NHL female officials are being considered after both the NBA and NFL were the first professional sports leagues to introduce them. The story broke late Saturday Evening on "The Score.com" via a report by Damien Cox during the broadcast of "Hockey Night in Canada".Re: NHL female officials from TheScore.com,
"They're in the NFL and the NBA. They had a camp during the summer, they had an applicant there," Cox said.
Cox added that NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom welcomes both male and female applicants.
The NFL hired its first full-time female official, Sarah Thomas, in April.
These are still just baby steps, but it's a positive move in the right direction to getting females more involved in professional sports. Over time, we've seen some involvement of female executives in all of our major professional sports leagues, both past and present. It's only a matter of time before we start seeing more involvement from women on the coaching side. Opening those doors this past offseason, Jennifer Welter was hired as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and preseason for NFL's Arizona Cardinals.
We haven't seen any female general managers in major professional sports in North America, but surely it's only a matter of time, right? Let's not forget that females make up the majority in demographics for NFL fans. Most of the other major sports range with at least 35% of fans being made up by females. With such a large volume of intelligible women following pro sports, it only makes sense that we see more and more involvement.
Even though the NHL has moved a little slower in comparison to the NFL and NBA for female involvement in their leagues (officiating, executives, etc.), the NHL is still the only mens professional league in North America to have had a female suit up and play. As many remember, back in 1992, goaltender Manon Rheaume was signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay Lightning, and appeared in exhibition games. She had a storied career that ended with a silver medal in Nagano representing Team Canada's women's team.
See photos of Manon Rheaume:
Hayley Wickenheiser made history of her own after being the first women first to record in men's professional hockey after spending some time overseas playing in Sweden. These are the type of captivating stories that inspire young females to get involved in sports at an early age. It's great for our professional sports and mens leagues, bringing more fans and involvement to better diversify our leagues.
Not only that though, as more females we have getting involved in sports, the better quality product that can be offered to draw fans, and ultimately open up the door for females to earn a living playing sports just as equally as men do. Women's hockey is an excellent example. The powerhouses of the sport are Canada and United States, and we've seen a spike in popularity over the years during international competition. When the two countries match-up, it makes for an exciting chippy game of hockey, and the talent level is on full display.
However you may feel about the increased involvement of females in men's professional sports, one thing is indisputable. It can only be good for everyone involved, a virtual win-win situation. Our major sports leagues are not going to hire unqualified women just to add diversity (as some people have suggested in the past). These females are smart and capable, and that's why leagues like the NFL and NBA have hired them. Some may fear whether or not a female could keep up with the fast paced skating of the NHL, but if you've ever watched these ladies play, the answers is, yes easily. It shouldn't be long now before we see NHL female officials.