Female Hockey Player Set to Start
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LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Danielle Dube is about to become the third woman to start a professional hockey game. But she just wants to be known as a member of the team.
``To myself, I am just a goalie. But to everyone else, I am a female goalie,″ Dube said as she prepared for Wednesday’s game between the Long Beach Ice Dogs and San Diego Gulls.
Dube, 26, a native of Vancouver, B.C., is feeling the pressure _ even though she’s been playing hockey against the opposite sex for 22 years.
``I’m learning to deal with it,″ she said. ``It’s actually more awkward when I play on the (Canadian women’s) national team.″
Dube is the first female player with the Ice Dogs. She’s had a few awkward moments since joining the team. At the meet-the-team dinner this year, one player asked if she was someone’s girlfriend.
Dube played with the Bakersfield Fog of the West Coast Hockey League in 1995-96 and the Central Texas Stampede of the now-defunct Western Professional Hockey League in 1996-97.
Earlier this season, she played eight minutes in relief for the Ice Dogs, stopping 12 of 13 shots against the Gulls.
``It’s not like she is a girl but more like a goalie with long hair,″ said Ice Dogs teammate Roger Maxwell.
The only other women to start pro hockey games were goalie Manon Rheaume, who has played in 24 minor league games in the U.S. and Canada, and goalie Erin Whitten, who played in the Colonial Hockey League in the mid-1990s.
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