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NEWS: Women’s shinny takes off at Christie Pits (Jan. 2023)

January 24th, 2023 · No Comments

Popularity has grown immensely

Last month’s cover of the Gleaner featured organized women’s hockey from the 1890s at the University of Toronto. Today, women are continuing the tradition pictured here in Christie Pits. FOX OLIVER/GLEANER NEWS

By Fox Oliver

Bring your sticks! Women’s shinny is back this winter at Sid Smith Ice Rink and more than 20 other public rinks around the city.

Christie Pits’ Sid Smith Rink, built in 1978, opened along with most of Toronto’s other public ice rinks on Nov. 26. The time slots for free skating and shinny include games specifically for women and transgender folk (aged 18 or older) on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. and on Monday nights from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Liz Dewdney, an advocate for women’s shinny on Toronto’s rinks, says she remembers when she first started playing shinny nine years ago. At the time, she says, there were three rinks in the area near Christie Pits that held weekly women’s shinny games. They all hosted games on the same night of the week, creating a situation where the number of players at any given game tended to be low.

Nine years later, Dewdney says the number of players attending these games has grown immensely, and so has the number of rinks that support these games. Women increasingly start playing hockey at younger ages, so these games are showing a greater diversity of age and skill level on the ice. 

This community is open to shinny players of all skill levels and is welcoming to beginner and intermediate players. 

Dewdney runs the Facebook group Toronto Women and Trans Shinny which facilitates player communication and the coordination of games. This group encourages people of a variety of genders, including those who identify as nonbinary, to participate.

Mackenzie Saliani, a staff member at Sid Smith, says he has also noticed a change in the popularity of the women’s shinny sessions and a very positive response from the players. 

“In 2018, there were a maximum of 10 players [attending a shinny game] at once. Now, I see 30 to 40 people on some days,” says Saliani.

Dewdney says the marketing for these shinny games isn’t deliberate enough when welcoming transgender people. “The banner [above the rink] is good for letting people know that the shinny games are happening, but could be more inclusive,” she says.

A full schedule of activities at local rinks is the City of Toronto’s website.

Now that the winter has kicked off, the shinny games in Christie Pits are bustling, and the community is looking for more players. Why don’t you join them?

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