Rheaume made history on September 23, 1992, when she became the first woman to play in a major professional hockey game. At the same time as Manon Rheaume on the ice in Tampa, five-year-old Dani Rylan began playing hockey. Her father, Jon, then took her aside and told her that women didn't play sports like this so don't worry about being scared.
Rheaume's appearance came less than a month after the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) was founded. The league is now one of the top women's pro leagues in the world.
Before Rheaume played, the only female hockey players who had ever attracted attention were high school athletes who played on boys' teams or in men's leagues. The CWHL was created to give women involved in the sport an official place to play.
Manon Rheaume went on to have a successful career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where she currently serves as an assistant coach. She has two children: a son named Léo and a daughter named Ava.
You can learn more about Manon Rheaume on Wikipedia.
Manon Rheaume is a retired Canadian ice hockey goalkeeper who was born on February 24, 1972. She won an Olympic silver medal and set a number of records during her career, including becoming the first woman to play in any of North America's major pro-sports leagues. ...
Rheaume is the only woman to have ever appeared in an NHL preseason game. Several female hockey players, however, have taken part in the NHL All-Star game, from demonstrations to formally playing in the skills competition. Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in any of the main North American pro-sports leagues on this day in 1992. CBC Sports (@cbcsports) September 23, 2019 pic.twitter.com/qLBtAQvlg1
She was the first woman to do so since Patricia Callahan in 1968. Callahan played for the Boston Bruins in two games during the 1967-68 season.
For many women who have tried out for the NHL team's roster, this opportunity comes once in their career. Because of the nature of the sport, most women don't last long enough to warrant regular appearances on the roster. But several have played in exhibition games when there are no real consequences if you get hurt.
The NHL has more than 100 women's teams in its major sports leagues. In addition to the Bruins, other women's teams include the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The WNBA operates as a separate league with its own set of rules but many of the same teams are involved with both men's and women's basketball. Women have been playing professional basketball for nearly 80 years but it wasn't until 1972 that the first women's league was formed. The original Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) lasted one season before being replaced by the current version which launched in 1996.
The Lightning played their first preseason game against the Minnesota North Stars in September 1992, and later that preseason, Manon Rheaume became the first woman to participate in an NHL game, making her the first woman to play in any of North America's major professional sports leagues. She played one period and scored a goal.
Rheaume was born in Quebec City but grew up in Montreal. She began playing soccer at a young age before switching to ice hockey in high school. She went on to play college hockey at Boston College before turning pro with the Washington Power of the WCHL. The Power were owned by the NHL's Capitals at the time, so when Washington opened its roster for competition purposes only, Rheaume made the team as a forward. She played two games with the Capitals during the 1991-92 season without registering any points before being sent down to the Power where she finished out the year. In 1993-94, she played all 82 games for the first of three consecutive seasons while scoring 26 goals and adding 42 assists for 68 points. She helped the Power win the league title each year along with two conference titles.
After the 1995-96 season, the Power moved to Florida and were renamed the Panthers, so Rheaume joined them as they entered the NHL. She played four seasons with the team and was a part of two more conference finals appearances.