Author’s Note: Originally this article centered around Puck Daddy Writer and Editor Jen Neale’s Reddit AMA (ask me anything) and some of her responses to questions about Puck Daddy’s current and future coverage of the NWHL and CWHL.
I brought up her lack of experience covering women’s hockey and that was unfair. It’s gatekeeping, the same practice that occurs at more “mainstream” outlets that keeps them lacking in diversity.
I also compared her unfavorably to other writers, which was unfair both to Neale and to everyone else I mentioned. We’re all on the same team and we all want the best for this sport at all levels even though we may sometimes disagree on how to get there.
I apologize for the entirety of this piece in its original form and for those things specifically. I have taken to revising this piece, not to shirk accountability for the unfortunate things I wrote, but because I felt leaving it up was more damaging than not to women’s hockey. My top priority will always be the sport and the people involved.
I have concerns that Yahoo and Puck Daddy have opted to add NWHL and CWHL responsibilities to those of their existing writers for no additional pay. Will the NHL suffer? Will the NWHL and the CWHL suffer? Will the writers and editors suffer with more work? I don’t know. Asking for more work out of the same number of people makes me concerned that Yahoo isn’t fully invested in the success of women’s hockey coverage and that no amount of hard work will be able to overcome that.
But acting like this is going to fail from the get-go is defeatist and damaging. We should be asking ourselves how we can ensure the success of women’s hockey and coverage of it. We already know there’s a market for women’s hockey because:
- Women exist
- They play and watch hockey
But we’re working against the fact that men’s sports have had a kajillion year and kajillion dollar head start because of institutionalized sexism that Title IX only partially tackled in 1972. Men’s sports get the coverage and the benefit of the doubt because of that sexism, not because they’re inherently more popular or will draw more eyes. And they get the viewership because they get the coverage.
That is what we’re fighting, whether you’re of the opinion that Puck Daddy’s previous issues make them ill-equipped to cover women’s hockey or whether you would prefer to try to pressure Puck Daddy to change from within.
So how do we keep this thing off the ground? Or more to the point, how do we answer the chicken and egg scenario that is no coverage without viewership and no viewership without coverage? The answer is probably ‘sheer force of will’ and whether you agree with them or not, Puck Daddy has the opportunity to be a major factor in that. And so do the rest of us.