This is the story of a little girl who was five. She loved the game. The little girl asked her Mom this question: “Mommy, can I please play hockey?”. Mommy, not being very bright replied “No honey, you are in dance.”
The little girl persisted, knowing that she needed this more than the air she breathed. On hockey registration night, as Mom and brother headed out the door, the little girl walked into the room, her Dad’s helmet on her head, a little mini stick in her hand. The little girl lifted her face, big brown eyes full of hope and pleading and softly spoke these words “Mommy, please, I play too?”. Mommy finally realized how important this was to her girl, and the little girl got her wish.
This is the story of a little girl who was eight. She smashed the top of her head and split it open. When the bleeding stopped she said “Grab my helmet, if I can get it on without bleeding everywhere I’m not missing practice.” She was at practice that night. This little girl would come off the ice crying because her feet where frozen and cramping, and get right back on next shift because she wasn’t missing a thing.
This is the story of a girl who was fourteen. She made a life choice that terrified her. She left her small town school, her friends, her hockey league, everything familiar to join a team that would change her life. With this team came the familiar, girls she played with her entire life, but also a room full of strangers. These strangers, and their families swiftly became familiar, a team in the true sense of the word. They have each other’s backs, they love each other and have made a lifetime of memories.
This is the story of a girl who was sixteen. She had her collarbone (and her heart) broken. She watched her team from the stands, waited impatiently to heal and finally, took to the ice on her Mom’s birthday. The look on her face as she stepped out onto the ice was the only gift Mom needed. The girl, in the heat of the game during provincials got hit into the boards and rebroke her collarbone. She spent the rest of the tournament on the sideline watching her team win without her. The girl spent the summer healing and getting strong, no ball, no horses, no hockey, all with the goal of stepping onto the ice with her team in the fall.
This is the story of a girl who was seventeen. This hockey season was one of last “firsts”. The last first practice of the year. The last first tournament. The last first game of the season. The last provincials. The last coaches’ speech. The last shift.
This is a story of a girl who, at the end of the season is covered in bruises and can tell you how she got each one, whether a slapshot, falling onto her skate blade, or colliding with the boards. She has been rubbed raw by her skates and shinpads, she aches all over. She wouldn’t trade it for the world. She has broken bones and suffered concussions. She has scored, assisted, and dug deep in the corners. She is a leader even if she doesn’t realize it.