Unextraordinary league, indeed

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A female Queen’s student was recently rejected from joining the League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen (LUG), a Kingston hockey league run by former Queen’s students, but not associated with the University.

The League’s managers have handled the situation very poorly. Whether or not this has been a gross violation of individual rights is unclear, but the League’s justifications for excluding her raise serious questions.

The player in question is said to be pretty good at hockey. She’s been playing with a group of male friends in Queen’s intramurals and hoped to join them in the LUG. The general manager of the League acknowledged that he had seen her play and that her skill level was not the issue.

The main reason the League cites for excluding women is “health and safety”. At first blush, this seems reasonable as men generally grow to become larger and stronger than women.

However, these grounds for exclusion become weaker in light of the fact that the League apparently occupies a grey area between full-contact and non-contact hockey.

It should be noted that women have participated in full-contact hockey as high up as the professional level.

In addition to “health and safety” reasons, the player was excluded based on a “business maneuver” because “as soon as men buy into the league … they expect to play in an only-men’s league.” The league manager clearly implied

that those who sign up for the LUG expect the absence of female players. Would this type of thinking be tolerated if applied to any other group?

It’s not clear whether or not the League will allow women to play with men in the future, if they will create a separate league for women or if they will continue to completely exclude women.

The League has been active since 2009 and has not yet developed any rules or policy on the matter. Needless to say, the men who are running this league should have prepared for the eventuality that a woman would ask to sign up. Establishing whether or not they consider their league to be strictly men-only would be a good start.

No matter what choice the LUG eventually makes, as of now, a skilled player is being excluded from competing for no good reason.

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