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Investigating the Phenomenon of Women’s Recreational Hockey Players


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How many times have you been lugging your equipment bag into an arena at 9 pm on a weeknight and wondered, “What the heck am I doing here?  I have kids, I have work tomorrow, and I have so many other adult responsibilities calling me.”  Yet, we do it week in and week out because we love the sport—the exercise, the camaraderie, and the challenge of becoming a better hockey player. 

We know why we play, and we know what obstacles we’ve faced to learn the sport and find time to play.  Yet, this information has never been quantified and documented in a way that demonstrates our importance and viability as a population in the world of sports.  We’re virtually ignored by companies and organizations that market to hockey players.  For example, when was the last time you had an easy time finding hockey protective equipment specifically designed for the adult female body?

Fortunately, researchers at two Canadian universities are doing just that—surveying adult women who play hockey to determine what motivates us, the challenges we face on the ice, and the impediments we encounter off the ice.  Denyse Lafrance Horning (Nipissing University) and Dr. Norm O’Reilly (University of Ottawa) are conducting the survey to present the results in a report that will be presented at the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) conference in Seattle in May.  You will find the link to the online survey below.

Ms. Lafrance Horning developed the project out of a personal interest—she has played hockey at the recreational level, coached hockey, and has two daughters who currently play competitively.  “The popularity of hockey is not just happening at the youth and elite levels. There are many adult women who are now choosing to play the game of hockey, regardless of their youth experience. The purpose of this research is to learn more about this phenomenon,” explained Lafrance Horning.  “To my knowledge very little attention has been devoted to this growing segment of women rec hockey players,” she added.

Results will be shared with organizations that seek to improve women’s recreational hockey participation and women’s hockey at all levels. 

Even though the online survey was only recently launched, Lafrance Horning has already learned much from the responses of the survey and from the stories of survey participants who have contacted her directly.  She remarked, “Each [story] is unique and inspirational.  I look forward to hearing many more and to increasing the overall awareness and promotion of this great game!”

So, if you are a female who currently plays recreational hockey, take a few minutes to click on the link below and complete the survey.  The survey should take less than ten minutes to complete, and no personally-identifying information about you is collected or solicited.

Please help these researchers to help our unique and valuable segment of the women’s recreational sports world, and pass the link on to other women recreational hockey players you know!

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