“‘What are you doing? You are a girl, you don’t belong here. Get off the ice.’ That’s not even the worst case,” said freshman Erin McGlynn about the first time that she was told she couldn’t play ice hockey because she was a girl.
Originally from Canada, McGlynn is following in her father’s footsteps by playing hockey. She currently plays center and is an alternate captain for the 14U Bantams San Francisco Sabercats, as well as the Sabercats’ varsity team. Both of which are in all-boy’s leagues.
Head coach of the 14U team, Zach McCoy said that McGlynn plays many roles on the team.
“She is one of our better players. She is a jack-of-all trades. She works so hard; limiting her role into one thing would be doing her a disservice,” McCoy said
Hockey is a sport that is predominantly male in the U.S. There are only three girls’ teams in the state, which is different from Canada where a whole girls’ league exists separate from the boys’ league, according to McGlynn.
McGlynn said there are times where she needs to be more level-headed and intent on playing the game rather than what is being said about her.
“I have to focus more. I can’t get distracted because there are a lot of people who are harsh and say mean comments. My teammates are great and they are really supportive, but it still bothers me,” McGlynn said. “If I don’t play well then people are going to be like, ‘She is a girl, why is she out there?’”
McCoy said that McGlynn is the first girl he has coached.
“It is a full-contact league in a league with all boys her age, so I knew she had to be tough. The all-girl leagues are non-contact and I think that separates her from other female hockey players. It takes a certain level of toughness,” McCoy said.
McGlynn feels that she needs to be more even-keeled because of a number of people who are judging her.
“I feel like [the referees] give me special treatment when I’m checked and it offends me. I don’t think they are doing it on purpose but it hurts me,” McGlynn said.
McGlynn recounted another time where she felt as if she was being looked down upon due to her gender.
“We were at a tournament and I was just about to get on the ice when parents from the other team who were on the bleachers started yelling at me to get off the ice. It made me think that, ‘Wow, people really think that,’” McGlynn said. “It makes me work a lot harder because I need to show those people that I am better than that.”
McCoy said that McGlynn has to be careful that the opponents don’t try to take advantage of her because she is a girl.
“She doesn’t allow that to happen. Like a dirty hit or something, I don’t think that happens because she is as tough as she is,” McCoy said.
McGlynn has a message for girls who want to play in predominately male sports.
“If you want to do it, you should just do it. People are not going to necessarily respect you so you have to learn to block it out because the most important thing is that you do it because you want to do it,” McGlynn said.