In 1990, the first ever Women’s World Hockey Championship was held in Ottawa, Ontario. It was a long time coming, and a much-needed event for hockey. The women’s game had always been relegated to living in the shadows of men’s hockey, even though women had played the game just about as long as men. The men, of course, had the Stanley Cup, the Olympics, and the World Championship, among other championships to fight for, but the women had nothing nearly as significant as far as hockey titles go, so creating the Women’s World Hockey Championship was an absolute necessity to help grow the game. In the years that followed that first championship, women’s hockey has become an Olympic sport (and one of the Games’ major draws, I might add), and there is now a Women’s National Hockey League. The league’s champion claims the Clarkson Cup, named in honour of former Canadian governor general Adrienne Clarkson. The women’s game has grown leaps and bounds since 1990, which is somewhat surprising considering the shameful treatment of the Canadian women during that first tournament. You see, the tournament committee thought it would be a novel idea to have Team Canada wear pink jerseys and white satin pants.
We’ll get to the pink jerseys in a minute, but first the satin pants. If we learned one thing from the 1974-75 Washington Capitals, it is that white hockey pants are never, ever, ever, ever, ever a good idea. See for yourself below.
That is former California Seal Tommy Williams, who scored 58 points for the Capitals that year. That was a pretty good total considering the next best scorer on the team had just 35 points even though he was traded in mid-season, so yeah, Tommy didn’t get much help in the scoring department that year. Even Tommy couldn’t make white pants look good though, since they would become almost transparent when they became wet, which happens often because hockey is a sport where athletes tend to transpire a lot, and it’s played on ice, which, if you’re any kind of physics major, you probably know that it usually melts into water when it comes into contact with something warm like, for example, a sweaty human body skittering across it. It also didn’t help matters that other things such as blood, puck marks, stick marks and other ugly brown concoctions (see Chapter 9 of my book for Gary Simmons’ story about how he used to chew tobacco during games) often made contact with said pants, so no, they didn’t stay white for long, and thankfully, the pants didn’t last long either.
Ok, now on to the pink uniforms. This is what they looked like.
Now, I have no problem with pink uniforms per se. I mean, if that is your team’s main colour, then by all means, go ahead and have your team wear pink uniforms. Or, if you want to promote breast cancer awareness, and produce pink jerseys like this.
Then that’s fine too.
My problem with this uniform is that these women were representing Canada. In case you’ve never seen it, this is what the Canadian flag looks like.
Notice all that pink on it? What, you don’t? Oh, maybe that’s because the flag is RED AND WHITE! When one represents their country, at least give them the dignity of being able to wear its colours. Why Hockey Canada felt the need to give their women’s team pink and white uniforms is beyond me. The whole pink uniforms were insulting to the women representing Canada, and not surprisingly, that’s how most people felt back in 1990. The pink uniforms were so bad that even though Canada steamrolled its way to a gold medal, the uniforms were never heard from again.