International Ice Hockey Federation

WW Top 25 Stories: #5

WW Top 25 Stories: #5

First women inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame

Published 31.03.2015 10:22 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
WW Top 25 Stories: #5
The three women Angela James, Cammi Granato and Geraldine Heaney (L-R) at the 2008 IIHF Hall of Fame induction ceremony together with Philippe Bozon, Art Berglund and Igor Larionov. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images
17 May 2008. Typically the IIHF Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets in November.

Its members elect those Players and Builders who will be inducted during the ceremonies which take place annually during the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in May.

But in November 2007, the meetings took on added significance because the 2008 Induction Ceremonies would be part of the IIHF’s 100th anniversary celebrations, and the World Championship was to be played for the first time in Canada (Quebec City, Halifax).

The Selection Committee had no trouble agreeing to add Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Philippe Bozon, and Art Berglund to its pantheon of greats, but when the subject of women came up, they realized they were making history.

The Committee decided on two Canadians and one American for the players’ contributions to the women’s game. Geraldine Heaney and Angela James of the host nation were joined by adversary and long-respected American, Cammi Granato.

“I am immensely happy that we have reached the phase in hockey history when we rightfully can induct women to the player’s category,” said IIHF President and Selection Committee head René Fasel.

“Almost two decades have passed since we started with the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, and the first pioneers have retired, which means that the selection committee could, with perspective, evaluate their contributions to the game. This was a very important decision in the history of the IIHF and it feels very good that this coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF and that they will be inducted in Quebec City, Canada, the country that has led the development of women’s hockey.”

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The world took notice. This was the last barrier to full respect for the women, a tremendous opportunity to put men and women side by side and say they are, in their own way and in their own game, equal. The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto could not help but take notice, and a year-and-a-half later it also inducted its first – and still only – two women: James and Granato.

Of course, the symbolic importance of the ceremony was of the highest magnitude. Yes, these three women were great players, the games first superstars, but for the IIHF to take that leap, to have faith in the women’s game and put women beside men with equality, was perhaps even the greater gesture than honouring these three great women.

Rivals during their playing days, the Canadians and American united in understanding the importance of their honour.

“It's something that's started now, and from now on a lot more women will be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said James. "Its just a building step for the future of our sport. It's not female or male. It's hockey. It's our game."

Granato concurred: “The women's game is young, and I think it was the right time. I was fortunate to be playing at the right time."

Heaney added that, "It's great because now we're finally being recognized not only in our own country but worldwide. There are so many young girls playing hockey now. It's amazing.”

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of women's hockey in the IIHF, writer Andrew Podnieks is counting down the top 25 stories in women's international hockey history. One story each day will appear until the Number 1 story is unveiled the morning of the gold-medal game of the 2015 Women's Worlds in Malmo, Sweden, on April 4.

Earlier Top 25 Stories:
#6: Women’s hockey becomes an Olympic event
#7: Rider organizes an international tournament
#8: 15-year-old Wickenheiser makes her debut
#9: USA finally wins WW gold in 2005
#10: Lightning strikes for Manon of the crease
#11: 15-year-old Martin leads Sweden to bronze
#12: Angela James cut prior to Nagano
#13: Amanda Kessel misses 2014/15 with concussion
#14: IIHF removes body-checking from women’s hockey
#15: Jenni Hiirikoski becomes first Euro two-timer
#16: Former NHLer Yashin leads Russian women to bronze
#17: Cammi Granato cut before Turin
#18: Visitors win twice in North American finals
#19: IIHF makes Women’s Worlds official for 1990
#20: Rogge issues challenge to women’s hockey
#21: IIHF goes to all-women officials
#22: Shannon Miller recruits Euros for NCAA
#23: IIHF introduces junior event for women
#24: Zorn a goalie and skater both
#25: Russia-Switzerland a dandy display in 2011


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