Talk Hockey To Me: The Sociology of Women Who Watch Men’s Ice Hockey


Kathryn England

A Project in American Studies
Submitted in partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for a Master of Arts Degree
in American Studies
The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg
December 2008

copyright 2008, Kathryn England

Although ice hockey seems at first to be a masculine sporting environment like so many others, a subculture of women surrounds the game. Although they are often fans just as dedicated to the sport as the men they share the stands with, hockey-loving females are poorly catered to by the National and American Hockey Leagues, (NHL and AHL) the two most dominant bastions of the sport in North America. This thesis investigates the rise of the female hockey fan, the different ways in which the female fan is ignored or trivialized by male fans and the hockey organizations themselves, the internal subculture struggles between self identified “puckbunnies” and those who dislike the term, and how increasing media availability in our society can both help and hurt women in their quest to interact with the sport that they love. By assembling currently held views on the status of women in the hockey world and analyzing them as important members of a subculture, the shortcomings of the NHL and AHL in appropriately marketing and appealing to women can be brought to light and hopefully someday rectified.