teams/the league on a daily basis. Sarah McLellan for AZ Central, Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press just to name a few. Jen Neale also covered the league amazingly on a daily basis for Puck Daddy, and I hope she lands somewhere soon, her voice is needed.
There are the women who help run the SB Nation NHL sites, Taylor for Defending Big D, Katya of Pension Plan Puppets, Achariya of RawCharge, and Hildymac of St. Louis Game Time.* There is also Hannah Bevis who is running The Ice Garden and keeping everyone up to date on women’s hockey, and Mary Clarke running the news desk for SB Nation.
On TV you have Kathryn Tappen, Cassie Pascal-Campbell, Tessa Bonhomme and Leah Hextall. Canada is very lucky to have Pascal-Campbell and Bonhomme, amazing players in their own rights, but having them talk about hockey on a big stage is huge. Pascal-Campbell is on Hockey Night In Canada, the largest stage for hockey. Bonhomme is with TSN, the second biggest stage. Tappen with NBCSN and Hextall with Sportsnet. This sort of visibility is making women want to cover hockey visually instead of just in words.
I can keep going on and on about women who write about and cover hockey, but I will never be able to mention them all.
How do you feel about women reporting on/writing about NHL teams?
Who are some of your favorite women hockey writers/announcers? Leave their names below and their twitter info if you have it!
*Editors Note: Added in the amazing women who are also Managing Editors to the piece.