The First Women’s World Hockey Championships

In honour of women’s history month, let’s take a look at the first IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships. 

The first IIIHF sanctioned Women’s World Hockey Championships were held March 19-25, 1990 in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to this, there had been smaller tournament hosted by various organizations but nothing of this magnitude. 

There were eight teams in the tournament – Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany, Norway and Japan – and they surely put women’s hockey on the map. 

At this tournament, the host Canadians skipped the usual red jerseys and wore pink instead. Those who made the decision were unsure how to sell women’s sports and thought this could work. The fans embraced this and sported pink while cheering on the team. For the gold medal game, 9000 fans packed into the arena decked out to match the team on the ice. Restaurants in the area even supported the team by serving pink food. The pink was short lived and the Canadian National Women’s Team switched to red jerseys following this tournament.

This tournament had its fair share of legendary hockey players. Team Canada included Angela James, Vicki Sunohara and Geraldine Heaney while Cammi Granato and tournament scoring leader, Cindy Curley suited up for Team USA. 

The final game had Canada and the USA facing off which is the same matchup that has been seen in every final game of this tournament expect for one (USA vs Finland 2019). Canada pulled out a 5-2 win to capture the first-ever gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship. 

The final standings were as follows







7.West Germany


Since 1990, Canada has captured a total of 10 gold medals which is the most of any team. The USA is just behind them with 9. Canada and the USA have both medalled at every single Women’s World Championships to date. 

The 1990 Women’s World Championships will forever be a monumental moment in women’s hockey. It finally allowed women to compete on the world stage and set them up to continue to play best on best hockey. It cemented that women do play hockey and showed little girls across the world that hockey is more than just a man’s game.

The 2020 Women’s World Championships were unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19 but the teams are ready to get back out there this year. They will play in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia from May 6 to May 16, 2021. Stay tuned for coverage of the tournament right here on Unbenched!

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