Scarlet Hansson: The Freshman Breaking Barriers in RHS Varsity Hockey

Christina Saros

It is no secret that ice hockey is a male-dominated field– merely 21% of all high school ice hockey players in the U.S. are women. Although the facts are daunting, they do not stop Scarlet Hansson, a freshman defender who has recently made Ramsey High School’s Varsity Hockey team, from playing the sport she loves. Hansson has been on skates since she was 6 years old, regularly practicing hockey with her dad and brother in order to improve her skills. She then joined club teams throughout her young ages, such as the Bandits and the Saints, allowing her to put her practice into play. Once middle school ended, Hansson had her heart set on trying out for the High School team. 

While checking is prohibited in girl’s hockey, it is permitted in boy’s hockey, putting her at risk of getting hurt by boys who are physically bigger than her. However, with encouragement from her family and friends, she decided to attend RHS Hockey tryouts. On the first day of the tryouts, she was completely alone in the girl’s locker room. Although isolated from the rest of the team, “I was able to get in my head and calm myself down. At first, I was shaking but this got rid of the nerves,” Hansson explained. When the tryouts began, it was just like a normal practice, with drills and exercises she had previously done on her club teams. She was not worried about making it to the varsity level as she knew she would be placed on the team based on her skill and not her gender. 

After making it to varsity, she did not receive pushback from anyone. Her teammates are extremely supportive and treat her no differently than the boys on the team. While the team takes the bus to games together, she must get dressed in a separate locker room and has to get ready on her own. After everyone is dressed, Hansson can then go into the boy’s locker room for pep talks and team meetings. The gender barrier naturally leaves her out at times, but Hansson involves herself as much as possible. The time to herself has also proved beneficial, as she is able to focus on herself and work on her mindset. Although Hansson is the only girl on the RHS team, other schools in the area have female players, who Hansson often runs into in the girl’s locker room at the Ice Vault Arena, the rink where they practice. They have developed into a tight-knit community in which the girls have become familiar with each other and all make an effort to uplift one another.

RHS Hockey’s biggest strength includes the team’s unparalleled collaboration. During the team’s second season game versus Indian Hills, they won after being down 3-1 during the first three periods, scoring three goals during the final period and ending the game with a 4-3 win. Hansson explained that this win was a result of trust and teamwork, two traits that she admires about the team. Her love for the team is translated into practice, where she works especially hard to enhance her game and earn playing time on the ice. “She has the heart of a lion. She always puts 100% effort into what she does and it is clear she loves what she is doing,” explained Senior teammate William McDade. 

With dreams of being a player for a Division I school, Hansson hopes to continue playing on the collegiate level. She says she will never get sick of the speed and thrill of the game; it is impossible to get bored of the sport. Matthew Schwarz, another teammate of Hansson, commented, “Scarlet is a game-changer. She’s not afraid to back down despite being the only girl on the team and I applaud her for that.” Hansson serves as an inspiration for younger girls looking to pursue an athletic career in male-dominated sports and is actively changing the sport of ice hockey for the better.