Pennsylvania high school hockey fans berate female goalie with sexist chants


Pennsylvania high school hockey fans berate female goalie with sexist chants
The Armstrong High School in Kittanning, PA. About 50 to 60 of its students chanted vulgarities at a female ice hockey player on the opposing team. Armstrong School District

The only female on a high school ice hockey team in Pennsylvania was left in tears last week after insults and chants were hurled at her while she was playing. 

“The game should’ve been stopped until the behavior stopped or the fans were escorted out of the building,” league commissioner John Mucha said of an ice hockey game at the Belmont Ice Arena on Oct. 28.

About 50 to 60 Armstrong High School students in Kittanning, located about 44 miles from Pittsburgh, chanted “she’s a wh–e” and other vulgarities at the Mars Area High School team’s female goalie, the Daily Mail reported. The unidentified high schooler was left in tears by the second period of the game, according to her coach, Steve Meyers.

“We have no one else. She plays varsity and JV for us,” Meyers said. “We’ve had plenty of girls in this league before and never heard anything like this. With all the training we’re required to do as coaches about safe sports and sportsmanship, this should not happen. For it to fail this badly, it’s really disappointing.”

Armstrong’s principal, Kirk Lorigan, said school officials were “appalled and embarrassed” and he was “disgusted” that parents and security guards did not stop the chants. He also apologized to the player, the team and the Mars community. 

Lorigan said that officials were still investigating but that “appropriate school discipline has been used.”

It is unclear exactly how the students who shouted the vulgarities were disciplined, but Armstrong County commissioners extended a ban on students in grades 9-12 from attending hockey games at the Belmont complex, to also include 7th and 8th graders. 

The female player received widespread support after the incident, including from Team USA Women’s Hockey Olympian Meghan Duggan on Twitter.

To the Mars goalie who was targeted at a western PA hockey game last week…Every time you take the ice, women & 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 👊🏻 @NHL @PWHPA

— Meghan Duggan (@mduggan10) November 2, 2021

“Every time you take the ice, women and girls all over the hockey community are proud of YOU!,” she said. “You represent so much more than the hateful words that were directed toward you.”

The high school goalie returned to the ice on Saturday for her travel team and was also met by cheers. She will return to her high school team on Monday evening. 

“Clearly, the incident that happened on October 28 was completely unacceptable and the entire hockey community must take steps to ensure that any similar conduct will never happen again,” the Mars club statement said. “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.”