Female high school hockey player taunted with gender reveal sign, chants she’s ‘a dude’
A Pennsylvania high school hockey player was taunted last week by opposing fans with a sign prompting her to “reveal” her gender and chants calling her a “dude” during a championship game in Lehigh Valley.
Alyssa Wruble, the only girl on the Northampton Area High School varsity hockey team, was playing in a championship game against Parkland High School of Allentown on Feb. 26 when she heard the chants attacking her gender. In a post about the incident Saturday on Facebook, Donna Bloss, Alyssa’s aunt, included photos of a sign that read “Alyssa gender reveal?” with the signs for male and female.
“The level of unsportsmanlike conduct during these several championship games was mind boggling,” Bloss said in her post. “I’ve toyed with whether or not to even put this out there for fear of upsetting my niece even further but she knows this was done out of sheer jealousy.”
Alyssa, 17, told Fox affiliate WTXF of Philadelphia on Tuesday that the chants were so loud that the entire student section must have been participating.
“When I skated over, all I heard was ‘Wruble, you’re a dude,’ and apparently my uncle and aunt and also my father heard them say I have a penis,” Alyssa told the station.
Alyssa, who scored two goals during the game, said she wants an apology from the people who were responsible for the sign.
“Any girl should be allowed to be as good as a guy,” she said. “It shouldn’t matter what gender they are. If they want to play a sport, you should let them, you shouldn’t bring them down for wanting to go do something they love.”
Parkland Ice Hockey President Mike Byelick stepped down from his position in the wake of the incident and said the team did not condone the sign, according to The Express-Times newspaper of Easton.
Rob Bilger, Parkland Ice Hockey’s acting president, said he agreed with Byelick that the team does not condone bullying and that he has reached out to the Wruble family to personally apologize.
But the incident is also indicative of a larger problem of bullying in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League over the years, Bilger said.
“There were so many hurtful things being said by both sides, it’s sickening,” Bilger said. “Bullying is out of control, but instead of working together to eliminate it, people on Facebook are using bullying to address bullying.”
Bilger said two female players on the Parkland team were called an offensive and obscene word on the day of the game by Northampton fans while they left the locker room.
He acknowledged that Alyssa did take the brunt of the bullying because of the sign and the way it spread over social media after the game.
Parkland High School and the Parkland School District apologized to Alyssa for any pain the sign inflicted on her and her family in a statement posted to the high school’s Facebook page Sunday.
“There is no place for unsportsmanlike conduct or personal harassment in our school, or any where, and anyone involved will be disciplined according to Parkland policy and procedures,” the school said.