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Women Know Hockey, Stop Pretending They Don't

A look at the NHL's female talking heads and the wave of sexism they have been facing

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
The 2018 US Women's Hockey Team--Gold Medalists

Gather 'round, readers! Today is International Women's Day, and I have a story to tell.

In 2014, I watched and followed the hockey games from that year's Winter Olympics. I watched the US men's team reach the semifinals of the tournament, which are the medal rounds. We faced Canada. We lost to Canada, because of course we do. So we had to play for Bronze. We faced off against Finland. Finland beat us like we stole something. A 6-0 loss in the Bronze Medal Game, while Canada defeated Sweden to get the Gold.

Fast forward four years to the 2018 Winter Olympics. I decided beforehand that I would watch the women's hockey, and only the women's hockey. My reasons were simple: first, I had never seen women's hockey before, so my interest was piqued. Secondly, I was sick and tired of seeing the men let this country down. The US is a hockey superpower, but even with NHL ringers, we haven't really played like it since the day Al Michaels famously shouted, "Do you believe in miracles?!"

So I solely watched the women's action that year, and I got to learn about a number of the stars on that team, such as Hilary Knight, who is just amazing as hell. The top stars on that team, IMO, were the Lamoreaux Twins--Monique and Jocelyne. They are definitely the American equivalent of the Sedins, just absolutely dominant on the ice. Kendall Coyne-Schofield, loved watching her, and of course, there's Amanda Kessel. If that surname sounds familiar, it should. Amanda Kessel is the younger sister of three-time Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel. In 2018, it was the US vs Canada for the Gold, it went a shootout, and the US won it! I was so happy and elated, I stood when the anthem was played, and I was in tears--absolute joy.

Ever since then, I've been more and more upset over the unfair gender wage gap. The guys were making more than the women. Yet the women actually win for this country. So basically, the losers were making more than the winners. Yikes.

Which brings us to now--well, the last few years or so. We are seeing an increase of female talking heads in the NHL, and I've been here for it. It's not just in Canada's Sportsnet, we are seeing it here in the US as well. Yet how do we respond? With hatred. With sexism. Because despite this being 2024, we still have morons who tend to think that women don't know anything about hockey. Seriously?

Leah Hextall has been part of the ESPN crew since the 2021-22 season

The main centerpiece of the misogynistic hate has been Leah Hextall. I was familiar with Leah Hextall's work long before she joined ESPN; as she had been performing the hosting and interviewing duties on Canadian telecasts for a long while. A cousin of legendary goaltender (and one of the few Conn Smythe winners who lost a Final) Ron Hextall, Leah joined ESPN in the 2021-22 season, which was ESPN's first season airing NHL games since the 2003-04 season. Since then, she's been a sideline reporter, and she's even done some play-by-play as well. I always beam when I hear Leah on PXP, but sadly, I'm one of very few modern men out there. There are too many knuckle-draggers out there picking on Leah solely because she's not a man, despite the fact that she's out-shined a vast number of her male counterparts.

Now while Leah Hextall hasn't played the game, this woman, AJ Mleczko, has. AJ Mleczko has been working on NHL games for a good bit; having once been part of NBC's NHL coverage during their last years before joining ESPN. Yet despite the fact that she has a mean one-timer that can rival Shea Weber's, as well as the fact that she's a Gold Medalist, the members of the He-Man Woman Haters Club are on her case as well. I've read the comments basically bashing her, and they bash Jennifer Botterill as well, even though she's also shot some pucks in her career as well.

That's how hideous the sexist aura is. Any and all women who are involved in the NHL somehow are getting viciously buried by misogynists with proverbial shovels. Women such as Emily Kaplan and Leah Hextall are being subjected to this nonsense, and even the aforementioned players are being attacked as well. These cavemen need to get over themselves and just shut up. Women know hockey. Women have always known hockey. I've talked to a lot of women about this great sport. The disrespect to the women involved in hockey telecasts is, IMO, the same as disrespecting every woman who has played this great game, especially for national pride. So really, the misogynists are actually disrespecting the same women I watched win the Gold Medal for the US back in 2018. Those great women, and every woman who plays the greatest game in this world, all deserve all of the respect in the entire universe.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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Comments (11)

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  • Nala Eze2 months ago

    Thank you for the article! This is a really important topic that needed to be brought up for discussion. Many people think that in general women and "men's" sports are incompatible, but this is not the case. I myself observe so strong female players there are in the same hockey and soccer. And I started getting into it myself not so long ago. I watch the games on And I can say that women play not worse than men, sometimes even better, even their own unique techniques. So I would like more such material, you are good!

  • Andy Potts2 months ago

    I was fortunate enough to work at the Olympics in 2014 and 2018, and the USA vs Canada women's hockey games were some of the most entertaining and competitive in both tournaments. I've also worked with some great female journalists. Agree 100%: women know their hockey.

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Congrats on the TS.

  • Christina Hunter2 months ago

    Thank you for your post. I hope you are following the PWHL! Toronto is looking great, and my 12 year old daughter who plays hockey has her favourites already (Spooner and Nurse ftw!). Seeing signs in the stands by little girls saying "This is for every girl who dressed in a closet." Sadly rings true, still, for our little winger. Girls don't have dressing rooms.They get shoved in closets, shower stalls and meeting rooms while the rest of their male-teammates listen to music blaring from speakers, pumping them up. Girls are an after-thought in the sport, so it's no wonder they are treated with the same disrespect at the highest level. The PWHL is shattering the glass ceiling for these girls, who can finally say, in 2024, they have a career path in hockey. In the words of Bob Dylan, "the times they are a changin'", albeit, slowly, it's people like you that help to shift those mindsets. Thank you.

  • Gabriel Huizenga2 months ago

    Cheers to this wake-up call!! Thanks for writing this my friend.

  • Philip Gipson2 months ago

    Happy belated International Women's Day! This is a really exciting post!

  • Denise E Lindquist2 months ago

    Thank you!! My daughter played hockey in the 9th grade with a college hockey team. There wasn't much girls hockey for her at the time. She was defense. She was quick and sharp. That skill carried over as she was blocking anyone (her husband and I) from touching her babies while aspleep!😉😂 When it happened to me, I thought, that is from playing hockey as that is exactly what she reminded me of, a defense woman! She is 49 now.❤️

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Hear hear!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago


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