2022  n v w lamey hockey nova scotia  e n  m a i n

Closing the gap

A sign on a telephone pole rekindled Christina Lamey’s love of hockey, and put her on a path to make sure girls and women in Cape Breton have a place to play

Garreth MacDonald - Hockey Nova Scotia
April 29, 2022

“My hockey story has a bit of a gap in it,” Christina Lamey admits.

After “begging and pleading” to join a minor hockey team in her hometown of New Waterford, N.S., when she was 11 years old, Lamey’s time as the association’s only girl was short-lived.

“They wouldn’t let me join again at Peewee,” she says.

“There was just no spot for a girl.”

It would be more than 10 years later—and a move halfway across the country—before she would touch a hockey stick again.

“I was 25 years old, living in Toronto, and I saw a sign on a telephone pole that said, ‘Women’s hockey players wanted.’”

After all that time away from the game she had loved as a child, she was a little nervous when showed up at the rink.

“My first time with gear on in more than a decade, I felt like a deer on ice,” Lamey laughs.

“But after one awkward skating session, I felt like, ‘I can get this, I can get this.’”

The next time she stepped out on the fresh sheet, a certain familiarity returned.

Lamey was hooked.

“The gear offers a lot of protection, so you skate differently when you’re playing hockey than you would if you were just skating around on an ice surface somewhere. You’re chasing the puck, you’re going for it, you’re not really holding back much. That’s quite a feeling because, just in general day-to-day life, you don’t do that.

“It’s a sensation I’ve only ever experienced on the ice playing hockey.”

With her passion for the game rekindled, Lamey brought that Ontario telephone pole’s message of inclusion back to Nova Scotia with her when she moved to Halifax two years later.

As a volunteer member of the Nova Scotia Senior Women’s Hockey League’s executive, she helped the league expand its numbers of teams and increase its membership.

“All the growth in that league has been from the beginners coming into hockey,” Lamey says. “Everything has to be about the beginner and knocking down barriers so they can give [hockey] a try.”

Now she is applying those same lessons learned to girls’ hockey in Cape Breton as president of the Cape Breton Blizzard Female Hockey Association.

After two decades as a volunteer in the sport in her home province, she is as passionate as ever about making sure girls everywhere have an opportunity to play.

“I had the sense when I was a kid that something wasn’t right, but I also had that sense later on when I went to get my daughter involved in hockey and I found it wasn’t significantly better than it was in 1985,” Lamey says.

“There still weren’t girls’ teams like I had seen in Ontario and there still weren’t powerful, large women’s leagues like I’d seen in Ontario. I felt like the interest was here, but something was structurally not right with it.”

In 2015, Hockey Nova Scotia began the process of modifying its governance structure to allow for the establishment of new associations that would be committed exclusively to growing and developing girls’ hockey.

In the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Lamey has been at the forefront of those changes. Today, her Cape Breton Blizzard Female Hockey Association is the fastest growing association in the province

“Christina has been a champion for women’s and girls’ hockey in this province and a champion for inclusion in the sport,” says Amy Walsh, executive director of Hockey Nova Scotia.

“She’s committed to the growth and sustainability of the female game here in Nova Scotia and she truly is a tireless volunteer. We’re really lucky to have people like Christina in this sport.”

While much has changed over the past seven years with the number of girls’ teams on the rise, Lamey says there is still work to be done.

“At the end of the day, a small girl looking to join hockey should have the same opportunity and cost and experience that a young male child would have.

“What are the structural problems that would stand in the way of that? Access to ice time is a big one.”

That’s why Lamey is now leading the charge to help refurbish the Canada Games Complex in Sydney, N.S. She hopes the arena, recently announced as a top-four finalist for Kraft Hockeyville’s grand prize of $250,000 for arena renovations, could soon become a home for both her growing association and women’s hockey in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Thanks to the dedication and efforts of volunteers like Christina Lamey, there are going to be fewer gaps in the hockey stories of young girls in Nova Scotia.

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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