Woman denied spot in men’s hockey league, claims gender discrimination

University District

Fourth-year student Kassandra Sticklee says her sex shouldn’t prevent her from playing sports

Kassandra Sticklee playing hockey.
Kassandra Sticklee playing hockey.
Photo: 

After playing on men’s hockey teams her whole life, Kassandra Sticklee, ArtSci ’14, no longer has the option to play on her usual type of team.

When attempting to sign up to play for the League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen (LUG) with her male friends, she said she was denied, allegedly because of her gender.

LUG is a recreational hockey league that was started in 2009 as an alternative to Queen’s intramurals. The league is Kingston-based, but not affiliated with Queen’s or its athletics department.

Sticklee’s male teammates are transferring from Queen’s intramurals over to the LUG, leaving her behind.

Sticklee said she contacted the general manager of the LUG, Craig Miller, in August, asking if she could play.

“I know you’re good enough to play in the LUG since I’ve seen you play many times,” Miller told her via Facebook message, adding that he regretted to inform her that the LUG will remain a male-only league.

“As soon as men buy into the league … they expect to play in an only men’s league,” Miller said. “Once you add women, that changes their perception of what their paying for ... it’s not a feminist issue, it’s just a business maneuver.”

Later, Miller told the Journal in an interview that women have never played in the league.

“It’s always been a men’s league and that’s the way we foresee it into the ongoing future,” he said.

After playing in various men’s leagues for 10 years, the opportunity is now no longer available to Sticklee, which upsets her, she said.

“It’s just frustrating because that’s a right that I used to have, and it was basically taken away from me,” she said. “I never felt disadvantaged in any way and it’s just frustrating because it was something that I was born with and I can’t change that I’m a girl.”

Despite its past as a men’s only league, the co-owners said allowing women is a possibility that has been discussed.

Ethan Wright, co-owner of the LUG along with the three others, said females are primarily barred from participating due to health and safety reasons.

With a high contact league, these issues are a concern, he said.

“We have not said that women cannot play hockey in the league, it’s just something that we want to approach with caution,” Wright said.

This year was the first time they were approached by a female player, he said.

Sticklee said she was initially discouraged from registering, as the league’s name includes the word “gentlemen.”

“The title of the league is not directed towards a sex, it’s just an umbrella term,” Wright said.

Marc Santos, Sci ’14, has played with Sticklee since grade 7. He said he feels indifferent about women playing on his team.

“We actually had a couple girls on our team [in the past], and it wasn’t a big deal for me. One of the girls was probably one of the better girls on our team actually,” he said. “I think it kind of sucks because I played hockey with Kass, I know she’s a decent hockey player.”

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