Canadian female athletes can still benefit from a law enacted in the United States way back in 1972.

Known as Title IX, the landmark legislation banned sex discrimination in schools, whether it be in academics or athletics.

The legislation helped to open up doors for female athletes to receive equal amounts of scholarship dollars as their male counterparts.

“It’s a great way to develop women’s sports,” said Calgarian Carla MacLeod, who attended the University of Wisconsin on an athletic scholarship from 2001-05.

A veteran member of Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team, MacLeod enjoyed getting an opportunity to play for the Wisconsin Badgers while attending school.

“To be able to give the women’s programs the same as the men’s programs and treat everyone equal, it’s a great concept,” she said.

Fellow National Women’s Team defender Tessa Bonhomme also appreciated the opportunity to play hockey south of the border after graduating from high school in her native Sudbury.

Following four years of playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2003-08, Bonhomme encouraged other young female athletes to also pursue their dreams.

“Don’t pass up the opportunity,” Bonhomme said. “If you go, you can always come back if you don’t like it, but if you never go, you won’t know what you’re missing out on.”

After two years of playing soccer for the University of Calgary Dinos in the late 1990s, Chrissy Nelson was looking for a change of scenery.

“I just kind of jokingly asked a teammate who had come back from the States if she knew of anyone who was looking, so she gave me a number and an email of a coach,” said Nelson, who wound up earning an athletic scholarship at Idaho State University to play for the Bengals. “What attracted me was that they were looking for a goalkeeper and I wanted to go somewhere else. I wanted to try something new.”

If it wasn’t for Title IX, Joan Lettman would have never attended Murray State University and run track for the Racers.

“A lot of people don’t know that there are these scholarships out there,” said Lettman, noting that it was quite an adjustment moving from Toronto in 2004 to the small college town of Murray, Ken., but that she’s glad she did it. “That opportunity will always be there (for others).”