Angela James: The First Superstar of Women’s Hockey

Angela James is one of the all-time greatest hockey players of her generation. Born and raised in Toronto, James grew up playing hockey on ice and in the streets of Flemingdon Park during the 1960s and 1970s. She went on to play professionally in the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association women’s league and internationally for Team Canada during the 1980s and 1990s, and at that time, was one of the most versatile and physical players in the women’s game.

In Angela James: The First Superstar of Women’s Hockey, authors Tom Bartsiokas and Corey Long detail James’ journey through hockey. They chronicle her relationship with her siblings, her mom, and the community of which she grew up-in. Most notably, they detail how James had to negotiate and fight back against marginalization as she came from a working-class and mixed-race background. (As an adult, James was one of the only openly LGBTQ identified players in professional hockey).

One of the intentions behind my reading escapade series has been to read about notable and groundbreaking women and transgender athletes, as they remain far to invisible to the mainstream. Angela James: The First Superstar of Women’s Hockey is a fascinating book about the development of women’s hockey in Ontario, nationally, and internationally, James’ career, and the role she played in advancing the sport. The writing is simple and personable, and the content is insightful. The authors have a lot of reverence and respect for James, and it’s easy to understand why.

After retiring from professional hockey in the late 1990s, James was inducted into a slew of Fame institutes, most notably the Hockey Hall of Fame. She also opened Breakaway Adult Hockey School and is the Senior Sport Coordinator at her alma-mater Seneca College, King Campus.