Female coaches in male professional sports are not something we have seen very often. But when the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to hire a new player development coach they didn’t hesitate in choosing the talented Hayley Wickenhesier. General Manager of the Leafs Kyle Dubas claimed Wickenheiser was the “best fit for the job”. Dubas wasn’t looking at the gender of his new coaching staff but the best person for the job. Wickenheiser is one of the most well-known female athletes in Canada. Wickenheiser has played on Team Canada for 23 years retiring this past year (2017). With years of experience laying professional hockey under her belt, Wickenheiser is ready to take on this next challenge.
Wickenheiser is breaking yet another barrier for women in sports with this role. Humbled at joining the Maple Leafs as a coach she knows in any role on ice she can “learn something and take something away”. Wickenhesier is considered an expert in the word of hockey she is regarded with respect by women and this move by the Maple Leafs shows that respect for the game of hockey can come before gender bias.
What effect will the hiring of a woman on a male professional sports team have on the world of professional sports? Will this encourage other women to step up to these roles or will it cause further push back from the professional sports community cutting down women in sports? Will Wickenheiser have greater expectations to meet because she is a woman? What impact will having a woman on the team have on the Maple Leafs?