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Nine Women's Hockey Candidates for the Hockey Hall of Fame

With Riikka Sallinen becoming the next woman to get inducted later this year, here’s a look at the next nine players who could, and should, see themselves enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Caroline Ouellette

While the Hockey Hall of Fame has allotted two spaces for women’s hockey players for inducted since 2010, both spots have been used just once. 

That happened for the inaugural class in 2010 when Cammi Granato and Angela James became the first women ever inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In the 12 years that followed, the Hockey Hall of Fame inducted only seven women.

The absence of women is not due to a lack of legendary players. In fact, the list of decorated and Hall of Fame-worthy women is long. The nine women in the Hall include Granato, James, Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette, Geraldine Heany, Kim St. Pierre, Jayna Hefford, Angela Ruggiero, and this year’s inductee, Riikka Sallinen Here’s a look at the next nine players who could, and should, see themselves enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Caroline Ouellette - With four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship gold, Ouellette should already be in the Hall of Fame. Ouellette starred for Canada from 1999 until 2018 and seemed like a strong candidate to get in this year. A two-time CWHL MVP with the Montreal Stars, Ouellette was also a multiple-year all-American while starring for the University of Minnesota Duluth before turning pro. In 79 Olympic and World Championship games, Ouellette recorded just under 100 points to make her one of the best forwards in national team history. To add to her gold medals, Ouellette won an additional six World Championship silver medals and is a four-time Clarkson Cup champion. That's a good enough CV to get you in.

Vicky Sunohara - Alongside James and Granato, Sunohara was considered one of the original superstars of women’s hockey. Two Olympic gold medals and seven World Championship gold adorn her resume, among other incredible achievements. Her early impact as a leading member of Canada’s first-ever World Championship and Olympic rosters is undeniable. Currently, Sunohara is coaching the University of Toronto where she is the back-to-back USports coach of the year.

Hilda Ranscombe - Inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, Ranscombe was the captain of the famed Preston Rivulettes. Through the 1930s, Ranscombe dominated women’s hockey winning ten Ontario provincial championships and six national titles as the leading scorer of the Rivulettes. In fact, her team lost only twice in 350 games during their decade of dominance, which came to a close due to World War II. Ranscombe was considered one of the best players on the globe, regardless of gender, and belongs among the many men inducted to the Hall of Fame from her era. Ranscombe passed away in 1998 at age 84.

Fran Rider - The historic gender inequality in the sport of hockey is personified, perhaps nowhere, as glaringly as in the omission of Fran Rider from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015, Rider herself was a star hockey player with the Brampton Canadettes in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1982, Rider organized a renewed national championship tournament in Canada for women, and in 1987 organized the World Hockey Tournament, the predecessor for the first women’s World Championship in 1990, which she also organized. A recipient of the Order of Canada and Order of Hockey in Canada, Rider still leads the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. Without her impact, women across the globe would not have the opportunities they do today in hockey.

Meggan Duggan - Olympic gold medallist, seven-time world champion, Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, captain of Team USA, three-time NCAA champion, and Clarkson Cup champion - Duggan’s absence from the Hall of Fame is baffling. Her impact on the sport while playing in the NCAA, CWHL, NWHL, and internationally for the United States is difficult to match. Currently, Duggan works for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils as the team’s Director of Player Development. Her impact as a legendary forward for the USA and as a role model for future generations of women’s hockey players in immeasurable.

Julie Chu - A four-time Olympic medallist and five-time World Championship gold winner, Chu was a staple on Team USA for a decade. She won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the NCAA’s best player while starring for Harvard, and was a four-time All-American. Chu also won a pair of Clarkson Cup titles with the Montreal Stars. Currently, she is the coach for the Concordia University Stingers, leading her team to a national championship in 2022. As the first-ever Asian American ever to compete for the USA’s women’s national team, Chu broke barriers and served as representation for future players.

Cassie Campbell - Inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, Campbell broke the gender barrier for the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame as the first woman's hockey player. She won a pair of Olympic gold medals and was a six-time world champion while playing for her country. In 2012, Campbell was awarded the Order of Hockey in Canada, and in 2016, was given the Order of Canada. Since ending her career, Campbell has since served as a hockey broadcaster, working with Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet, and TSN. She is one of the most recognizable, and impactful women in the history of the sport, and deserves to be in the Hall one day.

Karyn Bye - Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2011, Bye is one of the all-time leading scorers in women’s international play representing the USA. She began her hockey career playing under a pseudonym to conceal her gender so she’d be allowed to play. A two-time USA Hockey Women 's Player of the Year Award, Bye is an Olympic gold medalist and a six-time World Championship silver medalist. Before television and media covered women’s hockey, Bye was a dominant force.

Jennifer Botterill - The first player to ever win the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award twice as the NCAA’s top player, Botterill won three Olympic gold and five World Championship gold medals during her career with Canada. The 2003-2004 World Championship MVP, Botterill also played for Toronto and Mississauga in the NWHL and CWHL, winning an NWHL title in 2004-2005. Internationally she is one of Canada’s all-time leading scorers.

While this is the past, and beyond the nine players discussed, dozens including Jenny Potter, and Maria Rooth could easily find their way to the Hall as the organization works to correct historic inequity. The future is even more secure for a group of surefire Hall of Fame members. Hilary Knight, Marie-Philip Poulin, Jenni Hiirikoski, Brianna Decker, and Noora Raty who should all be first-year eligible inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame. 



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