The Detroit News’s Mark Falkner wrote an excellent article profiling hockey pioneer Manon Rheaume. The article’s a subscriber-only piece, but it explains Rheaume’s journey to playing an exhibition game for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992, as well as her present-day status as a coach for the Little Caesars hockey program:
It was this week in 1992 (Sept. 23) when the 5-foot-7, 135-pound Rheaume stopped seven of nine shots in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues in Tampa, Florida. No other woman has played in any of the four major sports: the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB.
“It took me years to figure out that my story inspired people,” said Rheaume, now 48, living in Northville and in her fifth season as head coach of the girls’ under-12 team and female hockey coordinator with the Little Caesars’ program.
“When I was in Tampa Bay, I thought it was just a hockey story but it’s a story about having a passion for something and never giving up and breaking barriers and going after dreams, even if all the odds are against you.”
Rheaume was back on the ice and coaching at Oak Park Ice Arena this past weekend, wearing a black protective COVID-19 mask instead of her familiar goalie mask. She’s won four straight state titles and half of the players on the nationally ranked under-16 team which she coached in 2016 have commitments to play Division I hockey.