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Women's hockey

Excerpts from rinks diaries

January 12 2010, e-mail from T.K. to CityRinks

I went to Ramsden last night (Monday) in hopes of catching some beginner women's shinny, but the hockey pad was occupied by a very fast-paced, advanced group of guys. I and a couple of other women who showed up for the same thing were told by the staff person there that the schedule on the City website is wrong and there is no women's slot on Mondays, but there is one on Tuesdays (at the same time, 7-9, as I understood). I am not even sure if this information is correct, but perhaps you may know whom to contact to get a certain answer and amend your online schedule as necessary. It is pretty irritating that the City posts an erroneous schedule and then does not bother to fix it. This is a good way to kill a women's slot: first post a wrong schedule, and then when no one shows up on the "right" date claim that women are not interested in playing shinny, so ice time should be taken away from them. If you could let me know whom I could contact to have this fixed, it would be helpful.

January 13 2010, e-mail from D.C. to CityRinks:

I called Ramsden Park to verify the time for the Womens Shinny Beginner and it has moved to Tuesday nights from 7pm 845pm.

I was there last night and there were about 5 women and mostly men playing during our time. The shinny game started out friendly but got more aggressive and fast.

January 13 2010, e-mail from CityRinks to Recreation Supervisor Tino DeCastro:

Can you bring this to the attention of the Ramsden supervisor? The problem now is one of enforcement of the schedule. If it's women's shinny, no men on the ice, right? Otherwise low numbers are guaranteed, as the word gets around.

January 13 2010, D.C. to CityRinks

I just spoke with Peter Lewis and advised him of the situation. He ensured me that the ice is for women and regardless of the number of women on the ice no one else has the time.

He is planning on going to the rink on Thursday and next Tuesday to remind the employees of their responsibility.

January 20, 2010, an e-mail from a rink user to Recreation supervisor Peter Lewis, cc'd to cityrinks

Mr. Lewis

Last night (January 19) I came out to Ramsden Rink to take advantage of the women's shinny time slot. First the good news: It was a huge success. We had 7 women come out to play, almost all of whom were first or second year hockey players - ie true beginners. All the women got to handle the puck a lot, practise their passing skills and shots. All the women said they enjoyed the shinny time immensely and the grins on their faces backed that up.

Now the not so good news: As the zamboni finished cleaning the hockey pad shortly after 7 pm, the guys were lined up to go back inside. When I spoke up and said that it was the women's shinny time slot I was immediately barraged by statements such as "well, how many women are there? The women in the change room said it was okay." And from a parent - "How can you deny my son (I'm guessing the son was round age 6) from playing?" etc etc. At that point I started to look for the rink staff who turned out to be one of the guys in this group - he had nothing visible to identify him as rink staff so I'm taking his word for it. He stated that last week the women had allowed the men to play. I said that was last week, and this week was different, and skated onto the ice.

The guys then remained at the gate to the hockey pad and proceeded to barrage each of the women as they came onto the ice. Literally the women had to run a gauntlet.

As we started our shinny game, the guys moved onto the pleasure skating pad and proceeded to pass the puck around on the pleasure pad. I believe I saw your rink staff person among them. A few of them stood at the fence and continued to argue that they should be allowed on. At one point, I was carrying the puck up the ice and these individuals started boo-ing. The situation pretty much continued until 8:25 when the zamboni came onto the ice again - even though we are scheduled to have the ice until 8:45. And I would have thought that the 15 minute slot between the women's shinny time and the 9 pm permit would have allowed enough time for maintenance. I also noted that all but two of the pleasure skaters left the ice by the time we headed into the change room.

I was also out last Tuesday (January 12) and it was true that we did agree to allow the guys to play with us. However, it was a disaster. The game was quite fast and agressive and the guys basically ignored us. I had left after about 30 minutes, having only touched the puck once or twice. It was completely inappropriate for beginner players - they didn't stand a chance and they gained nothing from the experience. This week was much more successful and simply demonstrates that this time slot is necessary to nurture these beginner players.

But this harrassment, and I do believe that what I've described above falls under the definition of harrassment, has to STOP. I am making you aware of this situation to enlist your help in stopping it.

Thursday January 21, 2010


January 21, 2010, e-mail from Deirdre Norman to Recreation Manager Kelvin Seow

It seems that when the women show up to take their allotted time they are not supported by rink staff and are harassed by the other rink users. The women have experienced verbal and physical intimidation. This is unacceptable at all levels and I am asking for you to take immediate steps to resolve this.

When we experienced similar harassment at Wallace, Tino acted immediately to ensure the safety of the women players as well as providing support for the staff at the rink who perhaps found themselves unsure of how to address the situation. We have never had significant problems since.

In no way is this kind of behaviour acceptable. Women are often too intimidated to come back. As someone who has been physically threatened by other rink users I want to assure you that this is not a misunderstanding. But I also know that it is a problem that can be solved with the right support.

Though I usually skate at Dufferin on Tuesdays I will be at Ramsden next week and I ask that you come out and see what is really going on. I would invite you to join us for a skate but it is women-only!

January 21, 2010, reply from Recreation manager Kelvin Seow to Deirdre Norman

I can assure you I am taking this issue very seriously. The harassment will stop. The type of behaviour that is described in the email is absolutely inappropriate and unacceptable. Rink staff will be provided with clear direction on expectations regarding supporting the women players. We will have a full time staff out to the next women's shinny time slot to provide support. I will also try to come out.

E-mail from F.R. to CityRinks Feb.3 2010

I am writing to let you know what a fun time friends and I had at the women's shinny session at Ramsden park yesterday evening. This is the second week that I've made it out for the Tues evening women's shinny at Ramsden and it has been great both times. There's a good turn-out, at least 15 women, ranging from complete beginners to more experienced players. Everyone plays well together, encouraging the beginner players and making sure that everyone gets involved in the play. There is a really nice friendly atmosphere about the whole evening. As it was snowing while we played the rink staff did a quick scrape of the ice surface with the zamboni halfway through our time while we kept warm in the change area. It pretty much stopped snowing then so we had nice clean ice for the last 45 min. It is really great to be able to play shinny with other women who just want to come out and have some fun and develop their skills. I hope to get back for many more of these Tues evening sessions this year.

In the media:

posted on November 16, 2009

Mayor's office should butt out of ice-time debate

Brouhaha over access by girls hocket teams to city-owned arenas isn't about gender discrimination, but an exercise by those with connections

By: Christie Blatchford
Published: Nov. 16, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail

Despite the headlines and mayoral hysteria of last week, what this isn't is Title IX, Canadian edition.

The current brouhaha over access by the Leaside Toronto Girls Hockey Association to ice time at city-owned arenas is not a story of gender inequity or discrimination, as was the famous law in the United States, which in 1972 opened the doors to equal treatment for girls and women attending federally funded schools.


posted on November 16, 2009

Ice those sexism charges

By: Marcus Gee
Published: November 14, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail

You have to give the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association credit for political smarts. Finding itself fighting for ice time on the city's overbooked rinks, it pulled out that ace of aces, the sexism card.

The 900-member association wrote a letter to Mayor David Miller threatening to launch a human-rights complaint for sex discrimination unless the city makes sure the girls get their share of ice. The mayor rushed to the mikes to promise that he would correct this monstrous injustice, even if it meant taking the issue to a vote at city council.


posted on November 16, 2009

Miller names three rinks limiting access to women

Published: Nov. 12, 2009
Source: CTV

"Faced with complaints from women's hockey teams who say they're squeezed for ice time, Mayor David Miller said yesterday three city rinks aren't allowing equal access.

His comments came after the 900-member Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association threatened to launch a discrimination complaint against the city over ice time.

Mr. Miller said boards at North Toronto, Forest Hill and Leaside rinks aren't following the rules. "The policies are very clear: Girls are entitled to access the rinks and entitled to equal access and they should be given it," he said. CTV"

Women's Shinny Stories

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Content last modified on February 03, 2010, at 09:02 PM EST