Young Okanagan hockey players are joining two-time Olympian Natalie Spooner on the ice.
Spooner is in Kelowna this weekend alongside the Grindstone Award Foundation’s Girls Rock the Rink, which helps young female hockey players get and stay on the hockey rink.
With a gold medal in 2014, a silver medal in 2018 and a successful career in both university and professional hockey, Spooner came to Kelowna to share her story of becoming a bona fide hockey star.
“I’m excited to be (in Kelowna) to share my story with the girls and hopefully inspire them to keep playing sports or hockey,” Spooner said. “Getting on the ice with them is the best part and the most fun.”
“For me, my big ‘ah-ha’ moment growing up was when I got to meet Jennifer Botterill and to see her gold medal. For these girls, hopefully, it’s something special that inspires them and lights that flame inside of them to continue pursuing hockey.”
Two-time Olympic medalist Natalie Spooner visits Kelowna to share her ‘Spoon Full of Dreams’ to local youth hockey players. Emphasis on following her dreams, women empowerment in sports and hard work. pic.twitter.com/cN6Sdculpm
— Mack Britton (@MackBrittonBC) July 20, 2019
The Grindstone Award Foundation helps finance young women hockey players’ dreams in the Okanagan. The weekend event, Girls Rock the Rink, gets local players spending time on the ice training with both Spooner and other elite female hockey players and coaches. A hockey tournament, as well as an all-star game, gives players a chance to see what playing with a women’s national player is like while helping promote women in sports.
With the Canadian’s Women’s Hockey League (CHWL) folding earlier this year, Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink to help usher in new developments of a sustainable professional women’s league for future players.
“Girls’ hockey is growing faster than boys’ hockey. It’s about giving these girls the confidence to stick with it. If we can get the right support and the people behind us, it could really create a league that’s sustainable,” said Spooner, who looked forward to getting back on the ice after a few weeks away.
“Having one of the top women’s hockey players in the world join us for a weekend of fun and inspiration will no doubt leave a lasting impression on the young players that are joining us,” said Grindstone Award Foundation president and founder, Danielle Grundy.
Spooner played with the Toronto Furies in the CWHL and had a record-breaking career with Ohio State University. She’s the first player to win the CWHL Championship and Olympic gold medal.
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