Having first mounted the sled with the Niagara Thunderblades in 2004, Christina Picton has become one of Canada’s finest female competitors. In addition to building a remarkable sporting legacy, she has also built a legacy of leadership. Currently, she serves as captain of both the Thunderblades and the Canadian National Women’s Ice Sledge Hockey Team.
Although she was born with a deficiency that altered the growth of her legs, eventually resulting in the amputation of her lower right leg, Picton’s enthusiasm and high energy are a source of encouragement. Having recently graduated from Niagara College among the top of her class, Picton has ambitions to become a graphic designer.
With her attendance at the annual AthletesCAN Forum held in Mississauga, Ontario, it was a chance to extend her legacy and obtain insights that can make the national team stronger and encourage teammates to unleash their full potential. Of note, AthletesCAN is an association for Canadian national team athletes, allowing such talented and inspiring individuals the opportunity to gather outside of competition.
Representing the national team at the event, Picton did more than raise awareness that women play ice sledge hockey. Her presence proved to be a way to inspire others that disabled athletes are prominent members of the sporting community, able to make remarkable contributions if given the chance.
Surrounded by a remarkable group of Canadian female athletes such as Claire Carver, Perditia Felicien, Karina LeBlanc, Rosanna Tomiuk and Betty Trevino, it was an opportunity for Picton to gain perspective as to the triumphs and obstacles that other women in Canadian sport have experienced.
Bringing an eagerness to learn, the event proved to be highly rewarding for Picton. Topics of discussion included “Determining your Own Path to Leadership”, plus “Best practices in Athlete Representation models”. A presentation focusing on “Why Athlete Representation?” was also on the agenda.
Common ground among all the athletes on hand included funding, something Picton and her teammates are not immune to. While she juggles career with athletics, costs such as international travel, ice time and equipment could be eased with the assistance of sponsorship.
With women’s ice sledge hockey poised to be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, the next three years are essential to providing some much needed attention to the players and their admirable efforts. Taking into account that the Labbatt USA has become a sponsor for US ice sledge hockey in 2015-16, it should help raise awareness for the sport, hopefully providing the Canadian women’s team with a much needed sponsor. For now, the Canadian team has merchandise available on its website, while several players, including Picton have established pages on a fund raising site.
To support Picton’s athletic dreams, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/christinasledge