Blainey-Broker paid a price for her fight. She said she was abused verbally and physically. Parents threw coffee and popcorn at her. She would keep herself from crying at the rink, but her tears poured out once she got home.
Blainey-Broker said that most of her male teammates were good to her, but that parents and other girls were the meanest.
Even organizers of women’s hockey programs opposed her, she said. They thought that if girls could play hockey with the boys, girls would flood boys’ teams and hollow out women’s hockey programs, Blainey-Broker said.
“I only found out later that the girls had meetings with four adults to one girl, telling them to sign a petition to say I was destroying girls’ hockey,” she said.
While her case was going on, she was so skilled that she played several levels above her age group in women’s hockey, meaning she had teammates who were of drinking age.
“I was drinking by the time I was 12,” she said.
By the time she was 14, she was drinking a case of beer in one sitting.
“I used to hide alcohol in shampoo bottles on school trips,” she said.
Blainey-Broker was inspired to play boys’ hockey by her brother, David, who was 10 months younger than her. She saw that he got more practice time, more games and better coaching.
“I kept saying, ‘I want what he has,’” Blainey-Broker said. “And my brother said, ‘Why don’t you fight for it?’ We always wanted things fair in the house. Even to the extent that if I had to do the dishes, then you have to do something.”
Her mother, Caroline, who was a single parent, asked why she was not happy playing with the girls.
“It took a while to turn my mom around,” Blainey-Broker said. “Then she helped me write a letter to the newspapers.”
A reporter who had read her plea put Blainey-Broker in touch with a lawyer, Anna Fraser, who took on her case pro bono.