Monday, September 23, 2013

Rheaume Plays In NHL

On Sept. 23, 1992, the National Hockey League was never known for being diverse, but on this day in 1992, the sport did something rather dynamic: a girl played in it.

Manon Rheaume, a 20 year-old Canadian woman, played goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues. Rheaume allowed two goals on nine shots and was lifted in the first quarter with score tied at two. She would play in another NHL exhibition game in 1993, again playing for the Lightning. These were her only two game appearances.

Rheaume continued to play in the independent hockey circuit and was the goalie on the Canadian woman's hockey team in 1998, which won a silver medal. She never played in a regular season NHL game however. The Lightning were an expansion team when Rheaume first played for them, and Tampa Bay general manager Phil Espesito readily admitted that her preseason appearance was mostly for publicity.

Although Rheaume never got in a real game, she went further than any woman had ever gone in the four major sports leagues. No woman has ever played in an NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL game.