King’s Cup raises questions about gender inequality

Out of 29 players at this year’s University of King’s College’s intramural hockey game, only six of them were women.

The 4th annual King’s Cup hockey game took place on Saturday, in a flurry of beer guzzling and joking rivalry, with the Bays defeating Alex Hall 4-1.

The King’s Cup is played by intramural sports teams, organized by residence building. Competitors play for the residence they lived in during their first year at the University of King’s College. The residences consist of Alexandra Hall, Radical Bay, Middle Bay, North Pole Bay, Chapel Bay and Cochran Bay.

Teams were evenly matched skill-wise, but there was a large gender gap on the ice. Out of 29 total players on the roster, only six women played in the game.

Gender inequality didn’t seem to be an issue at the King’s Cup, but it raised questions regarding gender inequality in sport.

Emily Gautreau, a fourth-year player and ringette coach with the Halifax Chebucto Ringette Association, played for Alex Hall this year and said her experience has been positive so far.

“There have always been a core group of us who’ve stuck together from the beginning, and these dudes are the greatest,” she said. “They respect me and the other ladies, and make sure the other guys do the same.”

The Bays pose for a photo after winning the King’s Cup. (Photo: Bronwen McKie)

Silas Brown, a fourth-year player and co-captain of the Bays team, said this year’s King’s Cup had the most female players since it started four years ago.

“We try and see every year, for King’s Cup, how many girls we can get to come play,” said Brown. He added he doesn’t know why more women aren’t playing in the King’s Cup.

“Obviously, not as many girls play hockey as boys do,” he said. “We do go to a liberal arts university. There’s probably not that many people who are athletically oriented.”

While the King’s intramural team is welcoming, Gautreau said overall respect for women in sports is a prevalent problem. Women should have equal access to resources in sports associations, such as ice time, she said.

“This is particularly noticeable when leagues don’t support teams at the rec levels as much as they do at the competitive [level],” she said.

“I think it’s still an issue that a lot of sports are still kind of considered men’s sports,” said Brown. “I don’t know if women’s leagues are helping to change or enforce that stigma.”

A 2010 report states gender inequality in sport is still widespread, especially within the coaching sphere. Gautreau said this is something she has experienced herself.

Gautreau said two experienced male coaches mentored her this ringette season, boosting her credibility and also parents’ respect for her.

“I got so lucky this season and my head coaches are wonderful, supportive, respectful guys. But, I shouldn’t have to be lucky,” she said. “I shouldn’t have to worry about how I’ll be treated because of my gender.

“I don’t really have a solution, but I do believe that talking about it is the only way to deal with it,” she added.

In the meantime, Gautreau will continue to play with the King’s intramural team.

“I haven’t stopped yet and will only stop when I graduate.”