You've got hate mail

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

Bling!

I had mail.

It was long before the crack of noon. I opened the e-mail when I saw it was from Shannon Szabados.

It started as a nice note thanking me for my column in which I insisted that the best backup goalie available to dress as an emergency replacement for Devan Dubnyk the night before wasn’t Nathan Deobald, the third string ’tender from the University of Calgary Dinos, who had played one game in the last two years.

It was a woman from Edmonton who just happened to have just won an Olympic gold medal a couple of weeks ago. I accused the Edmonton Oilers of either not being able to see it or, worse, that they didn’t want to risk ridicule from the hockey world for dressing a girl in goal.

Szabados, I read on, was actually e-mailing me to brace myself.

“You are probably going to take a lot of criticism for it. It’s not going to be a popular article.”

She predicted I was about to be welcomed to her world of ignorance and sexism that she’s dealt with her entire career as the girl goalie playing against boys and men.

Bling!

E-mail from Ken opening with a reference to my “lack of brain power” and concluding with my “amazing stupidity.” ...

“Shannon Szabados is a good goalie in the women’s world she plays in,” he began.

“Suppose (starter Jeff) Deslauriers got hurt and then she has to go in.

What a bunch of idiots the Oilers would look like for throwing her to a team that’s boasted one of the top lines in the league all year.”

Bling!

Steve was next ...

“The Canadian women’s team’s tune-ups were against midget-aged hockey players. Would you bring up a midget goalie to back up an NHL goalie?” he started.

“Szabados couldn’t play a decent level of junior hockey. I honestly can’t believe you would write such a column.

“I would love to see the reaction if she had gotten in there and had to face a Sami Salo slapshot or Alex Burrows skating through the crease.”

Bling!

Brett was next ...

“Really Terry? Come on! Why should Shannon have this opportunity over Nathan Deobald? Why is she more important than Nathan? Is it because Canada came first in a two-horse race known as women’s hockey? What if Canada didn’t win? Would she still deserve to do so because she won the gold medal?”

Bling!

Jeff was next ...

“Shannon is a pretty damn good goalie, probably the best woman’s goalie in the world. But take a step back and realize the speed of play and the velocity of the shots she’s accustomed to ... midget AAA.”

There were more, not to mention the 23 comments at the bottom of the column on edmontonsun.com, split fairly evenly between support for Szabados and those speaking in a similar refrain to the e-mailers.

But you get the idea.

This is one of those read my lips things.

Shannon Szabados is a better goalie than Nathan Deobald!

The girl goalie from Edmonton was the best goalie available. Better than the aspiring actor from Calgary!

There are comparable stats from before Szabados graduated from three years in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and went to play for Grant McEwan before graduating to the Olympic team.

Deobald played for the Kindersley Klippers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League at the same time she played for Fort Saskatchewan Traders in the AJHL. Essentially the same league, different province.

He played 42 games with a 3.11 goals against average and .904 save percentage.

She played 44 games with a 2.13 goals against average and a .920 save percentage and was MVP of her team.

She went on to bigger and better things including an Olympic gold medal. He went on to play one game in two years as a third-string goalie, getting into that game when the first-string goalie got hurt and the second-string goalie got suspended.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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