Misogyny and the Hockey Hall of Fame
There are a number of highly qualified, highly respected and thoughtful hockey people on the selection committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Who'd have thought they could screw up so badly?
Last week, they announced the next Hall of Fame class, and it's a good one - Glenn Anderson, Igor Larionov, linesman Ray Scapinello and the late Ed Chynoweth.
Sadly, however, the 18-member selection committee again booted the ball so badly on honouring women in the game that it has seriously discredited itself and soiled the reputation of this hockey institution.
A year ago, you could argue that the HHOF was caught flatfooted when the IIHF Hall of Fame beat it to the punch and inducted several outstanding females - Angela James, Geraldine Heaney and Cammi Granato - for their contributions to the game. Tens of thousands of women and young girls now play in the game around the world, it's been an Olympic sport for a decade and Canadian and U.S. universities are filled with outstanding student athletes focusing on the sport.
This year, however, it's clear the HHOF selection committee, by ignoring women again, is either ignorant or blatantly misogynistic. It is now deliberately going out of its way to arrogantly deny a long list of female pioneers their rightful place in the Hall just because the old boy's club wants to pretend women's hockey doesn't matter in the same way it used to pretend outstanding European players weren't suitably qualified for induction.
The worst part is that it's all a big secret. The selection committee never reveals who was nominated, how the vote went or who voted for whom.
That's what allows these people to keep women out. They never have to reveal the workings of their secret organization, never have to be accountable to anyone other than themselves. That's how the Ballards and Steins once wormed their way in.
The HHOF is, however, a public trust. People need to be able to believe that decisions on inductees are being made on a fair and equitable basis, not because somebody likes somebody or doesn't like somebody else.
That's part of what kept Anderson out for so long. It wasn't about his talent or his accomplishments. There were some on the selection committee who held a personal grudge against Anderson and simply refused to vote for him.
When it comes to women, there are some on the selection committee who have zero knowledge of the women's game, have never seen women play on a competitive level and simply don't understand the enormous contribution that many women have made to the sport.
And they're not interested in finding out.
Instead, they'll go out of their way to honour officials, bureaucrats, owners and, of course, their friends, but will make sure outstanding individuals who actually built the women's game continue to be kept out of their rightful place in the HHOF. They try to hide behind a sense of confusion over whether women should be honoured as players or builders or in some special category, but that's just a tactic that allows them to pretend they're actually considering the matter.
Excluding women from the Hall is no longer an understandable oversight. It's now simple chauvinism exhibited by people who are supposed to be caretakers of the sport, not political bagmen doling out patronage.
Keeping women out of the HHOF is insulting to women and a great game. Those responsible should do the right thing and resign their positions.