Crowd sells out UPMC stadium to support hockey goalie heckled with sexist slurs

Fans and friends cheered her on with chants of ‘girls are strong’ and ‘we belong on the ice’

'She's unbelievably strong', crowd supports hockey goalie heckled with sexist slurs

A high school ice hockey goalie who was harassed and left in tears last month due to the crowd’s vulgar chants returned to a sold-out stadium this week as her fans rallied in support.

Fans, friends and former Olympians showed up for Monday night’s game to cheer her on with chants of “girls are strong” and “we belong on the ice”, along with banners saying “you are not alone”.

During the 28 October game between high school teams Mars Fighting Planets and the Armstrong River Hawks, students of Armstrong High School threw sexist slurs at the female goalie, whose name has been withheld to protect her privacy.

Videos from the game showed the crowd chanting “she’s a w****” at the opposing team’s goalie. She who was left in tears by the second half of the game, Mars’ coach said.

Dozens of Armstrong students have been barred from attending future hockey games, and the school’s team was placed on probation for the rest of the 2021-22 season.

On Monday, more than 800 people filled the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, to support the goalie. The sold-out crowd forced organisers to move the game from Mars’ home arena to the UPMC stadium.

The videos from last month’s game went viral on social media, sparking a firestorm and evoking strong reactions from the school board and other athletes.

Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, who is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and the goaltending coach for the US women’s national ice hockey team, attended the Monday night game to show solidarity. “It’s pretty, pretty cool. Every time she makes a save, this place goes nuts!” she told WPXI.

Meghan Duggan, 2018 Olympics gold medalist, said in a tweet: “Every time you take the ice, women & girls all over the hockey community are proud of YOU! You represent so much more than the hateful words that were directed toward you. I stand with you.”

The 28 October incident was condemned by the Mars Hockey Club Board, which called it unacceptable and said it should never happen again.

“We are hopeful that the attention this incident has drawn will shed light on the issues our female athletes face which must not be tolerated and that this attention will help with eliminating this type of conduct from our sport,” the board said.

A representative from the Armstrong School District said they were “embarrassed” by the behaviour of their students and it was not “representative of how we want our students to behave”. They added that officials had reached out to the Mars Area School District to apologise to the goalie and the school.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in