Manon Rhéaume is the only woman to ever play in any of the major North American pro sports leagues. In 1992, the goalie played in a preseason game for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Oh, and she was only 20 years old when she went up against the best hockey players in the world.
Think about how, even today, female athletes who try to break into traditionally male sports are met with criticism or worse. Now imagine what it was like in 1993. Players, fans and front office executives openly ridiculed her. She didn’t have peers to confide in. She didn’t even have a locker and had to change in the bathroom. Undeterred, Manon went on to play minor league hockey until 1997, demolishing the stereotype that women couldn’t hack it in the tough guy sports. She also starred on Canada’s women’s team, winning two gold medals at the IIHF World Championship and an Olympic silver medal. Girls all over Canada and the world took notice and Manon is credited with being a catalyzing figure in girls’ hockey.
Today, she gives back by coaching girls in the Detroit Red Wings youth program. A hard-working single mom, Manon raised two boys. Her eldest followed in his mother’s skates and is now a goalie at top tier, Notre Dame.
GoodSport recently attended the Project Play Summit in Detroit where Manon was given a standing ovation and treated like the celebrity that she should be. With a movie about her life in the works and a lot of upcoming dates on the speaking circuit, Manon Rhéaume will soon be a household name and occupy her rightful place as one of the most important female sports figures in history. Stay tuned as we follow Manon on her journey in 2020.
Additionally, a scripted feature film based on her story is currently in the works, as well as a children’s book set to release later in 2020. For more information, please visit https://www.betweenthepipesmovie.com.