Pink Power: The First Women’s World Hockey Champions. By Lorna Schultz Nicholson. (2007, Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. Softcover. Pp. 125. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-55028-987-9.)
Today, many female hockey fans throughout the league often proclaim “No Pink in the Rink!” It is a response to the National Hockey League’s targeted marketing strategy to offer female NHL fans their favorite team’s jerseys in a pink option (because all women LOVE pink, right?). Some explain that pink jerseys are ok if you are a pre-teen girl, but many women want jerseys that look like the team jerseys. However, in 1990, despite their initial reactions, the first Canadian women’s team proudly sported the pink Maple Leaf as they became the first women’s world hockey champions. In the final game of the championship tournament, the rink – and the street – was filled with pink…
Lorna Schultz Nicholson’s book, Pink Power: The First Women’s World Hockey Champions, published in 2007, told the story of the development and experience of the women who played for Canada’s first women’s hockey championship team. Some of the women were playing in American and Canadian universities when they received their invitations. Others were working and wondering how they could continue playing when few options existed for women. From its humble beginnings, to their plowing through most of their opponents, and finally to hoisting the championship trophy, the story was a fun and sometimes emotional ride through the world of these pioneering hockey players. Two things brought them together: their love of and the pride of wearing the Maple Leaf.
Nicholson’s prologue began with the story with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) discussing the need to increase the number of women participating in the Olympics. After the 1988 games, for some it was an obvious choice – women’s hockey. For others on the committee, it was an obvious concern as they wondered if women’s hockey would draw in spectators. The IOC met with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the two groups decided to test the waters by hosting a women’s world championship in Canada. They wanted to see if women’s hockey was going to be a viable option.
From there, she took readers on a journey as women throughout the dominion received letters inviting them to tryouts, experienced tryouts, and as they played together in the tournament. Nicholson’s research appeared in the narrative through interviews and descriptions of all stages of the team’s evolution. Especially interesting was how the women recollected their experiences, from players and coach’s initial dislike of the pink uniforms to the amazement of seeing the arena practically filled and knowing that TSN was broadcasting the games throughout Canada. She wrapped up the story with a few pages of “where are they now?” to update fans on what the women are doing (well, as of 2007). Even today, young girls continue to be inspired by these women.
As printed on the back cover of Pink Power, the best person to sum up Nicholson’s book may be Wayne Gretzky: “Lorna’s books are a great read for kids and their parents. They really help teach the importance of having good values both in hockey and in life.” And who is going to argue with The Great One?