Since those first games she participated in—held in Grande Prairie in 1995—MacLeod went on to win Olympic medals with Canada’s women’s hockey team. She was on the ice for the final 38 seconds of the famed gold medal win in Vancouver 2010.
She’s travelled the world far and wide and hopes her experiences will motivate Alberta’s future hockey players to be their best selves.
“I was really fortunate. I got to play a handful of times to represent Alberta,” says MacLeod. “It’s the first step in every kids’ dream of hopefully one day playing in the Olympics.”
It won’t be an easy task. The timelines are tight. Team selection to competition is only a few months. MacLeod hopes the team can come together quickly and manage the added pressures and distractions of competing at home.
“As a coach, I want to help them see what’s coming down the pipe. And, have them prepared,” says MacLeod. “But the reality is they don’t know what’s coming at them. It’s going to be an unbelievable experience but magnified because it’s in Red Deer.”
All told, she thinks the Canada Winter Games are a springboard for future success and is excited about the chance to make an impact on the team.
“To make the team is a big deal. This is going to show them how big sport is. And, the opportunities within sport,” says MacLeod. “The potential of the players inspire me. Not even just as hockey players, but as young humans. What those girls can do in the world when they get the chance gets me out of bed every day.”
ATB Financial is co-presenting sponsor of 52° North, a festival at the Canada Winter Games that includes concerts and activities for all ages. The games will be held in Red Deer, Alberta February 15-March 3. More than 3,600 athletes and 20,000 spectators are expected. For more information visit canadagames.ca/2019
Photo credit: Neil Zeller