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Celebrating International Women’s Day: Q&A with the Women of BC Hockey
Friday, March 6, 2020

To commemorate the day, we spoke to just a few of the many amazing women who demonstrate the true values of hockey and continue to push themselves and the sport to new heights in British Columbia and beyond.

Delaney Collins- Canadian National Team Alum & Olympic Gold Medalist, 2019 Team BC Female Head Coach

What does being a woman in sport mean to you?

Being a woman in sport is empowering and I view it as an opportunity to lead and inspire other females involved in sport.

Why do you coach? What has coaching taught you and brought to your life?

I coach because I enjoy the opportunity to help female athletes grow through sport and I coach because I have strong background in hockey that I can use to teach our sport. Coaching has taught me to embrace, promote, and focus on the development of the athletes. Winning is a great feeling but a healthy outlook and safe learning environment is equally important.

What would you say to any girls who are thinking of playing hockey?

I would say hockey is for everyone and it is a great sport to teach you life lessons. Hockey also inspires a sense of community and friendships that will last forever.

What do you hope to see for the future of the women’s game?

Continued growth and visibility for the sport. Healthy competition between programs, provinces and national teams is very exciting for the sport and the athletes.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Female leaders should work together, learn from each other and promote each other. Nothing makes me more proud than a close knit group of females who share a common vision.

Micah Zandee-Hart – Player: Canada’s National Women’s Team

What does being a woman in sport mean to you?

            Being a woman in sport for me has come to mean playing for nothing more than the love of the game. With the state of women’s hockey right now as well as many other female sports out there, it is not a career a woman can make a viable living at. With that, women still play all of these sports across the world, putting in the training hours day in and day out simply because they love what they’re doing.

Coming from boys hockey to girls, what is the difference playing on a women’s team?

I first got the chance to play with girls on a full-time basis when I was in tenth grade. I think one major difference is the shared experience that we as women have. On the men’s side of the game there are many avenues one can take to pursue the sport, on the women’s side there’s only two paths after high school - college hockey or recreational. With that, I think it creates a smaller world for women’s hockey where you compete on the ice, but off  the ice you’re on the same side to make sure our game moves forward.

What would you say to another girl / woman who is thinking of playing hockey?

            I would say do it! Hockey is such a unique sport and in Canada it is a sport that is supported quite equally across genders. Growing up the sport of hockey taught me so many lessons that I will take with me throughout my life as an athlete but also as a person. Another major component of hockey for females is the opportunity for education. With the sport still in its early stages, college scouts are recruiting coast to coast so when thinking long term, hockey can open up paths for you to pursue a higher education while still playing a sport you love. My education is the greatest thing that hockey has given me.

What do you hope to see for the future of the women’s game?

            As many of my teammates have alluded to with the PWHPA and their selfless battle to create a sustainable league, our hope is to have a professional league for women’s hockey where women can play hockey as a full-time profession. On top of that, I hope that there is the exposure of our game across North America so young girls can have role models from day one. As any female hockey player my age can attest, we looked up to NHL players as young girls; I hope to see a day where a young girl starting out in hockey can look up to WNHL players and be able to watch them on TV.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

            Thank you to all of the women that came before me, and to all the young girls coming after me. You all push me to raise my level every day, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Happy International Women’s Day to all of the athletes out there who identify as women!

Grace Barlow – BC Hockey Referee & Northern Capitals Assistant Coach

What does being a woman in sport mean to you?

Being a woman in sport means to me that I am strong. I am capable of being a leader, being a teammate and being an athlete. Sport is such a beautiful vessel to teach young women that being a woman is something to be proud of and your accomplishments are nothing short of amazing.

Why do you play/ coach/ ref hockey?

I am an assistant coach of the Northern Capitals, a female U18AAA team, as well as a referee for BC Hockey. I coach because I want to be able to help the next generation of hockey players and women to achieve their goals on and off the ice. I referee because I am simply passionate about the game of hockey and I hope to see all that play it, play it safely and fairly.

What would you say to another girl / woman who is thinking of playing hockey?

Do not be afraid of coming to play! There is always a team and there is always a family that comes along with it!

What do you hope to see for the future of the women's game?

I hope for the future of the women's game to be bright and that little girls are able to dream of playing hockey professionally just like their counterparts can.

Any other thoughts you'd like to add?

Hockey is such an amazing vessel to so many opportunities and it taught me how to be the person I am today.

Anne Cherkowski- Player: Canada’s National U18 Women’s Team, Team BC

What does being a woman in sport mean to you?

To me, being a woman in sport means that we are more than capable of competing at high levels and achieving greatness. It means that there are no preconceived barriers of what being a woman means holding us back. I think it proves that we can accomplish whatever we set out to do, while inspiring other women along the way.

Coming from boys hockey to girls, what is the difference playing on a women’s team? Can you comment on the community or social aspect that it might bring?

The biggest difference between boys to girls hockey is definitely the bonds and friendships you make. While playing on a boys team, I was always segregated in my own dressing room and never got the full experience of being on a team. The game is so much more than just on the ice, it carries out into the dressing room and further into your life. The bonds and memories you create from those times are what stay with you forever.

What would you say to another girl / woman who is thinking of playing hockey?

I’d say go for it. Playing hockey has changed my life and continues to impact it for the better. It allows you to chase your dreams while having the time of your life. You become best friends with your teammates and create lasting memories from on the ice and off.

What do you hope to see for the future of the women’s game?

In terms of the future for women’s hockey, I hope to see more attention being put towards the female side of the game. Women in hockey are just as deserving as men and they should get the opportunity to play on a similar platform as them.

Jada Livingston- Player: Team BC

What does being a woman in sport mean to you?

Being a woman in sport means a lot to me. It means I can represent the future for girls and empower them to follow their dreams. It means being able to support girls that need help finding their place and being able to prove that we as women belong, just as much as the males do.

What sets a part playing on a women’s team? Can you comment on the community or social aspect that it might bring?

The community within the team is amazing. The culture that females can make when placed in a room together is unthinkable. You make lifelong friends through the world of sport and you always have your support group in the dressing room.

What would you say to another woman who is thinking of playing hockey?

Try it! You can never go wrong with trying something new. You may not like it at first but give it a shot. The world of hockey has so many opportunities for women and girls who want to carry their passion to the next level. The friends and family you make will be some that you never forget!

What do you hope to see for the future of the women’s game?

I hope to see a professional league open up. It’s hard to look at all the male opportunities and compare them to the female opportunities, only to be disappointed with the result. As a player graduating minor hockey this year, it’s unfortunate to think my hockey career may be over in 5 years after I complete my college scholarship. I would also like to see more females try the sport. Although it is a male dominated sport, women are the new generation of hockey. We are the change that the hockey world has needed for some time now.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Be proud of who you are and celebrate your successes. When trying something new, you may not always get the results you want. Don’t give up! Having to work for something is hard but once you accomplish it, you will forever keep setting the bar higher and higher. Women are the change in the world of sport, and this is our time!

 


 
      

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