Women's Athletics

Ice Hockey

Womens' ice hockey has had a roller-coaster history at Western.

In 1937, women were interested in the sport and a representative was added to the Women's Athletic Committee. A team was created by the next year.

Disinterest soon followed, however, reflecting the larger trend in Canada; few universities in the 1940s and 1950s had women’s hockey teams. The popularity of men’s professional hockey made boys’ hockey more important than girls’, and war, work and other factors led to its decline.

Women's Ice Hockey, 1938

Women's first ice hockey team, 1938.  Courtesy of UWO Student Council.

There was increased interest in the 1950s but barriers remained. Girls at Western could not afford to rent the ice and were not given money to do so. But some girls were so interested in playing that they donated blood to raise the money needed to pay for the ice.

The 1960s saw further interest, especially in Ontario. Female students at universities, including Western, asked to play. In the early 1960s, hockey was added to Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union play and Western took part in the first intercollegiate invitational tournament, winning third. They placed between second and fifth for the rest of the decade. 

Women's Ice Hockey, 1962

Ice hockey was added to league in the 1960s.  Shown is the 1962 team.  Courtesy of UWO Student Council.

At the beginning of the 1970s, there were still barriers to the game as women had few fans, had to use the men’s old uniforms, and were not allowed any body contact.

By 1974-75, however, they had their own changing room, equipment, and uniforms. It did not last long though as the team was dissolved in 1977.

Women were still involved in hockey though, but had continued obstacles. In the 1980s they lost one game to Toronto 12-0 after they only received two hours of practice time a week to Toronto’s nine.

Women's Ice Hockey Skating, 1971

Women in action, skating in 1971.  Courtesy of UWO Student Council.

In the late 1990s, it was seen as the one missing sport at Western and as interest grew it was made an active sport again by 2001.

Read about men's ice hockey here.

Women's Ice Hockey, Dressing Room

By the mid-1970s women had their own dressing room and equipment. Shown here is the dressing room in 1971. Courtesy of UWO Student Council.