Coming of age as a student athlete in Ithaca, NY, more than 30 years ago, Mollie Marcoux had no sense of herself as a pioneer. Putting on hockey pads or stepping on a soccer field simply gave her a fulfillment she couldn’t find anywhere else.
Now, as Princeton University’s first woman athletic director, Marcoux has a big-picture view. She recognizes that she was part of a shift that is still unfolding, with more school-age girls and teens participating in sports than ever before.
“More than anything,” she says, “I want young women to know the joy that comes with sports.”
On Wednesday night, Marcoux will gather with other female sports executives and athletes at Madison Square Garden as the Rangers mark the 33rd Annual Girls and Women in Sports Day. The event is a celebration of achievements and milestones, but also a reminder that the path toward equal opportunity and access — for both athletes and executives — still has some distance to cover.
The Madison Square Garden Company embraces these goals. Its Junior Knicks and Junior Rangers programs are magnets for both boys and girls. Each summer, hundreds of youths participate in basketball and hockey camps run by the Knicks and Rangers. A charity game involving Rangers alumni helped fund the Hudson Valley Girls Hockey League, which opened its first season just last month.
Behind The Numbers — Progress
Efforts like these matter. According to exacting statistics from the National Federation of State High School Associations, 3,415,306 girls participated in high school sports last year — an all-time high. And, perhaps most significantly, as the numbers have shifted, so have attitudes. The Women’s Sports Foundation says that 87 percent of adults agree that athletics are as important for girls as they are for boys. In addition, among female executives from all fields, 61 percent say that playing sports helped them achieve their success.
Before the Rangers play the Boston Bruins Wednesday night, Marcoux will join a discussion among a number of accomplished women, including Kim Davis, an NHL executive vice-president; Jenny Storms, Chief Marketing Officer for NBC Sports; Kinjil Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer for SquareSpace; Kristin Bernert, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for the Knicks; Angela James, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame; and Hannah Brandt, an Olympic gold medalist with last year’s U.S. Women’s Hockey team.
“I think we would all agree,” says Marcoux, “that participating in athletics changes how you view the world. As opportunities increase, more young women are finding their identity through sports.”
About The Madison Square Garden Company
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com