Gabby Lindsay remembers watching Canada’s national women’s team on TV winning the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
On Sunday, she got the opportunity to skate with some of them at the Okanagan Hockey Academy training centre.
“It’s a really cool experience not very many people get to meet the national team and skate with them,” said Lindsay.
Penticton Minor Hockey goaltender Patience Wittenberg didn’t get to see her favourite player, Shannon Szabados, as she isn’t on the national team roster (she is playing semi-pro on a men’s team in the U.S.) but said it was a neat experience nonetheless.
“Meeting all the players and practising with them was really cool. I look up to them and want to go to the Olympics one day,” said Wittenberg.
For Team Canada defenceman Meaghan Mikkelson, who has won two Olympic gold medals with the national team, it is almost like hearing her younger self speak.
“I remember when I was little I had the opportunity to interact with players like Hayley Wickenheiser, Cassie Campbell and Danielle Goyette. I remember what a difference that made for me, so I just try and keep that in mind when I am out there with the kids,” said Mikkelson, who competed on Amazing Race Canada with national team teammate Natalie Spooner after competing at the Sochi Olympics.
Besides the pure fun it is to get on the ice and skate with kids just learning the game, part of it is inspiring young female players.
“I remember meeting (Wickenheiser) when I was young and getting to meet someone on Team Canada at that age it gives you the dream to one day also be on the team,” said Mikkelson.