pond to podium rink board photo e

The power of Pond to Podium

More than 6,100 participants gleaned knowledge from Team Canada players and staff during the Pond to Podium Development Series, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive

Jason La Rose
February 12, 2021

While Canada’s National Women’s Team got on the ice for the first time at training camp last month, more than 6,100 people involved in hockey – players, coaches and parents – participated in the Pond to Podium Development Series.

Participants at all levels of the game connected directly with national team athletes and staff through 16 webinars that included skills sessions, holistic hockey training sessions, panel discussions and We Are Coaches clinics led by Hockey Canada women master coach developers.

“The participation of girls and women at all levels of hockey elevates our game and creates a thriving sport system,” says Teal Gove, manager of hockey development with Hockey Canada. “We hope the Pond to Podium Development Series encouraged all participants, in whatever their role, to strive for their personal podium so they can continue to gain all of the benefits hockey has to offer along the way.”

What did the participants take away from Pond to Podium? Check out a few testimonials.

“I was excited to attend the Core Values of Leadership session that was run by Gina Kingsbury. There were two areas that I felt made me better understand how I can become a better leader for my teammates. First and foremost, I learned it is important to be myself and not change who I am. Although I have the honour of wearing a letter on my jersey, I do not have to be serious all the time. I learned that it is important to have a balance with having fun with my teammates, connecting with them and being serious when I need to be. Secondly, I learned it is important to learn who my teammates are personally, to understand who they are on and off the ice. As a leader, it is important to create friendship and trust with your teammates, to ensure they feel comfortable talking to me. The session has given me a different perspective of what leadership is and how I can apply what I have learned to be a better leader, a better athlete and a better student.”

-- Ava Irwin, player (Burlington Girls Hockey Club)

“In the never-ending pursuit of being their best, highly-motivated coaches (from house league to national teams) seek information, advice and feedback. Ideally, you want to get those things from people with outstanding credentials and the right values. Hockey Canada’s Pond to Podium Development Series brought the best in girls and women’s hockey to our computer/phone screen. From Tara Watchorn’s A, B, Cs of playing defence to Howie Draper’s four Fs (fun, fast, fight, family) to Kori Cheverie and Vicky Sunohara addressing the importance of making the game enjoyable for their players, Pond to Podium is informative, insightful and interactive.”

-- Steve McAllister, coach (Kincardine Minor Hockey Association)

“As a parent of a young girl, it was inspirational to hear what leaders at the highest levels, such as Gina Kingsbury and Teal Gove, believe in. Having not been on the ice with her teammates during the pandemic, these webinars reinvigorated my daughter's passion for hockey and reminded her why she loves the game. The advice she received from two tremendous role models advanced her knowledge of the game, which will in turn motivate her and her team when they return to the ice.”

-- Melina Ducharme, parent (Burlington Girls Hockey Club)

“Watching the Pond to Podium sessions became a family affair! My U18 daughter (a defenceman), my U15 son (a goaltender) and I all thoroughly enjoyed the webinars. They were well-organized with very knowledgeable presenters who covered a wide range of useful teaching points and concepts that can be easily incorporated into practices or into a player’s regimen. I especially enjoyed Tara Watchorn’s concept of communicating the purpose of drills so players understand why and can more readily internalize the lesson (Developing Defence); Jessica Campbell’s philosophy of continuous development of skating skills being essential for all players to get a leg up in the game (Specialized Skating Skills); Gord Woodhall’s identification of the foundation of stance in everything a goalie does (Goaltending); and Paula McQuaid’s assertion that confidence and mental toughness are learned skills that can be improved through understanding what one can control, reframing situations positively and managing one’s emotions (Mental Training). A wealth of great ideas and lessons for players and coaches to take their game to the next level!”

-- Jeff Partrick, coach (Gloucester-Cumberland Girls Hockey Association)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the We Are Coaches programming during the Pond to Podium series. I have taken coach courses in the past, but this was my first experience in an all-women coaching program geared toward coaching women. I took so much more away from this than I have in previous courses. It made me think about things that I hadn’t thought of, and the group dynamic created an atmosphere that allowed for collaboration between coaches across our country. It was motivating, inspiring and what I think is needed to get more women involved in coaching and, ultimately, to continue to grow the women’s game. Thank you so much for this opportunity!”

-- Kristy Provost, coach (Nampa Minor Hockey Association)

“The broad scope and variety of the Pond to Podium topics was impressive. Athletes, coaches and parents could all learn from the various sessions. For our athletes to hear from women at the highest levels speaking openly and honestly about their experience, the ups and downs they have gone through, was very impactful. I love that the focus for the players was off the ice (mental, leadership and off-ice workouts) and all were topics within their control to take ownership of and work on to improve. The sessions were inspiring to those of us who love the game, who are proud to be a part of Hockey Canada and who are driven to keep getting better.”

-- Ryan Essex, coach (Central York Girls Hockey Association)

Would you like to be kept in the know regarding the next Pond to Podium Development Series? Register below to receive more information as it becomes available.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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