Joy Drop: It was a rough week for women's sports naysayers

CBC Sports Senior Contributor Shireen Ahmed's weekly roundup of the things that struck her from the week that was.

CBC Sports' senior contributor Shireen Ahmed on the week's happier moments

The Toronto Six celebrate in a team photo with the Isobel Cup
The Toronto Six captured their first Premier Hockey Federation title with a 4-3 overtime win over the Minnesota Whitecaps on Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. (The Toronto Six)

What week of joy and happiness! Friends, there are a few huge pieces of joy that were brought forth through ice, the pool and on the mats. I'm brimming with excitement about the following stories. 

I will start with the Toronto Six winning the PHF championship last Sunday. Not only was the Isobel Cup game a nail-biter that went into OT, it was a moment for Canadian women's hockey to be proud of.

Over the last few years, I have attended a number of Toronto Six games and the crowds have grown to a committed fan base and the vibe is excellent.

To see this organization grow, and be successful is something very important in the women's hockey community. 

WATCH | Toronto Six capture 1st women's hockey championship:

Toronto Six capture first women's hockey championship

2 months ago
Duration 2:04
The Toronto Six captured its first championship title, the Isobel Cup, after three years in the Premier Hockey Federation, a women's professional ice hockey league. Players are hoping the trophy will shine a light on women’s hockey.

Next up were some epic results from the pool at the Canadian Swimming Trials. Summer MacIntosh smashed the world record in the 400-metre freestyle and then continued by topping her own world junior record in the 200m individual medley. Josh Liendo and Maggie MacNeil also dominated in their events. 

I also want to share this beautiful story from my CBC Sports colleague Devin Heroux about Maggie Mac Neil's journey back from taking a year off to prioritize her mental health. This is just a continuation of Mac Neil's journey in the pool and out of it, but sharing that she needed to take time off is important.

"I realize everyone goes through struggles and it's OK to have those struggles," she said.

The fact that she isn't shying away from addressing mental health struggles and needing to adapt her schedule to it, may be helping other athletes. Healing for each person is different and I'm grateful that she invested in herself.

Skylar Park shines

I saw a great segment on CBC Kids with Skylar Park, the Taekwondo phenom from Winnipeg. Park explains the history and culture of Taekwondo. It's a fun segment and her energy is infectious.

Park finished her most recent season with a bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Let's talk about how amazing women's college basketball is. It brought me a lot of happiness to learn that the viewership numbers for the NCAA women's basketball playoffs are decimating the men's. The reason this matters is because for far too long, the narrative that no one watches women's sports was dominating sports culture.

This tournament is flipping that on its head, and rightfully so. We've reached the final four and the excitement is unreal. The tickets for the women's games are more expensive than the men's games. 

Just some fun data for the naysayers. 

Last and not least … dates! As the month of Ramadan continues I have had quite a few designer dates! This particular dried fruit is a natural superfood and Muslims eat one to break the fast. Medjool (Moroccan but grown in the Middle East, South Asian and Africa) and Mazafati (Iranian) dates are the most popular in my home.

There are a few women in the Greater Toronto Area and in other cities across Canada who prepare premium chocolate covered dates, stuffed dates and date truffles. Dates have been traditional used in sticky toffee pudding but this newer trend to stuff them with nuts or coat them in chocolate is one of my favourite things. When you have been fasting all day, to be able to taste this rich, delicious date combined with nuts are not only packed with protein but a delight and treasure for the tastebuds.

I hope you have a delicious weekend and a super week ahead! 


Shireen Ahmed

Senior Contributor

Shireen Ahmed is a multi-platform sports journalist, a TEDx speaker, mentor, and an award-winning sports activist who focuses on the intersections of racism and misogyny in sports. She is an industry expert on Muslim women in sports, and her academic research and contributions have been widely published. She is co-creator and co-host of the “Burn It All Down” feminist sports podcast team. In addition to being a seasoned investigative reporter, her commentary is featured by media outlets in Canada, the USA, Europe and Australia. She holds an MA in Media Production from Toronto Metropolitan University where she now teaches Sports Journalism and Sports Media. You can find Shireen tweeting or drinking coffee, or tweeting about drinking coffee. She lives with her four children and her cat.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now