By Sara Guglielmo, For The Miami Student
A group of women who play in the co-ed, beginner level intramural hockey league at Miami University rallied for the creation of an all-women's intramural hockey league.
Lexi Marsh, Manager of Special Projects for Miami University's College of Creative Arts, led this initiative for an all-women's league, which started out with an all women's team in the co-ed beginner level intramural league.
Marsh's team has so far been a success. An official team for two years now, Lulu's Revenge has a roster of 15 solely female players. However, the team still faces obstacles because of its access to only co-ed leagues.
"When we are with equally matched beginner teams playing in the co-ed league it's fine, but oftentimes we are playing against teams that are not at the beginner level, which becomes very frustrating," Amber Franklin, Miami University Assistant Professor in the Speech Pathology & Audiology department and member of Lulu's Revenge, said.
Last summer, Lulu's Revenge and its members got a taste of what an all-women's league would be like when Marsh put together a women's drop-in hockey session, which resulted in Marsh understanding how valuable an all-women's league would be.
"Once I started talking about change and offering my time and support … the amount of support and understanding I received was amazing," she said.
The first season for the new all-women's league at Miami is planned to begin with the start of the regular winter intramural season in February. The Assistant Director of Student Programs at Goggin Ice Center Ben Chuha said they are expecting two to four teams for the first season, which will lead to more of an "alternative league."
"By 'alternative,' I mean … we are looking at this first season being closer to a dedicated drop-in for the women registered for the league where they will have game slots scheduled like a league, but the women will divide up into teams each game rather than playing the same team each game," Chuha said.
Franklin claimed that while the structure may be a little alternative the first season, it will still provide an opportunity to practice and learn.
"I think that an alternative league is a fine idea," Franklin said "We cannot expect the structure of the women's league to match that of the co-ed league. We are hoping for beginner level players and to run more of a scrimmage style league, which will create more opportunity to practice and learn."
Marsh said she believes this relaxed environment will attract newcomers who might have been too intimidated to play in the past.
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"There are likely women who would like to be able to learn/play hockey who do not feel comfortable playing with or against males," Marsh said. "This league would give those women a comfortable place to learn this wonderful sport."
It will also provide more evenly matched teams, which the co-ed intramural league does not always do.
Marsh also said she expects the intramural league to eventually expand enough that it would be generating additional revenue for Goggin.
Marsh said Goggin's operational expenses are supported through the general student fee of $930 a year, and a women's intramural league would give Miami's female students greater access to a facility they are supporting financially.
There are many benefits to having an all women's intramural league, and now, according to Franklin, all that is needed to get this league going is for female players to sign up.
"There is nothing else like a good game of hockey," Marsh said, "and I am so excited that women, like myself, might have the chance to give it a whirl."