The Misogynists Fight Back
Perhaps it was just a pause.
Or an outrageous oversight that will be quickly addressed and corrected.
If neither is the cause, how appalling and embarrassing for the secret society that is the Hockey Hall of Fame to go back to ruthlessly excluding women from it's honored ranks.
Wasn't this battle fought and decided already?
It was three years ago, after all, that the HHOF announced that in addition to have up to four male players inducted - note: in addition to, not in place of - there would annually also be room for up to two female players.
It was a compromise. The old white men running the establishment were never going to even attempt to put women on the same footing as men. Even in being dragged kicking and screaming into the new millenium, they needed to make sure women were treated in a separate category. Fine. If the point was to recognize the enormous contributions of women to the sport, particularly in the last three decades, it was a necessary compromise to make.
In 2010, Cammi Granato and Angela James became the first two women so honored in a group alongside Dino Ciccarelli, Doc Seaman and Jimmy Devallano. A barrier had been broken, and it seemed clear the obvious backlog of strong female candidates would start to be addressed.
Well, apparently not.
Last year, the quartet of Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mark Howe and Ed Belfour was inducted, a deserving group.
But no women.
This year, it was Mats Sundin, Adam Oates, Pavel Bure and Joe Sakic.
But no women. Again, none of Sundin, Oates, Bure or Sakic would have had to have been excluded to include a woman.
Now, we already knew the secret-handshake boys of the HHOF generally have no real regard for the women's game. In being forced into accepting women in the first place, they were being paternalistic at best, patronizing at worst.
There, there, they seemed to be saying, we've let two women in. Now let us go back to doing what we really believe in, which has generally been to make sure cronies and those who play ball get in and others are kept out. (If someone can possibly explain why Brendan Shanahan and his 656 career goals were not found Hall worthy this year, I'd love to hear it. But, of course, the super-secret HHOF never explains itself.)
Now, it's like they let a couple of girls in to the NHL treehouse but left the "Boys Only!" sign up.
Nobody says there have to be as many men as women. No one is screaming for equality in numbers. No one is saying great NHL or international male players should be excluded so that women can enter the hall. No one is saying the HHOF even has to eliminate the obvious old boys network that got the likes of Harold Ballard and Gil Stein (briefly) inducted. Although it should.
But there was an understanding that having excluded women for so long, there would be a real effort to address the backlog. There's a long list of worthy candidates that has been published here and elsewhere. You could put one in the HHOF every year for a decade and the backlog would have been addressed in a meaningful way.
It wouldn't reduce the profile of the Hall. It would enchance it, make the HHOF richer by embracing the sport beyond just men.
Yet now here we are, three years after the HHOF changed the rules, and the last two draft classes have included ZERO women. Are they now saying only Granato and James were worthy, and since then they haven't been able to unearth another quality female inductee?
When you look at the all-male, 18-member selection committee listed on the HHOF home page, of course, it's not that surprising women continue to be ignored. The group includes Jim Gregory, Pat Quinn, Scotty Bowman, David Branch, Brian Burke, Colin Campbell, John Davidson, Mike Gartner, Anders Hedberg, Igor Larionov, Lanny McDonald, Serge Savard, Peter Stastny and Bill Torrey. As well, the committee includes media members Michael Farber, Eric Duhatschek, Marc de Foy and Mike Emrick.
None of the people on the committee have the slightest official connection as a player or executive to women's hockey. At least Duhatschek and Farber have written about the sport, particularly Duhatschek, who has covered women's hockey extensively. Under Burke's administration, it should also be noted, the Maple Leafs have agreed to sponsor the Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
But until there's a female voice and vote on the selection committee, this unfairness, it would seem, will continue. Put one of James, Granato, Cassie Campbell, Manon Rheaume, Daniele Sauvageau, Margot Page, Therese Brisson or Geraldine Heaney on the committee and at least you would have someone with intimate knowledge of the women's game to seriously consider the qualifications of female candidates.
Until that happens, injustice would continue, it would appear.
It's a shame, really. So much good done in 2009 has already been undone.
only two teams
not just about Olympic hockey