The popularity that is enjoyed by womens hockey is definitely constantly growing at a very fast pace. In fact, this is one sport that is mostly for men and not women. In the last ten years we saw a 350% increase in the number of womens hockey players. The only real problem is that we are not faced with many women leagues when compared to those dedicated towards men. We are sure that few people actually believe that there are as many as we see now.
1970 was the year when it was official that a woman became a pro hockey player. It was then that Karen Koch signed a contract with Marquette Iron Rangers. The first Winter Olympics that had a womens hockey event was held in 1998. In that event it was USA that won the prestigious first ever hockey Olympic gold Medal and Canada was second.
It is really interesting to see the fact that we had several women that played along side men. As an example, we saw Manon Rheaume as a goal keeper for the popular Tampa Bay Lightning team. A lot of women have played in different North American minor hockey leagues.
The one big different between men hockey and womens hockey is the fact that you are not allowed to do any body checking. It was in 1990 that we saw body checking eliminated due to the physical superiority of Northern American women. In the event that we see body checking we will have the referee giving a major or minor penalty, based on how he saw the event. Also, it is required for women to always use full face masks. We do not see the fast pace and the brutality that men have in womens hockey but it is still growing a lot in 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.