Although you might not have realized it, we are faced with constant growing of womens hockey popularity. In fact, this is one sport that is mostly for men and not women. The last 10 years showed an increase in womens hockey participants of 350%. Unfortunately the number of womens hockey pro leagues is a lot smaller than men hockey pro leagues. We can say that we are faced with many more than most people believe.
The first ever womens hockey pro player appeared in 1970. That was when Karen Koch was signed by Marquette Iron Rangers. 1998 stands out as history for womens hockey as this was when the Winter Olympics included a medal for it for the first time. In that event it was USA that won the prestigious first ever hockey Olympic gold Medal and Canada was second. Even if this does not happen often, there are several cases where women did play with men in the same teams. For instance, Manon Rheaume played as a goal keeper for the Tampa Bay Lightning in some preseason games. There are actually many women that are included and did play in minor hockey leagues in North America.
There is one really big difference when comparing womens hockey with men hockey as women are not allowed to use body checks. It was eliminated in 1990 because most female players from around the world are not as strong as those in Northern America. Nowadays the referee is the person that will decide the penalty that has to be given when there is body checking. Also, it is required for women to always use full face masks. Even if we are faced with a slower pace and smaller brutality level, womens hockey does manage to constantly gain popularity. We can expect to see a lot more women starting playing in the near future due to the pure adrenaline that the sport offers players.