ice hockeyThe Chicago Blackhawks put on a good game last night, only to leave us crying in our cornflakes this morning. No more drooling over Hawks hottie forward Patrick Sharp? We might as well give up on hockey, right? Not so fast, ladies. Every time a door closes, a window opens, every cloud has a silver lining, and all that jazz. Which is to say, there's some seriously good news on the horizon.

Now that the Hawks are out of contention, we can focus on the real hockey heroes -- the U.S. Women's Hockey team, which just won a world championship. And not just any world championship. Their THIRD world championship in three years of playing (there was a break in play in 2010, but they claimed the same title in 2008 and 2009). Why is no one talking about this?

Oh right, because they're women in a male-dominated sport. Yawn. I'm getting to the point where I type those words all too often, and it's really getting on my nerves. I KNOW why men don't watch women in sports, because they complain that it's too slow. They moan that they're afraid the delicate flowers will get hurt. But I want to know why WE, the WOMEN, aren't watching it? Because as long as we don't bother, no one will talk about this stuff.

I'll admit I'm a fairweather hockey fan. I watch with my husband only -- where I'll tune my radio to a Yankees game whether he's with me or not -- and even then I like the fights the best. But it is hockey playoffs season, when the ice is where it's at if you're a self-respecting sports fan. I've paid more attention in recent weeks than I have all season. I've been watching the Blackhawks, the Canucks, and so on and so forth (and yes, drooling over Sharp -- I mean, LOOK at this guy). But I didn't know a thing about the ladies until after the fact, when news came out that they'd beaten the Canadians 3-2 in overtime to take home the title. As a woman, I couldn't help feeling guilty.

Is it the timing? Any hockey news on now is, after all, about the playoffs. It's hard to wade through it all. I'd like to think that's it. That we're so inundated with hockey news that we couldn't get through it all to the real gems. That's why I'm willing to bid the Blackhawks adieu to dive into this meaty story, which includes an awesome mom (team captain Jenny Potter, 32, has a 10-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son) and a women's team that's done far better than the men's national team -- they haven't won gold since 2004.

We may not have a female version of the NHL to watch this time of year, and so we can be excused for giving ourselves over to our lusty ways. But when opportunity knocks, ladies, it's time to open the door.

The ladies of USA Hockey are waiting for us. Will you turn to them in your time of hockey need?


Image via tiffa130/Flickr