Granato and James to be first women in Hall Of Fame

posted by The First Line
Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 3:44pm EST

A blog about women's hockey at all levels: pro, college, prep. News and notes from around hockey, as well as college profiles, player interviews, etc.

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Tomorrow’s induction ceremony marks the long overdue introduction of women into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  First Bruce Bennett/Gettyin the class are American Cammi Granato and Canadian Angela James.  Illinois native Granato spent her youth prior to the rise of organized women’s hockey playing on boys’ teams (something that is still a popular choice for elite female players), and then gave up the sport in high school before accepting a scholarship to Providence.  Despite college being her first experience with all-women’s hockey, Granato was an immediate star and still holds Friars’ records for career points, goals, and single-season points.  She played in the first women’s world championship and the first Olympic hockey competition for women at Nagano in 1998, leading the USA to gold as captain.  Essentially, Granato is the Mia Hamm of American hockey and richly deserves being honored as a Hall of Fame Inductee.

Likewise, James played a crucial role in the development of women’s hockey in Canada.  Because of the sport’s central place in Canadian culture, women have faced unique barriers to breaking into a sacred boys’ club.  James, who grew up in Toronto, made hockey her life from an early age and played for Ontario’s Seneca College and Ontario’s provincial team before starring with Team Canada from its inception.  She eventually earned six MVP awards from the Ontario Women’s Hockey League and  watched participation in Canadian girls’ hockey rise from 8,000 to 85,000 players.  Unfortunately, she was denied her chance to represent Canada in the Nagano Olympics.  James now coaches the Brampton team in the CWHL.  It is interesting that in the publicity I’ve seen, no one has mentioned that James is a person of color, which is something hockey makes a huge deal out of in the men’s game.  I would think it is even more significant in this case, providing a double role model opportunity for young Canadian girls.  Congratulations to these two pioneers of the game, whose achievements stand on their own without male hockey’s imprimature, but it’s nice that they’ve finally gotten it anyway.

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