A recreational women's hockey league in the Yukon has adopted a policy to accommodate transgender players.
The Whitehorse Women's Hockey Association released the policy on its Facebook page Friday morning, explaining that any player who was either born female or identifies as a woman would be permitted to play in the league.
That clears the way for 29-year-old Chase Blodgett, who is in the process of transitioning from female to male, to continue playing for the Burnt Toast Fireballs. Blodgett is team captain and goaltender.
Blodgett said prior to coming out, one of his biggest fears was exclusion from the hockey league.
"That's my community," he said in an interview. "They're my friends and family. There's an amazing sense of community as you go through a lot together. I just wanted to continue to share the joys on the ice."
Blodgett was born in Peterborough, Ont., and moved to the Yukon a few years ago to teach. He is listed as the league's top goalie and his team is currently in first place.
He said the association board's decision to implement a transgender policy sets a precedent.
"They were faced with a choice where they could choose to see reasons to exclude people, or where they could choose to see reasons to include people — as there is evidence to both," he said.
"Their decision to choose inclusivity reflects the very nature and reason why I desire to remain a part of this beautiful community."
Board members with the Whitehorse Women's Hockey Association, which falls under the umbrella of the Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association, met earlier this week to draft the policy.
"We want to make sure that we are being proactive and showing our league and all players that we are an inclusive, safe league," said board member Michelle Rabeau.
"It's a new issue for lots of the players and some of the people on the board too. We want to make sure we were doing it right."
Rabeau said the board considered potential concerns that might come up, such as dressing-room dynamics and the issue of men playing women's hockey.
Players with concerns about dressing room policy are being encouraged to speak with a board member.
The association's Facebook post says any perceived competitive advantages shouldn't be a problem, because "we are not the kind of competitive league where this would be an issue."