Saturday, January 29, 2005

Central Hockey League and Tulsa Oilers get Progressive

Tulsa Oilers Official Website

I don't think anyone who reads this blog can name me one player from the Central Hockey League. Until now, I couldn't tell who the players were without a scorecard either. But thanks to this article from Yahoo! Sports, I can name you two players from the CHL.

Bill Ruggiero plays goaltender for the Tulsa Oilers. Bill's sister, Angela Ruggiero, plays defense. Yes, that's correct. There's a woman playing defense in an all male Central Hockey League.

I've made it quite clear to a lot of people that I've been a real supporter of women's athletics, especially women's hockey, but this time I can only hope that Angela isn't in over her head.

I can't fault Angela's wanting to play hockey. Even with her brother supporting her on the team, it's bound to be a lot easier than other women who have tried to break the gender barrier. This is the quote she gave reporters in the article about her first experience.
"It always pushes you," she said. "I wish I could play the whole game and come back tomorrow."

For Angela's sake, I just hope that this wasn't just another publicity stunt. There was an awful lot of good to come out of the game, beginning with the "young girls free ticket giveaway." They were the most impacted by the historic day to see that sometimes boys could be just as good as the girls. The rest of the ticket revenue went to Tsunami disaster relief.

Angela played sparingly according to the article. The coach had put her in late in the game already up 4-0 after already tallying over 6 minutes of ice time.

The Tulsa Oilers are 4 points out of first place in their division and hope for a late playoff push. Perhaps adding a 25 year old Harvard Grad, 5'9", 185 lbs. two time Olympic medalist in Angela is just what they need.

I just hope Angela doesn't get hurt. The big boys play hard. Real Hard.
"I'm used to getting hit," she said, a bright and intact smile belying her participation in games she says are "a second quicker" and more physical than the women's sport.

She has never broken a bone or tooth playing hockey -- her own, anyway.

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