Women Sports: UMaine women's field hockey game cut short for pre-game football fireworks

UMaine field hockey

The University of Maine women's hockey game was cut short by a representative of Kent State University so Kent could prepare for a fireworks ceremony ahead of a football match later that day.

The action shocked Riley Field, a senior of the team who said: “First and foremost, it’s offensive and upsetting to think that just because of your gender, your sport is looked at as less. We work just as hard as any men’s team; I believe that."

Maine's women's team were playing against Temple University in a Division I neutral-site game, typical for college teams when just before the second overtime the team were told to stop. 

Kent's football team were hosting a pre-game fireworks ceremony on the hockey pitch before starting their match at a nearby stadium.

A representative from Kent State announced in the sound system that Maine and Temple's game had ended and they could resume 7 hours later. However, the teams were not asked whether they were available to continue at this time.

The game between Temple and Maine was declared "no contest," as it was unable to be completed.

The Kent State Athletic director Joel Nielsen apologised to the teams.

"In hindsight, a different decision should have been made (ensuring) the game reached its conclusion. We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and in this situation, we failed." 

Temple and Maine were visiting teams, promised two full competitions. The coaches had been notified some months before that their match was to end at 10:30, but were not aware of what would happen if they did not finish. 

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) says that stopping the match is "harmful to the development of female student-athletes."

It sends the message that hockey and hockey players "don't matter more than pre-game football festivities."

The Maine and Temple game highlight the lack of encouragement shown to women's sport. Hopefully, this will not deter young hockey players from getting involved in the sport in future.

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