1982 – John Bilodeau
Girls’ Hockey: The First Test
While playing in Ottawa, Canada at a 1982 Squirt tournament, Aimee’s parents were asked by the Ottawa tournament organizers if Aimee would participate in Canada’s National Skills Standards and Testing Program. This is the same skills qualification and training test required for all Canadian youth (minor boys) hockey players. Aimee was the first girl ever to take this national skill test. The red tape the Ottawa organizers had to overcame to authorize a girl to attend an already scheduled boys’ test session was extensive. Being a non-Canadian may have added to the authorization complexity. Observers at this on-ice skating, puck/stick-handling skills test were captivated at comparing 10-11 year old boys to the American girl from Clinton. Most Canadian boys participating were older, and all boys were physically much bigger in stature. Aimee’s test results and ratings were not made public and were to be used only to foster youth development.
Informally the testers disclosed that Aimee’s hockey skills compared “surprisingly favorably” to the Canadian boys of her same age, and would be used regarding the matter of restricting girls playing in minor Canadian hockey.
Aimee was proud to outperform most of the boys at this test session, but made it clear that the ponytails poking out of her helmet had nothing to do with it. She said she was taught by Clinton coaches like Dave Isles, Tim Suppe, Don Davison, and many more. She also credited her brother Dave.
– John Bilodeau