Can you even name one player on the team? So you just follow sports because you think the players are cute, right? Do you need me to explain anything to you?

If you’re a female sports fan, chances are you’ve heard one of these questions before. The sports world is filled with macho-men and toxic masculinity, and as a female fan it can often be a daunting place to be. But teams are starting to recognize their female fan bases, and it’s a beautiful thing.

On Tuesday night, the Flyers hosted their very first Hockey for Her event, a night for women to enjoy the sport they love at a more personal level.

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I’ll be completely honest, I was nervous about the event. I was extremely worried that it would be a bunch of men talking down to us and mansplaining things that we already know. I’m so proud to say that my concerns were for nothing.

Even at first glance, the name “Hockey for Her” shows respect. I can’t say I’ve attended the Phillies’ “Baseball 101,” but the condescending name alone has kept me from signing up. 

Here’s a walk-through of my night at the very first Hockey for Her.

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First, we took a shuttle and entered the Wells Fargo Center through the players’ entrance that the team comes through each night.

Next we were allowed to walk through the equipment room and the locker room where we could take photos at each player’s locker.

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From there, we stepped out onto the ice through the players’ tunnel. We enjoyed light refreshments before Paul Holmgren addressed the group.

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The remainder of the event was spent in smaller groups rotating through a series of six activities and panels.

First up was a chance to test our abilities at floor hockey. Stick handling and passing were the focus, though some people (like me) had a little fun showing off other skills.

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Photo: Heather Barry

Next was a panel with the women behind the men in charge: Diane Hextall, Erinn Hakstol, and Doreen Holmgren. They answered questions about their husbands both on and off the ice, as well as what it’s like to maintain a family in their circumstances. Best of all, this panel was moderated by Coatsey!

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After that was a Q&A with Ian Laperriere, moderated by Jim Jackson. Lappy talked about his time as a player, how the game has changed, and what it’s like being a coach in the National Hockey League.

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Photo: Heather Barry

When our time with Lappy and Jim was up, we returned to the ice-level where we took shots on goal with Riley Cote, Brad Marsh, and some girls from the Jr Flyers.

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The next panel was the one I was most anticipating: Four women working at the executive level within the Flyers organization. Cindy Stutman (Senior VP, Business Operations), Linda Mantai (VP, Flyers Charities), Sarah Schwab (Marketing Director) and Christine Mina (Digital Media Manager). This panel definitely did not disappoint, and left me inspired and excited to be a woman entering the professional sports world.

Photos: Heather Barry

The final Q&A of the night was with Jim McCrossin, director of sports medicine. He talked primarily about what the Flyers are doing to prevent and treat injuries, and was kind enough to answer my questions about the NHL’s concussion protocol after the session was over.

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Photo: Heather Barry

The night ended with a gift bag and a whole lot of happy women.

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I can’t say enough about how incredible the event was, especially since this was the very first year. I sincerely hope the Flyers continue to support this event in the future, and continue to run it with such respect and taste.

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