Statue outside Hockey Hall of Fame highlights unequal playing field for women

A new temporary statue sits outside the Hockey Hall of Fame highlighting the unequal playing field for women in the sport. Lindsay Dunn talks to four-time Olympian Jayna Hefford about what change she wants to see in the profession.

By Lindsay Dunn

“How do we increase the conversation around visibility for women and representation? And this is just a really unique way, I think, to do it..”

2018 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee Jayna Hefford has been pushing for an equal playing field for women in sports for decades.

The four-time Olympian is now the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) Operations Consultant. Along with Budweiser, they unveiled a temporary statue across from the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto on Monday morning.

“We hope it replicates the fearless girl in New York and people want to come down and see it and spark that conversation around how we can increase visibility for women in our sport?”

The statue is over 6 feet tall and 12 feet long with the slogan ‘This game is for us all.’

“I think there is a lot of change happening, certainly, but I think at the end of the day, we want this game to grow. We want it to be healthy, we want it to evolve, and that means we need to bring everyone into the mix. We want everyone to feel a part of this sport feel like they could have a future in it, whether it’s as a player, a fan, or as an executive. And that’s how we are going to keep the sport healthy.”

Hefford was inducted in the same class as current NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who has been under intense security for his handling and reaction to the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal.

“I think every sports executive and people in leadership positions have to reflect on their place, their experiences, and the cultures they are creating, and I think that’s fair across the board. So we all know that there are problems that we need to address in our sport and outside of our sport.”

The mother of three is hoping this statue will create meaningful conversation that leads to change.

“We continue the conversation, understand the importance of growing our sport, and 50 percent of our population is female and we want young girls to feel like they could have a future in the game again, whether that’s as a player or as an executive, or as a coach or as a fan. We want this game to grow, and we want to see a lot of a lot more women in it and feel like they have a place in it.”

The PWHPA’s first Secret Dream Gap tour event is in Nova Scotia this weekend where some of North America’s top female hockey stars will showcase their talents as they push towards their mission of creating a professional environment for women to play and to be professional hockey players.

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