Breaking the ice: Female hockey player skates through gender norms


Photo courtesy of Kayley Dunn

Kayley Dunn prepares to hit the ice to defend her team’s net. Dunn has been playing hockey for over five years.

Da'Niary Johnson, Staff Writer

The classic high school experience entails excelling at either academics or sports. However, some students defy this norm, taking on both of these challenges and shining nonetheless. One such student is Kayley Dunn, a Central Bronco that is blazing her own path both in the classroom and on the ice. 

Dunn has been playing hockey for five years. Originally, she was involved in figure skating for three years because her brother, Gage, also played an ice sport. While she enjoyed it at first, Dunn got bored with the repetitive nature of skating and began looking for a new activity. She started playing hockey with her brother, which she enjoyed and started getting into. 

With her newfound interest, she decided to make a change. Dunn joined the Jets travel hockey team as one of the few girls. Now, with those girls having graduated, she finds herself as the only girl on the team.

According to Dunn, although it was sad when her other female teammates left, those players taught her valuable lessons that helped her shine. 

“The girl’s team is more strategic,” said Dunn, a defenseman. “The boy’s team is faster and more aggressive. It’s not that big of a difference to be the only girl on the team. The guys treat me the same.” 

Even with supportive teammates, Dunn does acknowledge that there are inherent struggles with being the only female member. For example, because she is over the age of 15, she cannot dress out with the boys.

“It’s very difficult for me,” explained Dunn. “But I understand why I have to do it.” 

Adding on to her interests in sports, Dunn, a sophomore, is still looking to challenge herself in academics and is aiming for her AICE Diploma. Some of the challenging classes that Dunn is taking now include AICE European history, AICE AS English Language, and honors biology.

“Kayley is always attentive during class,” explained Ms. Minnerly, Dunn’s biology honors teacher. “She a good student, works hard and well and also very smart”

Off the ice, Dunn is staying motivated by her parents and her passion for the sciences. After high school, her plans involve majoring in biology and becoming a doctor. Since she was young, she’s always been drawn to the idea of learning about biology and medicine. Dunn is currently looking at different colleges where she can achieve her goal. 

”I’ve always wanted to help people as a kid,” Dunn stated. “The doctor role has always fit me.”

As for the future of her athletics, Dunn wants to play Division 3 hockey when she gets in college and even looks forward to playing hockey after she gets her degree.