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Canadian women take on the world – 80 years ago!

October 4th, 2011 by Carrie Gleason

Young readers may be surprised that women athletes in Canada have been excelling for more than a century. And they were doing it when most people thought girls and women shouldn’t be playing sports!

Forever champions coverThe story of the Edmonton Grads girls' basketball team began with a coin toss in a high school gym. The teacher who lost the toss would have to teach the girls' physical education class.

Luckily, the losing teacher decided to show the girls how to play basketball, and the team would go on to become a celebrated women's team that won both Canadian and international titles. By the time the team (which became a women's team after they left high school) disbanded in 1940, they had an amazing 502 win-20 loss record. Not bad for a team that started out as a group of high school girls no one wanted to teach!

The story of the Grads is told by sports author Richard Brignall in his recently-published book Forever Champions: The enduring legacy of the record-setting Edmonton Grads.

Queens of the IceThe Preston Rivulettes hockey team also had a chance beginning. In 1930 in Preston (now Cambridge, Ontario) a man in a local park overheard a girls' softball team deciding to play hockey when the weather turned cold. The man bet the girls that they couldn't form a team. The girls took up the challenge, and one of the most successful hockey team in Canadian history was born.

The Rivulettes struggled to find enough money for their team to play and, despite the criticism the girls received for playing a violent, unladylike sport, they persevered and  eventually became so good that other teams refused to play them! Queens of the Ice, a new book by University of Lethbridge sports historian Carly Adams, is the first book to tell the story of these early women sports heroes.

Recordbooks are Canadian sports history books. These books have a low reading level so that struggling readers ages 12 and up and ESL students can enjoy them. Content is suitable for kids reading at level. Click here for a full list of Recordbooks:


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