“How The NHL Can Do A Better Job Of Welcoming Women” – said the man.

If you want to lose faith in all of humanity and cause a round of rage spikes. Go read this article.

I lied. You shouldn’t actually read that.

Here’s the thing, a lot of us have been voicing our opinion on how NOT JUST THE NHL but sports as a whole can make moves to make not only women, but fans who are not just white men feel welcome. Making us feel “welcome” is a disgustingly low standard honestly. I would prefer being acknowledged and accepted as an equal rather than begrudgingly tolerated. “Welcoming” is what you do at a get together where there is forced social interactions and instead of being nice and talking to everyone you’re really just glacial and backhanded and dick around on your phone the entire time and whine the wifi is password protected. Believe me, I would know. I recognize my own behaviors.

I’m infuriated because so many have said this in so many ways for years. That article does a disservice to the countless women who have written thoughtful pieces on how hard and complicated it is being a fan of something that honestly doesn’t like you and just sees you as a walking wallet. It doesn’t acknowledge all the women who have logged so many hours writing about hockey and trying to process things passionately even if they don’t have the luxury of a massive reader base. I’m angry because no matter how women have expressed what needs to happen in a variety of tactics, they have been shoved aside and disregarded. It does not matter if I scream from the rooftops or politely hold civil discourse (and use a quiet voice) where I’ve been routinely talked over. Our voices continue to be silenced and cast aside and instead, we’ve reached new lows when an article was composed with all the thoughtfulness of a fucken BuzzFeed article that tacks on an email at the end that basically erases everything the article thought it was accomplishing by including an email that basically outlines why it is ok to continue to exclude groups of fans.

Give more than just a tweet as a means to for voices to say what exactly needs to happen in order for hockey to not only be a better fan experience where people can feel safe.  A better hockey where the athletes who apparently are the most accepting of gay players,  that are also more than willing let go and give up their misogyny that freely spills from their lips. They’re certainly quick to  get in touch and correct any athlete’s homophobia on social media channels but I’ve yet to see much done regarding sexism.

Sit down, shut up and listen. Don’t cut in and get defensive.

Let me tell you just a few things that have happened to me at games over the years: one year I had to move my season ticket seat because the man next to me would get so drunk he never remembered meeting me. He would try and grab me and when I complained to the front office, I had to fight like hell to be moved.  Further, he was being over-served and did not have a sober driver. The arena continued to serve him at games after I had moved despite claiming they would inform security.  Another time I was at a playoffs game as a visiting fan, here’s the thing, I’m polite. I swear to you I am. Especially when I am a visitor. So I am waiting for a then boyfriend, and a guy stands next to me, smiles in a very creepy way when he saw my Dustin Tokarski jersey and said he should punch me in the face for wearing it. It was really hard not to cry as I ran away. I’ve overheard men call me a whore because I was wearing lipstick and/or makeup at the game. Oh I’ve also been called fat too. Doesn’t matter how I look I guess. When I went to a Leafs game, the suits next to me proceeded to tell me how stupid I was for being there in a Luke Schenn jersey and how I wasn’t a real fan. Uhhh, I paid an ungodly amount of money for the plane ticket. And then I had to buy the Leafs tickets. I sold just about everything I could for that. My mom even gave me her wedding band from when she was married so I could pawn that for cash. To this day, I am still stunned and in awe she did that. She knew that’s how much seeing a Leafs game meant to me.

The thing is, that article just shows why it is ok to bash a woman for wearing pink. Further, it creates the idea that women can and SHOULD judge how much of a “fan” another woman is. My problem isn’t necessarily on the pink merch, honestly I think a lot of it is purchased thinking proceeds go to fight breast cancer. Spoilers: that doesn’t happen. And I think it is frequently purchased by men thinking they are doing something nice for their girlfriends. I’ve seen guys picking it up at merch shops. Pink shouldn’t matter. I don’t hate ice girls. I hate the hell I’ve seen the women endure on the job from grope-y older men and management just standing by and doing nothing as they watch it happen.

For the love of god, truly and honestly listen. I don’t want the first words out of your mouth to be “I would never do that!” I just want you to correct others. Think about what you aren’t having to put up with just to watch a bunch of idiots hit a puck around for sixty minutes.

And let us tell our own damned stories. Stop filtering them through channels that aren’t enduring what we have.