Two OBHA Hall of Famers Recognized by International Ice Hockey Print E-mail
Friday, 21 December 2007

Angela James and Geraldine Heaney, the two Canadian’s who are considered to be the initial superstars of modern women's hockey have broken the gender barrier in the IIHF Hall of Fame players' category along with American Cammi Granato.

Angela James

Geraldine Heaney

The three will be the first women inducted into the international hockey shrine, the Zurich-based IIHF announced today.

''I'm certainly delighted, that's for sure,'' said James. ''Kudos go to the IIHF for recognizing the women's game.'' James grew up in Toronto playing ball hockey with boys. ''That was the thing to do in the neighbourhood when we were kids,'' she said. ''Females stood in the nets and took balls off the forehead. ''We played from morning till night, whether it be ball or ice hockey.'' James played for Canada in the first four officially-sanctioned IIHF women's world championships, starting with the inaugural tournament in 1990 in Ottawa, when she scored 11 goals in five games. It is one of her most vivid memories.

''The passion I had for it, the love of it,'' she replied when asked why she became such a good player. ''That's all we did. ''There aren't many people you sit down having a drink with who are involved in the sport and who don't love it passionately.''

James earned eight MVP awards in Canadian women's championship play and was an inspiration for the next generation of Canadian players.

''That's the way it unfolded,'' she said. ''Being involved in the sport you're reaching out to kids, signing autographs . . . hockey has always been a part of my life. James, who turns 43 on Saturday, is the recreation co-ordinator at Toronto's Seneca College.

Geraldine Heaney was born in Northern Ireland and began playing hockey at age 13 after her family moved to Toronto. She became a defence star and was the first woman in the world to win seven consecutive IIHF world championships, capping her playing career with a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. She also won Winter Games silver in 1998.

Heaney played a record 125 games for Canada, and her 27 goals and 66 assists made her the all-time leader in scoring by a Canadian defenceman. She is 40 now and head coach of the women's team at the University of Waterloo.

Heaney was inducted into the OBHA Hall of Fame in 2003 and James joined her in 2007 and along with fans across Ontario and Canada we congratulate both of them on this wonderful accomplishment. They will be enshrined in May 2008 as part of the World Hockey Championships as the IIHF celebrates their 100 year anniversary.