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ARCHIVED - Backcheck: a Hockey Retrospective

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Women's Hockey

"Women's Hockey: A Proud Past, A Bright Future", an essay by Brian McFarlane

Isobel Stanley, the graceful skater in white, was the daughter of the Stanley Cup's donor, Lord Stanley of Preston. This remarkable snapshot, taken at Ottawa's Rideau Hall, residence of the Governor General of Canada, is thought to be the earliest photograph ever taken of women playing hockey.

Earliest known photograph of women playing hockey, taken at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, circa 1890. Isobel Stanley, Lord Stanley's daughter, is wearing white
As a star with the Ottawa Alerts, Eva Ault was one of the best-known women hockey players.

Eva Ault, January 1917
1917 Queen's University team. Back: Flora E. Abernethy, Nelida Vessot, Jessie McArthur. Middle: Muriel E. Whalley, Charlotte Whitton, Bessie Farrell. Front: Bernice Clapp.

Queen's University hockey team, Kingston, Ontario, 1917
In 1955, at age eight, Ab (Abby) Hoffman cut her hair short and joined a boys' hockey team as a defenseman. Everyone thought she was a boy, until just before an all-star game that required players to submit their birth certificates. When her secret was revealed, Abby became an overnight sensation. Soon other young women began trying out for boys' teams.

Abby Hoffman, 1955

Visit the website ARCHIVED - Backcheck: Hockey for Kids