CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Pennsylvania community is rallying around a female hockey goalie on a high school's boys team who was the target of vulgar and sexist harassment from spectators at a game last week.
The Post-Gazette reports that about 1,000 fans came out to the UPMC Lemieux Center in Cranberry Township to cheer the player on Monday. The larger-than-normal crowd gave the student a rousing welcome when she got on the ice and cheered when she made a save, the newspaper says.
Video obtained by WPVI shows many fans in the crowd holding up signs with messages like, “Prove them wrong,” “Girls rule,” “You are not alone,” and “We belong on the ice!”
The support for the player comes after a video surfaced on social media that showed students from Armstrong High School chanting sexist and vulgar phrases at the female goalie who was playing for the opposing team from Mars Area High School on Oct. 28.
In response to the video, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League has banned Armstrong students from attending their school’s hockey games and placed the school’s team on probation, The Associated Press reports.
Armstrong has also issued disciplinary action against the students involved in the chants, though the exact discipline wasn’t revealed by administrators, according to the Post-Gazette.
A family friend told KDKA that the student targeted by the remarks didn’t speak to the media on Monday night because she doesn’t want the attention. She just wants to play the game she loves.
The Mars Hockey Club issued this statement to KDKA:
“We are hopeful that the attention this incident has drawn will shed light on the issues our female athletes face which must not be tolerated and that this attention will help with eliminating this type of conduct from our sport.”
The situation even got the attention of Meghan Duggan, a women’s hockey Olympian on Team USA. She offered support to the affected student.
“To the Mars goalie who was targeted at a western PA hockey game last week...Every time you take the ice, women (and) girls all over the hockey community are proud of YOU! You represent so much more than the hateful words that were directed toward you. I stand with you,” she wrote.