Canadian Olympians Natalie Spooner and Hayley Wickenheiser, the two women in the back, have helped to grow the place of women in hockey. (Beth Bowers)

For the longest time, I have loved hockey. I grew up in Canada, so it was in my blood to love the sport. However, for the longest time women were not visible in the sport at all.

At the NHL All-Star Game at the end of January, the NHL and LA Kings, hosted a “Women in Sports Business Panel.” It brought together prominent women from a multitude of backgrounds. On the panel was:

Alyssa Milano, who created a line of clothing that was more flattering for female sports fans, but not pink;

Helene Elliott, a long-time sports writer who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the first female journalist;

Susan Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks;

Heidi Browning, the recently-hired Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of the NHL, who said she is going to look at marketing sports specifically to woman by connecting with more personal stories but not “dumbing it down” as Milano added;

Angela Ruggiero, one of the best American hockey player as a 4-time Olympian and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame;

and Kathryn Tappen hosted the panel, works for NBC Sports as a host and reporter.

These women discussed their experiences as they broke into their respective industries. They all emphasized speaking out and just trying to pursue your dreams. Ruggiero, described learning how she had to deal in the “male-dominated world.” There were naysayers as she was trying to play hockey when she was child playing hockey on boys’ teams.

I liked how Ruggiero called it a

male-dominated world.

That is how I have always described. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between a “male-dominated world” and a “male-world.” I think it is important to help create less stigma and make it easier for women to be more involved in sports.

They also talked about how more women watch the Olympics in the United States than men. They suggested that more women watch because the Olympics broadcasts tend to tell more personal stories about the athletes than North American professional sports league broadcasts. It was unanimous by all of them, that there is still more room for growth in sports for women.

Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, said it at the beginning of the discussion:

There are opportunities. You have to work hard for them. You have to follow your dreams. You have to have a passion. But anything is possible.

You can watch the whole talk here.