NCWHL’S Mission of Inclusivity

A few years ago, spurred by Harrison Browne of the NWHL, the board of the NCWHL thought that we should make a policy regarding transgender players. So, after thoughtful deliberation, we did. But we didn’t make a big deal of it or make it publicly known. Most times the Board will make decisions, talk to the people involved, update the website with the new policy, and that is the end of it. Now, however, considering society’s growing awareness of transgender issues, we decided this policy needed to be public. This policy needs as much transparency as we can give. We also thought you needed to know how and why this decision was made.

Policy regarding transgendered players:
If you have ever identified as a female, you are allowed to play in the NCWHL.

How we arrived there:
We knew we weren’t the only organization to look at this issue. We looked at multiple organizations that have already publicly wrestled with and developed a policy. We looked at IIHF, NWHL and some non-elite level groups. Some of these groups, like the IIHF went with measuring the amount of testosterone. Some, like the NWHL, said if you identify as a male, you are no longer female and cannot play in a women’s league. Neither of these two policies fit they way we felt about it. We ultimately feel that if you have ever lived life as a woman, you know what it feels like to be a woman, to face discrimination and disparities, but also the joys of being female. We feel that having lived even a part of your life as a female is enough to qualify you to play in our league.

What does this mean?
To our transgender players – you are welcome in our League.
To our cisgender female players – you are welcome here.

There is only one caveat, and that really applies to ALL players – be aware and don’t play like (an asshole). If your play and actions on and off ice are detrimental to the League or unsafe for others, you will be asked to leave. Our League plays differently, with a different tenor than most leagues. Similar caveat – treat others with respect. Do not hide who you are, but respect who others are. On and off the ice, in locker rooms and the bench.

You will never be not allowed to play because transgendered. You may however be asked to play elsewhere if your play does not conform to League standards. Many women in this League chose to play here for numerous reasons. For some, the chief reason is so they don’t have to play against the size, strength, and attitude of their male counterparts. So pay attention to the way you are playing. Your body is different now, and your style of play might be different as well. (Let’s keep it all chill.)