One of the biggest natural disasters to hit Canada in this century occurred in Southern Alberta during June 2013. A series of floods ravaged many cities in the area, including Calgary, home of the CWHL’s Alberta Hockey Club.
Unfortunately, many members of the club were not immune to the devastating effects of the floods. Meaghan Mikkelson, one of the elite defenders on the club, and a gold medalist from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games found her residence damaged irrevocably.
“We were evacuated and displaced for a month, which left us scrambling a bit to find somewhere to live for the time we were out of our place.”
While many devastating natural disasters occur throughout the world, it is only natural that individuals tend to believe it can never happen where they live. While many lives were affected, the spirit of perseverance and courage defined the region during its darkest days.
“Thousands and thousands of people volunteered to help those in need and to help clean up our city.,” proclaimed Mikkelson.
Among the thousands who volunteered was Kristen Lipscombe, a member of the CWHL editorial staff and Hockey Canada employee. Also residing in Calgary, her participation in the cleanup of nearby High River was one that brought her tremendous motivation. As she helped a shattered community pick up the pieces, she saw the true essence of teamwork.
“While it is hard to see people struggle during difficult times such as this, it is also so heartwarming to see how communities pull together and neighbours help each other out in times of need. Taking part in flood relief efforts has been an incredibly inspiring and rewarding experience for me, personally.
It has always been important for me to help out the causes I am passionate about. Whether it is promoting women’s hockey through my work with the CWHL or Hockey Canada, or volunteering with Oxfam Canada in support of global human rights.
A special thank you to DeliverGood and Hockey Canada for giving me the chance to get out into my community, put on my rubber boots and get involved!” remarked Lipscombe.
Head coach Tim Bothwell also felt the civic pride that emanated from the clean-up effort. Having served as an assistant coach at various levels of the Hockey Canada national women’s program as well, the ability of his colleagues to contribute was one that made an impression.
“Yes, I was very proud of the entire community not just the hockey community.
As one of the charter members of the Alberta Hockey Club, Kelsey Webster is a stalwart on the club’s defensive unit. The sight of the damage and the impact that hundreds of millions of litres of water left behind was nothing short of distressful.
“I have never before witnessed anything like this first hand. It was and still is hard to believe. Luckily, I was not personally affected by the floods. Those that I do know were affected were ‘luckier’ than most. I feel for those in High River and the rest of Calgary, wishing them the best as I cannot imagine what it is like to lose all your possessions.
This has been devastating for the city but the communities have done a terrific job in supporting those who need help. I hope that we do not experience anything like this again.”
While the obligations of life and the upcoming season means that moving forward is essential, reflecting on the recent tragic events helps to put in perspective an appreciation for life and hockey. While the physical clean-up and emotional recovery is part of the healing process, it encompasses a deeper understanding that what we enjoy and treasure is very fragile and can never be taken for granted.
For Mikkelson, she must now prepare to qualify for a spot on Canada’s roster for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Although she has suffered many difficult personal losses, her ability to focus and persevere is nothing short of admirable. With a positive outlook on life and remarkable internal strength, it is just another example of why Mikkelson is a role model for young women.
“What helps me to work my hardest and to push myself as hard as I can, is to take everything one day at a time and to remind myself every day to enjoy the process. I find that if you think too far ahead, things can become overwhelming and this results in stress.
I also remind myself every day how lucky I am to be doing what I am, and how fortunate I am to have everything and everyone in my life that I do. I try to keep everything in perspective in the grand scheme of things, but also work in a way that I will be able to look back on what I have done with no regrets.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”