By Ishawna Ross
In 2010, The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Canada’s superstar, Angela James. This made James the first woman to be inducted since The Hall of Fame opened its doors for women to be recognized in 2009. The sports world is known to be male-dominated; however, despite pre- judgments and “stereotypes” plenty of women like Angela James have proven that these stereotypes are nothing but merely stereotypes! Many female professional athletes believe you have the choice to either allow these stereotypes to limit you, or move beyond them to strive for greatness and Angela James did just that.
“I’m really honored to represent the female hockey players from all over the world.” - Angela James
Born in a single parent-household and living in a “low-income” neighbourhood, Angela James was raised in Flemingdon Park, Toronto, where she found and honed her passion; hockey.
At the age of eight, Angela started playing hockey in the streets of her neighbourhood. Due to the lack of sports leagues for girls and women, Angela’s mom had to threaten to take legal action against the head of the novice boy’s team for not allowing girls/women on the team. Because of that, nine-year-old Angela was on the Peewee Team playing amongst 11-12 year old boys. Unfortunately, her hockey career was short lived as she only spent one year on the team, before they prevented her from playing further.
In her senior year of high-school, 16-year-old Angela was already playing against women in they’re twenties. Angela dominated the sport, landing her a spot on the Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League in 1980, where her stardom began. Leading her teams to numerous league and provincial championships, Angela became the lead scorer in eight seasons and won MVP (Most Valuable Player) six times.
In 1998, The Toronto Aeros rebranded as the Beatrice Aeros and entered the National Women Hockey League (NWHL) that was just formed; where Angela scored 38 goals with 55 points, and also winning MVP. After leading her team to win their first title, she retired from competitive hockey.
While Angela was playing on the COWHL, she also played on Seneca College’s hockey team, where she was attending school. She was the led scorer in the 1982-83 season and was also voted OCAA’S MVP. The following year in 1984-85, she continued to dominate scoring 50 goals in 14 games, two-peating and snagging the MVP title once again. Seneca retired her #8 jersey in 2001. She was also inducted into the Seneca Varsity Hall of Fame twice (1985 and 2004), and won the Seneca Distinguished Alumni Award.
The multi-talented superstar was selected to join Canada’s National Team, and during the first IHF World Women’s Championship, held in Ottawa, James led her team to a gold medal, setting the record with 11 goals in 5 games. She led the team to a gold medal three times in 1992, 1994 and 1997. With aggressiveness comparable to Mark Messier and her accurate, goal-scoring skills to the likes of Mat Bossy, her multiple abilities were showcased as to how talented she is. Although her main position is center, she is able to place defense quite well, and played the goaltender when her team didn’t have one. This only amplifies her talent, and her ability to be a multi-player, honing her craft in different positions.
Youth of the Year Award 1985
Women in Sport Enhancement 1992
Female Breath Through Award 2005
(Significant contributor of the promotion and/development of girls and women in Canada)
Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame 2006
(Ontario College Athletic Association - OCAA)
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) 2008
Canada Sports Hall of Fame 2009
Flemingdon Park Av. Renamed to Angela James 2009
Angela is a great representation of a woman who broke down walls within the sports world, and a positive image for young women to look up to as an example that anything is possible, and to never be afraid to take on challenges. Angela now is a coordinator for Seneca Sports, and is an expertise in organized, women hockey and sports.