Hey NCAA, Women’s Hockey is Still Hockey

Almost a week ago the NCAA Ice Hockey Twitter account tweeted asking how they can make the account better. They were probably expecting answers that included stats, standings, and general Twitter hijinks. What they got instead was a discussion that spread throughout the hockey Twitter world, especially among those who cover women’s (college) hockey.

In a thread by Nicole Haase, she brings up many points on how the NCAA Ice Hockey Twitter account continually disregards the women. One of the biggest points was how none of their graphics ever include the women. This tweet celebrates the seniors, but not one of the pictures used is any of the women. Do you know how many amazing senior women players there were at the time? They could’ve used Patty Kazmaier winner Ann-Renée Desbiens or finalist Lara Stalder. One of the main complainants when it comes to women’s hockey is that women don’t get nearly the same level of exposure. Just putting a couple women on a graphic makes a difference; not only does it share the love for the women players and the game, it puts the two on equal footing and are shown as equals in hockey.

The NCAA Ice Hockey Twitter also only tweeted about the Women’s Frozen Four final twice. One to announce the final was on TV. The second to announce Clarkson as the champions. The Men’s Frozen Four final was livetweeted. According to Twitter user Er N Space Museum the Men’s Frozen Four averaged 50 tweets a game, while the Women’s Frozen Four averaged .50 a game. This ties into the idea of marketing and exposure, how are people suppose to get interested in women’s college hockey if the official NCAA hockey twitter only tweets about it when only something major happens? People want to see more women’s hockey, just look at the replies to the original tweet where the NCAA asked how they could make the account better.

People say that people don’t care about women’s hockey, that no one wants to see about it, but if there’s leagues, articles, blogs about it people flock to them. The Ice Garden on SBNation has over two thousand followers on Twitter and they just created the site last year. The NWHL has over twenty-five thousand followers and the CWHL has over sixteen thousand. If people keep seeing it on their dashboard, by a retweet or if they follow the account – like the NCAA account where they aren’t expecting women’s hockey – they’ll take an interest in it. It’s exactly how I got interested in hockey to begin with.

It’s not impossible to ask that the NCAA Ice Hockey account tweet more about women’s hockey, tweet it on the same level as the men’s and more followers will come. Even if more followers don’t come, they still need to be tweeting about women’s hockey, because they aren’t just an account that covers men’s.

If the NCAA prides itself on equality, they need to do a better job of showing it.