Dear Blackhawks: Your Proposed New Ice Arena in Chicago Needs to Include Us

Dear Blackhawks: Your Proposed New Ice Arena in Chicago Needs to Include Us

Female hockey players exist. Most of the rinks I have skated at do not seem to understand that we play hockey, too. In my less than two years on the ice, I have put on my equipment in some strange places since there was no locker room for women. Forget showers or even a sink, just getting a place to change is a challenge. While the men have had locker rooms, at various rinks I have put on my gear in the first aid room, the lost and found, a storage closet, the ladies toilets, the stands and behind rubber tarps hung in a corner next to the ice.

I do not understand why the sports world seems to believe that half of humanity does not exist. Women who grew up playing sports are trained to expect the locker room inequality. They don’t even question it. Women who grew up playing sports have told me consistent stories of changing in their parents’ cars before games and in the back of school buses, behind sheets taped to the glass by their coaches.

The Blackhawks are building a new ice arena and training facility in Chicago which will be available for the local hockey community. Can the design include enough room for females? Would this be the first rink to give female players equal space? Will you do this for future generations? Equal space would be an encouragement for women and girls in the sport. I should not have to feel that getting to shower after a game is a luxury. I want younger females to have equal representation in a facility, a right to exist.

On my part, I promise to not leave long hairs in the sink, spit chewing gum the in showers or discard Axe body wash bottles on the floor.

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