Cheri pipes up on big debate

SCOTT UNGER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Cheri Piper wishes she had a girls' league to play in when she was younger. That's why her feelings on the girls hockey human rights case that made national headlines are no big surprise.

Twin sisters Amy and Jesse Pasternak caught the eye of the national media this spring when they went to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

They felt they were being unfairly discriminated against because they were forced to play on West Kildonan Collegiate's female high school hockey team rather than trying out for the boy's squad.

"Because there is a women's team there, they need to realize that girls can play hockey and see the elite levels of the game," national team member Cheri Piper said. "It's a just a matter of giving it a chance."

She is in Winnipeg with fellow national team members Sami Jo Small, Jennifer Botterill and Gillian Ferrari instructing at the Golden Girls Hockey School.

The landscape of female hockey in Canada has changed in recent years to allow girls to play exclusively against girls, a luxury the majority of the members of the national women's team didn't have.

"When we grew up it was difficult because there weren't any girls' leagues," Piper said. "Eighteen year olds played with 15 year olds. That's not really what it should be. Now there is leagues for every age and every skill level. So there is so many opportunities out there that I think girls can grow up playing solely women's hockey, be phenomenal athletes and make the national team."


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