Play Like a Girl

Two AHS hockey players share their perspectives on being women in a male dominated sport


Kristen Jure

Kristen Jure (AHS ’01) helped pave the way for female hockey players in Abington

Maggie Hardy, Staff Writer

With AHS in the midst of state tournament play and the exciting action of the women’s gold medal game during the Beijing Olympics garnering lots of viewership, its clear that hockey is as popular as ever.

Although the focus should be on the incredible skill of these teams, it can often be overshadowed by the misogynistic and outdated views on women’s hockey. People are quick to judge women’s sports in general, but the debate over women’s hockey continues to be prevalent. Whether it’s the idea that women’s hockey is less skilled, slower, has less views, etc., people always tend to have something to say invalidating the incredible skill of these athletes.

Kristen Jure, nee MacDonald, a female member of the boy’s hockey team at Abington High School in the early 2000s, said she experienced some of those judgements first-hand. She explains, “People always had judgements about female hockey players. Are they tough enough? Are they big enough? Are they fast enough? You just had to go out and do your thing and prove them wrong.”

Jure recalls how opponents would try to make her look bad when they noticed she was a girl to prove their point that girls could not keep up. They would specifically target her for hits and checks, all to prove their superiority. The outdated views on women’s hockey clearly don’t only happen at the professional and national level, but can be found even in the smallest communities too.

Although she faced these judgements, they didn’t seem to come from her own team, saying she thoroughly enjoyed playing on Abington’s hockey team. She described the boys on her team as “protective of me as they were all like brothers to me.”

Because there were very few girls’ hockey teams at the time unless she attended a private school, she had no other option but to play with the boys. Although she had to adjust to the speed and physicality of boy’s hockey, she ended up enjoying it, even getting to play on the same team as her brother. Jure said that she feels that her playing on a boys’ team, “helped open the world to see that girls could play with the boys and hold their own”.

Calli Pinaeu is currently the only female member of the boy's hockey team at AHS
Calli Pinaeu is currently the only female member of the boy’s hockey team at AHS (Bill Marquardt)

Nearly 20 years later and we can see now that Jure’s place on the team did indeed help open doors for the future, as sophomore Calli Pineau is in the midst of her second year on the boys’ hockey team at Abington.

Pineau’s experience echoes that of Jure, saying she also had to adapt to a more aggressive style of play. She remarks, “I had to adapt to the game by being aware of the physical part”. However, she emphasized that playing with the boys had not changed her overall view of the sport, and she, “enjoys the game whether it’s with boys or girls”.

Pineau also explains how her teammates are extremely supportive and make her feel welcome. She says, “They include me in activities like pasta parties. They hold me accountable. They stick up for me. They look at me as a hockey player and teammate rather than just a girl.”

A lot has changed over 20 years and progress has been made, but there will always be people who will try to undermine the success of women just because they are women. As Jure puts it, “In life people are going to judge no matter what you do and it’s how you carry yourself and how you persevere that will keep you going.”