Bild: screenshot twitter
This goalkeeper was drafted as the first woman in the Canadian Junior League OHL
16-year-old Taya Currie made ice hockey history yesterday. She was the first woman ever drafted into the Ontario Hockey League.
Not only in the NHL, but also in teenage years, the best ice hockey players in North America are drafted into the teams in Canada’s best youth leagues. Yesterday, for example, this year’s draft of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) took place – and there was an exciting novelty.
For the first time in the history of the league, a woman was drawn in the OHL draft. The team called Sarnia Sting selected 16-year-old goalkeeper Taya Currie in the 14th round. “It’s pretty crazy, a dream that comes true,” said Currie shortly after the draft in relation to the Canadian TV broadcaster “Sportsnet”.
The Canadian has been playing against boys in the highest junior levels for seven years. “I want to be the goalkeeper that everyone hates to play against and that everyone wants on their own team,” says Currie confidently.
Not surprisingly, her great talent is attested: “Taya is not particularly tall for the role of goalie (170cm / 65kg), but she is incredibly athletic. It is very fast and extremely safe, especially with deep shots. She has been playing against boys for a long time and is therefore used to the higher tempo, ”says Darrell Woodley, Scouting Director of the OHL.
The Sarnia Sting also believes in the Canadian and doesn’t want anything to do with a publicity stunt: “Of course, it’s also tempting to break down boundaries in this sport. But first and foremost was the quality of the player. Her athleticism, her fast and sure hands and the way she plays against the puck – these things impressed us, ”General Manager Dylan Seca told nhl.com.
It is still unclear whether Taya Currie will one day also play a game in the OHL. A contract with the Ontario Hockey League would make it impossible for her to play college ice hockey at the highest level (NCAA) – a risk that no woman has yet taken. She confirmed to “Sportsnet” that she is already in talks with some NCAA teams. However, she is likely to accept the invitation to the Sting’s training camp in late summer.
The reactions to the Sarnia Sting’s draft pick have been positive across the board. In general, as a girl in a boys’ team, she has never had a negative experience. “At tournaments I get a lot of support from parents, but sometimes also from opponents. They pat me on the shoulder when I show a good save. It’s always positive, ”explains Currie, who was barely able to play last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Only two women have played a game in one of the three big Canadian junior leagues (in addition to the OHL, the WHL and the QMJHL): Manon Rhéaume and Shannon Szabados, both also goalkeepers. Rhéaume was once for the Trois-Rivières Draveurs between the posts and completed test games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and 1993.
Szabados, for many experts the best goalkeeper in ice hockey history, was once allowed to play for the Tri-City Americans. The 34-year-old spoke up on Twitter last night to congratulate Taya Currie on her draft success.
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