Women in sports: Here are the stories of a few who attempted to join
in men’s sports and how far they got.
Rhéaume was one of the best goalies in Canadian minor league hockey in the late 1980s. The Trois-Rivieres Draveurs, a Quebec team in a league that was just a step below the NHL, signed her in 1991—the first woman to play at that level. It was logical she’d try out for the NHL after that, another first. In 1992, Rhéaume was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent. She hit the ice for one period each in two exhibition games, and that was that. She was scored on twice, so she wasn’t the best goalie, but at any rate, she won a silver medal in the 1998 Olympics…for the Canadian national women’s team.
In 2013, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made headlines when he publicly stated that he was considering drafting Griner, the top prospect in women’s college basketball. During her college career at Baylor University, the center scored 2,000 points and blocked 500 shots—a college basketball first for any player, male or female. Griner is 6’8” and the right size for the NBA, and a woman playing in the NBA would certainly be historic. But then the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA drafted Griner with the #1 pick. The ongoing success and high play level of the WNBA will probably prevent many women from ever joining the NBA.