FanDuel - WFBC

January 05, 2006

Battle of the Sexes: The U.S. Olympic Women's Hockey team goes to northern Minnesota and loses to a high school boys' team. An interesting idea for a game...is this considered a setback for the Olympic team, or just an illustration of where female athletes compare to their male counterparts?

posted by TheQatarian to hockey at 11:19 AM - 15 comments

Ugh. The headline High School Boys Beat U.S. Women's Hockey Team doesn't look good. I don't see the logic of putting your Olympians into a non-checking exhibition game with boys that could be comic relief for detractors of women's sports if they lose.

posted by rcade at 11:33 AM on January 05

It's tough to say without knowing more about the game. Were the US women outskated? Outgrinded? Outworked along the boards? Were they just sluggish and maybe not taking the game too seriously? Had I seen it, I might be able to draw some conclusions, but the box score isn't really telling me enough.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:36 AM on January 05

Yeah, I also found it interesting that the game was non-checking... What are you gonna do? The guys in high school varsity hockey probably average 180-200 lbs, and are most likely as fast or faster than the best girls in the nation. Plus, they played a team of guys that have been together and are a cohesive unit. I'm not surprised the guys won, and I wouldn't consider it a setback at all.

posted by vito90 at 11:37 AM on January 05

The elite women's hockey teams in Canada and the US play men's teams fairly regularly, because they get weary of playing the only available female competition (each other). I also don't think they would have set up a game against a boy's high school team with the idea that they were going to paste them, because what would be the point? So they must have anticipated that they might lose. I have never seen one of these games but I watch quite a bit of women's hockey. My guess is that the Olympic team had superior passing and stickhandling but that was balanced by a strength and speed advantage for the boys. All indications are that they were pretty evenly matched, on the whole.

posted by Amateur at 11:40 AM on January 05

Yeah, I also found it interesting that the game was non-checking Well women's hockey is always 'non-checking' but with a sort of weird interpretation of what that means. There are lots of hits that would be called penalties in my non-contact old-timers league.

posted by Amateur at 11:42 AM on January 05

Consider also the possibility that the US women put in their bench players. Lotta exhibition stuff goes like that.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:55 AM on January 05

As a lifelong Minnesotan, let me tell those of you unfamiliar with it a bit about Minnesota high school hockey: It is roughly the equivalent of what high school football is in Texas. Most of the teams in college hockey's top conference, the WCHA, have at least a third Minnesotans, and many have well over half. There are fantasy high school hockey leagues up here. Yes, you read that right. Warroad, the school that won this game, is the home of the Christian family, who were represented on both the 1960 and 1980 U.S. Olympic teams. And they are one of the top teams in Minnesota year in and year out, although they are a bit down this year. Considering all of that, this isn't a huge shock, although I find it interesting that many people (including some of the parents of the high school players) considered the women a huge favorite. It sounds like the game was pretty even, actually...the goal differential and shot differential were only one each.

posted by TheQatarian at 12:11 PM on January 05

I know I am going to get it good from hockey lovers out there, but this might have been a good thing. I had no idea that we even had a womens team. These headlines, be it bad, might get more people like me interested in watching a little of them.

posted by steelcityguy at 12:43 PM on January 05

As a lifelong Minnesotan, let me tell those of you unfamiliar with it a bit about Minnesota high school hockey: It is roughly the equivalent of what high school football is in Texas Even bigger when it was just one state tournament rather than the multi-tiered deal they have now or whatever.

posted by chris2sy at 12:46 PM on January 05

This should be good for the American femmes when all is said and done. Getting this loss off their backs certainly might serve as a motivating factor as the Winter Games draw nearer, similar to the way that the 1980 "Miracle" team regularly got whipped in exhibition games up to a week before play began in Lake Placid (including a humiliating 11-0 loss to the same Soviet team they eventually defeated when it counted). Exactly how good is the Warroad club supposed to be? I am frankly shocked that the score was only 2-1. This is a tribute to the USA goalie, Chanda Gunn. Athletically, there aren't many things a world-class female athlete can do that an above-average male athlete can't do better (in whichever sport they are both experts in, that is). Women's soccer legend Mia Hamm, when approached to join a professional men's league, admitted this fact. As far as hockey is concerned, it would be criminal -- literally -- to see a female puckster take a neutral zone shoulder in the chest from, say, Chris Simon. On the other hand, requirements of goaltending -- flexibility and quick reflexes over physical strength and foot speed -- narrow the gender gap. The USA coach said, "Hockey is hockey." Let me continue in that line of reasoning; Men are men, women are women, and vive la difference. Maybe a female college student can kick a thirty yard field goal, but there's no way she can kickoff into the end zone for touchbacks. S'what? No guy could do what Olga Korbut or Nadia Comeneci did on the uneven parallel bars. I know that there isn't a WNBA team that would dare play a state champion high school boys team. Only the good will of the guys would prevent it from being like a Harlem Globetrotters - Washington Generals game.

posted by L.N. Smithee at 03:21 PM on January 05

Athletically, there aren't many things a world-class female athlete can do that an above-average male athlete can't do better (in whichever sport they are both experts in, that is).[emphasis mine] Isn't this, not a contradiction in terms exactly, but sorta apples and oranges? "Above-average" != "expert" or elite. (oh, btw: the English word is "women")

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:42 PM on January 05

similar to the way that the 1980 "Miracle" team regularly got whipped in exhibition games up to a week before play began in Lake Placid Except that the exhibition games were against other Olympic men's teams. I think that it is kind of a disgrace that the best women hockey players the USA has lost to a high school team. Well, there goes my hopes for the olympics, I guess I can wait four years.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:15 PM on January 05

Well, there goes my hopes for the olympics, I guess I can wait four years. Why, were you hoping to make the team?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:51 PM on January 05

I think that it is kind of a disgrace that the best women hockey players the USA has lost to a high school team. They were playing a no-checking exhibition in which there's no reason to believe they went all-out.

posted by rcade at 08:42 AM on January 06

I think that it is kind of a disgrace that the best women hockey players the USA has lost to a high school team. They were playing a no-checking exhibition in which there's no reason to believe they went all-out. If our women's olympic team has to go all out to beat a high school team we are in bad shape. I am in high school, I know guys who are just like the guys on that team. However, if our team beat them I would probably think the world is coming to an end.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:00 PM on January 06

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