On this year’s edition of International Women’s Day, a novice-level girls’ hockey team from Gatineau, Quebec spent the day wishing they were showing how powerful they were on the ice. Instead, they weren’t allowed at the tournament they’d entered in. Why? According to the team’s head coach, Sylvain Perrier, it’s because they were better than the boy’s teams in their division.
Prior to the tournament, the Gatineau Dynamites girl’s team took to the ice in an exhibition game against the Les Cougars de Gatineau, a boy’s team they would be playing against in the tournament. The Dynamites won the game 7-0, indicating to some that the girls were more than capable of winning the “C” division of the upcoming tournament. This wasn’t okay with some people, and the league began getting complaints about the Dynamites taking part in the tournament.
The President of Hockey Gatineau, Luc Gauthier claimed that all other divisions were full and said he would leave the girls in the “C” division. He told them a week before the tournament, though that they were no longer allowed to play in the tournament.
Rather than re-tell the story, we wanted to share the reaction from Dynamites’ head coach Sylvain Perrier (who reached out to us to share the team’s story), as well as the Dynamites’ players and their parents. You can read the full story on the Gatineau Dynamites and find quotes from Luc Gauthier, the President of Hockey Gatineau in this article.
THOUGHTS FROM THE HEAD COACH
Here’s what Sylvain Perrier had to say on the situation:
What was the initial response you received from the league when you asked to be moved up to the “B” category of the tournament?
The next day ( February 17) after beating the boys team 7-0, the president of Hockey Gatineau, Luc Gauthier called me and said that he had gotten 7-8 complaints from parents of the other team about us. He asked if we were that good and I said it was hard to tell just with one game and that the team we played, Les cougars de Gatineau, were a .500 team in their league. I asked him if he wanted us to move up to “B” then and he said that we were probably not good enough for “B” and that we’re probably too strong for “C”. He said, “I’ll keep you guys in the “C” and I will deal with the complaints.
As head coach, what was your reaction when you learned your team wouldn’t be playing in the tournament afterall?
I was crushed, mad, disappointed. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. WOW. I can’t believe in 2019 this is really gonna happen. I was asking myself if we lost 7-0 would they have been kicked out?
What do you wish would’ve been done differently by the league to ensure this didn’t happen?
That they didn’t set us up with an exhibition game just because we’re a girl’s team, that we shouldn’t be treated differently. I can almost bet that not one boys team in that tournament was asked to play an exhibition game to see how strong they are.
What do you hope the hockey world as a whole can learn from this situation?
Yes GIRLS can play hockey and yes GIRLS are good.
THOUGHTS FROM THE PLAYERS
“I was sad and disappointed that we couldn’t play in the tournament. I dont think it’s fair. On top of that, there was a team that won their games by high scores during the tournament and they didn’t get kicked out.” – Lorie Bennard #11 RW
“It felt good to play hard and win the game against the boys. But then it felt bad when they complained about us. Like omg if we had of lost that bad to them we still would have gone out and played our hearts out in the tournament.” – Jordan Dell (8 years old) #66 LW
“It made me mad and sad. It’s rare we get to play against boys, I would of loved to play in that tournament.” – Coralie Perrier (8 years old) #99 C
THOUGHTS FROM THE PARENTS
“I was upset, flabbergasted and mad when I received the call announcing us the decision that they made of kicking us out of the tournament. I couldn’t believe it was possible that a Hockey Association would bend under pressure from their own coaches and parents and prevent 12 girls of 8 and 9 years old to play hockey. I was also very disappointed that they haven’t tried to find us a spot in the higher category. We have been treated very badly in the sad story.” – Catherine Quevillon
I’m sad to be writing this article in 2019, but I also feel that it’s an important situation to shed light on. Girls and women shouldn’t be made to feel wrong for being strong or, in this case, for being better than boys their age. I truly hope that the eight and nine-year-old girls on the Dynamites team continue to believe in themselves, in their abilities, and in their right to play hockey.
All quotes and image obtained from Sylvain Perrier