June 13, 2009

Alex Rigsby - First female player drafted by a USHL team

Q & A with Chicago Steel Prospect Alex Rigsby: First Woman ever Drafted in the USHL

As a woman who used to play hockey, you've got to love seeing stories like this. Someone sees that she's good enough to play with boys her age. I think it's a great thing.

At the same time, however, it's difficult for women to compete with men at the same level. Not because men are physically superior to women, but because we're built differently. Men do some thing better than women, and women do some things better than men. That's just the way it is.

Even if you disregard the general height differences, the fact is that men are faster then women when it comes to leg speed. It comes down to knees and how they're put together. A man's hip socket is typically right above his knee joint, so a man's weight lies in directly on top of his knee from the hip. A woman's hip socket is outside of her knee joint, and because of that, her thigh bone comes into her knee at an angle. So while a woman's strength is typically in her lower body, that hip to knee angle makes running and skating a less efficient movement than it would be for a man.

I'm 5'9", and if I were to skate against a guy with the same leg length, the same leg strength, and the same amount of experience, he'd win almost every single time. It's simple biomechanics. And it's why you will rarely see any woman play against men at the same level in a position outside of the goal crease. This is also why women's hockey is slower than men's hockey. It's not because they're not as good, but because they're built differently.

I wish her all the best. But at only 5'7", she's going to have a tough time getting playing time professionally against men. Especially when tall goaltenders are the preference at this point.

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