2013 HHOF Profile: Geraldine Heaney

geraldine_heaney

Women’s hockey has rarely received the same respect as the men’s version of the game but recently they have been entering the conversation among the NHLers. The women’s game is very different from the other version of the game and that is why it is hard for many fans to adapt. The women’s game does not have the same overt physicality as the men’s game and usually is not as fast as the men’s game. This is exactly what attracts many fans to hockey as the speed and physical play are the favorite parts of hockey for many. This is not entirely true as there are some fantastic women’s players who use their size the right way in games. Some of the bigger women may not lay another player out but they will press the opposition and will get away with using their physical superiority to get through other women. Then there are a number of smaller women who have the speed and the ability to get past everyone and make fantastic plays. It may not have the level of physicality or speed that the men’s game has but there is plenty to get excited about in women’s hockey. Added to this the women’s game must deal with the fact that there is little to no competition for who the best teams are. With the women’s game the major league is through the IIHF and through the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics. There are no major women’s leagues that get any type of recognition and so it comes down to international competition to make a mark. In these competitions will almost always come down to two teams in the end as the USA and Canada are the only powers in women’s hockey. Many of the other traditional powers in hockey do not have the same level of competition because their infrastructure is based on the men’s game. Through cultural differences and funds available European countries do not provide their women with enough to truly make a difference in the competition. The attempts are there to make women’s hockey more competitive and bring that skill level up to try to make it something that people want to watch. As the work is being done to try to make the game more competitive the respect for those who played has increased. Naturally the first women to break through and earn this respect were through the USA and Canadian systems. It will happen once again this year as another woman will make her way to the Hockey Hall of Fame as the third woman to enter the hall.

Geraldine Heaney will have the honour of being only the third woman to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. She will join the likes of Angela James and Cammi Granato to represent the women’s game for their own contributions to the history of hockey. The game cannot be written without the women’s game especially when it comes to the Canadian version of the game. Although she will be joining former inductees from women’s hockey Heaney will take the honour of being the first female defenceman elected to the hall. It is for good reason too as Heaney would be one of the best defenceman in the women’s game. As with most women’s players the only way to judge their abilities is through the international game and Heaney would have a great international career. In her first 7 world cups Heaney would win the gold all seven times in one of the biggest periods of dominance for the Canadian women. Heaney would be the only player to play for every one of those seven gold medal teams putting her mark on the tournament especially in 1992 and 1994 when she was named the best defenceman in the tournament. Heaney was a defenceman who loved to come up with the puck, as evident by her 27 goals in international play. She was good at it too as she has often been nicknamed the female Bobby Orr. As one of the best blueliners in every tournament Heaney was a constant on the Canadian team for every tournament. That included two Olympic Games where she would earn a gold and a silver in 2002 and 1998 respectively. Heaney will join a very small group that is only getting bigger as more and more women are being recognized for their contributions to the game. Although the women are now getting more recognition the three members have set a high standard for who deserves to make it in but they are sure to be joined by more women in the near future with the women’s game gaining more respect every year.

 

Geraldine Heaney, D (1990-2002)
Canadian Women’s National Team (1990-2002)
120 GP
27 G
64 A
91 PTS
61 PIM
Olympic Gold Medalist (2002)
Olympic Silver Medalist (1998)
7-Time Women’s World Championship Gold Medalist (1990-1994, 1997, 1999-2001)
IIHF Pacific Rim Champion (1996)
3-Time 3 Nations Cup Champion (1997, 1998, 2001)
4 Nations Cup Champion (2000)
2-Time IIHF Women’s World Championship Best Defenceman (1992, 1994)
IIHF Women’s World Championship All-Star Team (1992)

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