1992: Manon Rhéaume becomes first woman to play pro hockey
Throughout history, "ladies" were discouraged from participating in team sports because it was thought competition would lead to "manly" behaviours. But thanks to pioneering athletes such as Bobbie Rosenfeld, Nancy Greene and Hayley Wickenheiser, young women now have the freedom to participate and excel in any sport — be it track, skiing or hockey. These women not only excelled in their chosen fields but were instrumental in shattering stereotypes of the female athlete.
• At 19, she became the first woman to play in a major junior hockey game, skating for the Trois-Rivières Draveurs, a men's team from Quebec.
• Despite her team's 6-4 loss to St. Louis, Rhéaume led her team on the ice to a standing ovation from the crowd at Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall.
• "I was very nervous. I didn't think about being the first woman. I thought about doing my best and concentrating on the puck." -- Manon Rhéaume in the Toronto Star, Sept. 24, 1992
• When asked if it was all a publicity stunt, former NHL great and Lightning general manager Phil Esposito admitted: "I'd be a liar to say I wasn't using this for publicity. But I don't care if she is a woman. If there were a horse with skates and it could stop a puck, I'd put it in there." -- in People Weekly, Sept. 28, 1992
• After the exhibition game, Rhéaume was offered and accepted a contract to play for the team's minor league affiliate.
• She was bounced around to various minor league teams before ending up in a roller-hockey league.
• In 1996, she made history again when she played for the Sacramento River Rats of Roller Hockey International and became the first female goalie to defeat a male goalie in a RHI game.
• Rhéaume was part of Canada's first women's Olympic hockey team, which won silver at the 1998 Olympics.
• In 2002, Rhéaume coached "Mission Betty" -- the first all-girl squad to compete in the Quebec international hockey tournament, the world's biggest peewee competition.
• In 1992, Rhéaume published an autobiography, Manon: Alone In Front Of The Net.
• The 5 foot 6 inch, 135 lb Rhéaume turned down a $50,000 offer to pose for Playboy magazine.
• Rhéaume lives in California with her son Dylan, coaching and working for a hockey equipment company.
Program: CBC at Six
Broadcast Date: Sept. 24, 1992
Guests: Philippe Cantin, Jacques Demers, Manon Rhéaume, Patrick Roy
Reporter: Scott Russell
Last updated: January 30, 2014
Page consulted on December 5, 2014
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