The Broadscast Is Changing the Hockey Podcasting Game with an All-Female Team

In Vancouver, the toxicity of hockey culture has been hard to ignore over the past couple of years. In May 2020, there was former Canuck Brendan Leipsic’s misogynistic and generally repulsive group chat messages that were leaked to social media, prompting the Washington Capitals to release the forward. He was subsequently signed by a Russian team.

 Then, in June 2021, Canucks forward Jake Virtanen was accused of sexual assault for an incident that allegedly took place in 2017. Virtanen was also released and subsequently signed by a Russian team.

 The Leipsic incident served as the jumping-off point for The Broadscast, a Vancouver-based hockey and sports culture podcast put together by an all-female team.

 “We were really upset about the way that was covered. It was very much from a male perspective, and we thought we should do something,” recalls Vancouverite Georgia Twiss. She’d been chatting with four other female sports fans on Twitter—fellow BCers Samantha Chang, Vanessa Jang and Dani Huntley, as well as Mallory McFall, who lives in Kansas City—about doing something together.

“And from there, by the time the COVID bubble came around, we decided it was now or never.”

Almost right away, The Broadscast found an audience. “I don’t think we expected that it would blow up as much as it did,” says Twiss. “When we started it, we had, like, 1,500 followers on Twitter in the first week and hadn’t even dropped an episode. We didn’t know what we were doing, but people were excited; it was just the right time for us.”

Chang adds that the group “wanted it to feel like you were listening to your girlfriends sit and talk about sports.” With segments like “no hockey, just soaps”—based on an ill-advised NHL ad campaign that promised “no soap operas, just hockey”—and “hot or not,” that goal was more or less accomplished and The Broadscast routinely hit over 1,000 listens a week.

The podcast—now hosted solely by Twiss, Chang and McFall, with some supporting work from Jang—has lured in some serious guests as well. Twiss is a talented graphic designer, and she printed up shirts emblazoned with “Motte Girl Summer,” honouring Canuck Tyler Motte (proceeds went to mental health initiatives). Motte bought a bunch of the shirts and subsequently showed up on the podcast. They also landed a couple of Nashville Predators, including captain Roman Josi.

It’s hard to not consider The Broadscast to be the polar opposite of Spittin’ Chiclets—the popular Barstool Sports hockey culture podcast hosted by former NHLers Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney that’s known for its off-the-cuff interviews with current and former players, as well as for its casual misogyny.

But Twiss thinks it’s important that her group has shown that Chiclets isn’t the only pod that can have interesting conversations with players.

 “One of the things that frustrates me with Chiclets is that people say they listen because they’re able to hear from players and what they’re like,” she says, noting that Barstool is notorious for its bigotry. “We asked Tyler Motte, ‘If someone gets traded, do you kick them out of the group chat,’ and we joked with Roman Josi about this Visa interview he did in which he said he had never read a book. I really reject the idea that you have to be on Spittin’ Chiclets to get these fun stories.”

The Barstool of it all has been hard to avoid for women navigating their way through a sports media atmosphere that can be unwelcoming, to say the least. When former host Huntley criticized Canucks’ star Elias Pettersson for appearing on Chiclets, the fallout was ugly. “She got death threats, people calling her office, the whole thing,” recalls Chang.

The group was already no stranger to online hate. “When you’re on Twitter as a woman, you normalize a lot of stuff,” says Twiss. “And for me, the sexual harassment got to a place where I was just like, I can’t do this anymore, it’s crazy.” Twiss left Twitter for about four months. “A lot of media people stepped in, said it was super fucked up. I know a lot of them didn’t realize how bad it was or didn’t fully understand. But since then, for me at least, it’s been much better.”

Adds Chang: “I don’t think any of us are particularly thin-skinned. We’re not playing victim. There was one guy who looked up where my husband works—he knew things about my life that I didn’t share and it got really graphic.”

There have also been more than enough recent incidents in the hockey world—the reveal that former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach was sexually assaulted by a member of the coaching staff, the Montreal Canadiens drafting a prospect convicted of sexual misconduct—to add to the toxicity that can be hockey culture.

“I realized at one point that there wasn’t a week where we didn’t put a trigger warning on a podcast for a long time,” says Twiss. “And part of that is pretty frustrating, because you’re like, I just don’t want to talk about this stuff anymore. But at the same time, if we don’t, no one does. It’s a weird balance, and that’s been challenging.”

Of course, there’s also been plenty of positive feedback—enough to keep the group going. “Reviews that mean the most to us are when we get people who say, ‘You’re validating my fan experience, because the other media I consume doesn’t speak to me or the issues I’m interested in,’” says Chang. “We had one from a girl who said she plays the podcast for her dad and then they talk through some issues that she wants him to learn about.” 

 As for the actual team they spend most of their time covering, Twiss would like to make some amends to her listeners. “We get people who are like, ‘I became a Canucks’ fan because of your podcast,’” she says. “And we will forever apologize to them for that.”