In the inaugural episode of Sami Jo’s Podcast with Sami Jo Small, two-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time World Champion, Cheryl Pounder joins the show. Cheryl talks about how she overcame self-doubt to make it back to the Canadian national team and shares her insights on how to perform in a pressure situation and how to effectively communicate in a team dynamic.
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Below is a full transcription of the podcast:
[00:00:00] Music/Man’s Voice: Welcome to Sami Jo’s Podcast. The show that is all about gaining insights from top performers as they share what made their teams successful and translate those ideas into your everyday lives and businesses.
Here is your host, 3 time Olympian, professional speaker, author and entrepreneur …Sami Jo Small.
Sami: There’s a lot to talk about these days when it comes to hockey. I love it. I love the characters that emerge, the storylines that are captivating and watching each team as they attempt to create chemistry, build a team and support each other on their unique path to success. What a perfect time to launch a podcast about teams, both from individual standpoint on how to be a better teammate, but also from a leadership perspective on how to get the most out of each team member and build a cohesive team with a common goal.
[00:00:32] So whether you’re listening as an entrepreneur, a manager and executive of a company, an athlete, or even a fan, this podcast is for you. This podcast will not solely be about women’s hockey, although lots of my guests will be top performers in the game, but I wanted to take a deep dive into what made them successful and what they think are the ingredients in some of the exceptional teams they’ve been a part of. I will interview, my teammates, people I wanted to be teammates with and hopefully learn alongside you the listener, how their experiences can translate into our lives.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional indigenous owners of country throughout Canada and pay my respect to them, their culture and their elders past, present and future.
[00:01:18] What a better way to start our start off the Sami Jo Podcast with an incredibly successful woman, both on the ice and in business. The remarkable Cheryl Pounder. Cheryl and I were teammates for more than a decade. She’s a two-time Olympic medalist, gold medalist, six-time world champion defenseman with Team Canada.
[00:01:39] But beyond our years in the rink, we are now also both professional speakers, bringing insights from our team’s success to mass audiences around the world. Cheryl’s authentic and real and her energy is contagious and she has used the lessons learnt in a successful athletic career to build an extraordinary business.
Please enjoy my interview with Cheryl Pounder.
First, I just want to take this opportunity to thank you so much. We have been friends for such a long time, teammates, you’ve been my captain and I think the neatest thing is we both live in Mississauga now and that I do actually get to see you post-career. With a lot of our teammates, as you know, we don’t really get to do that. And every time we have a conversation, I just leave with this huge smile on my face. So I really appreciate you doing this for me. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
[00:02:31] Cheryl: Well, I’m excited to be here, Sam, and you know, I still take credit to bringing you to Mississauga.
[00:02:36] I think, you know, I really do, you know, growing up in South Mississauga, I think, I think I showed you and Jen Botterill around a little bit. So I’m going to take a little bit of that you know, to heart and say, okay, good. You know, there’s good reasons why, they’re in Mississauga.
[00:02:50] Sami: Not good.
[00:02:51] Do you remember when we first, when Jen first found a place in, In Mississauga. And at the time I’d been living in, I think Scarborough, maybe, and our team had just moved to Mississauga. We had bought by somebody in Mississauga. So she found a place here and I thought, no, I can’t possibly move there, it’s so far away.
[00:03:11] It’s like way on the West end and as a Winnipegger, having no real concept, but I knew that, Cheryl and Becky lived down that way and I was like, well, maybe they’ll be our friends. So, yes, you did convince us to move out this way. We have made a home here, so thank you so much.
So, well, let’s get right to it.
[00:03:32] You made a career post hockey of being in front of a huge crowds, from your work on CBC, TSN covering the Olympics to working full time. Now as a professional speaker, what really attracted you first to the stage? I know a lot of our teammates hated it. And during your keynotes that you talk about, what really are you hoping to leave your audiences with?
[00:03:57] Cheryl: Wow. You know, I think when, you know, anytime you’re, you’re in a sport that gets a little bit maybe notoriety when you’re, when you’re at an Olympic winter games and, you know, I had the opportunity to win some medals. I think there was a natural, you know, when you had come home, there was a natural ask.
[00:04:13] I think it started with, you know, the schools that you went to, you know, Sam, you know, your, your hometown school would, you know, ask you to come out and talk to the kids.
[00:04:23] Sami: Do you remember, some of your teammates like pushing you out in front, to be like, oh yeah, you’re going to talk today because I don’t want to talk today.
[00:04:29] Cheryl: I know they hated it. And it’s funny. I remember talking, I forget who it was with, and I said, when we were in grade six and we were forced to do those damn speeches, you know, and you’d sit there and go and hate it and everyone was kind of like, Ugh. And even for myself, I got nervous and now, you know, really making a career out of it.
[00:04:48] I mean, who would’ve thought to be, most people do not like it. And, I think I’ve always sort of been, at least my husband and everyone around me will say I’m a bit animated, and it’s an authentic animation, I will tell you. I talk with my hands and I’m loud, probably a product of coming from a family of four kids fighting for the last piece or the last leftover piece of meat or whatever.
[00:05:11] but, you know, honestly, I think when I came back really from the first Olympics, I would say in ‘02 was where, I mean, I had done some speaking, you know, you get the ask, you’d been on team Canada, the hockey team and, you know, in circulating areas. And so you were sort of, you know, going into a lot of schools, you were getting asked to do sort of one-offs.
[00:05:33] by different people in your community that you sort of knew as favors. And then, you know, you go to the first Olympics and you win and then you start doing a little bit more and then you start getting asked a little bit more and right around there after 2002, I really started to find a niche, I’m not sure, but really enjoyed it.
[00:05:51] Like I really loved it. Of course, like anything, I think you get better at it. You start to meet your audience. You know, when you’re walking into a school, it’s a heck of a lot different, you know, then you’re working on a corporate leadership group where you’re working on in a room of a thousand people versus 20 people.
[00:06:07] So, I think learning to read your room was very, very important. And I think I really used those years, to sort of work on it without knowing, I think my growth came in those years of trying to figure out, you know, how do I get these students to engage and pay attention to me in the back row? Maybe I get them involved or, perhaps I need a joke and it really just sort of setting that tone and you know, you and your second Olympics, and now it was sort of full-fledged.
[00:06:33] And I think like you, Sam, you probably saw something similar in terms of the ask. It was nice to start getting paid for it and not being afraid to say no, you know, I have some value. And I think as, you know, because we’d always been, you know, so willing to do things.
[00:06:51] Sami: Well, oftentimes forced, right? I mean, the ask came from the sponsor that was giving money to sponsor our program. So it wasn’t directly coming to us. So we were often volun-told to do things. So yeah. Is a big thing.
[00:07:06] Cheryl: Yeah. And it was interesting. So then, you know, I think obviously, I think the message, you know, whether you’re, you’re talking about change and I know you do a lot of that as well in adversity it’s teamwork, it could be, you know, you want to leave your audience, I think if they can leave; one: inspired, and two: you know, there’s something within that keynote that resonates them, that with them, that makes them think, think about something within their own life or their own personal growth, what they need to recognize and their own self-awareness.
[00:07:36] So, so I think always, you know, you talk to you to the sponsor of the event and what their sort of messaging is. And I think that’s pretty key. You want to nail that but I think you want to be real about it. You know, I’m not a banker, so trying to pretend that I know what’s going on, you know, I know the basics of what’s going on in say the finance world, but I can’t pretend to be right in it.
[00:08:00] But I do know, you know, how a successful team operates. I do know what those recipes for success looked like, throughout my journey, and, and the self-awareness and the growth piece for myself. So, so I think that, you know, the experience lends to that end, and really, I just love it. I just love it, you know, and I think that’s, that’s one of the things for me is I, I tried to engage quite a bit, with the audience, which is much more difficult now, being virtual, but, you know, just, just learning, making key, key relationships, and again, having them take something away.
[00:08:32] Sami: Oh, I’m sure still virtually you are connecting with your audiences. I have often been a speaker after you, and I don’t know if you’ve had this situation but here within the GTA, there’s a lot of corporations, a lot of big business. And so, Jennifer Botterill yourself, myself are really the three keynote hockey speakers in this area we’ll say for lack of a better word. Cassie certainly does lots and Hayley does lots, but they have other professions that they’re doing. But I will often get told that Cheryl was the speaker before me and there is no possible way that you can compare to Cheryl. She is so good. I’ve watched you numerous times and I do love your animation.
[00:09:12] I mean; I feel like I’m going through the journey with you again as if I never lived it. you know, and I have to stop myself at the end to think, oh yeah, I was there with her. I wasn’t living it with her. But you have certainly made a great transition into that.
[00:09:28] Cheryl: [00:09:28] Oh, thank you. I, I, you know, it’s funny that I think the first major corporation that I spoke for, you know, they brought me in and, and, you know, I, I wear my heart on my sleeve as you know, Sam, and it was funny, because I’d never watched the Olympic final in ‘02 again, cause it’s just something I’m not willing to do. And that’s a whole other conversation because in my mind that game was perfect. And I know it will change if I watched the game. and I don’t want it to, and that’s one of those things where I don’t need to learn anything from that game. I, I, it’s gonna be good in my mind and you’re done.
[00:10:00] Sami: You won it and you’re done it.
Cheryl: You know, this is it, I’m done and I don’t need to take away, you know, that moment was perfect for me. So, you know, I’m staying in that moment.
Anyway, I get on stage. And you’ll appreciate this. They’re like, so Cheryl, you know, we were able to find the footage after you won and you’re on the blue line. And can you just walk us through this moment?
Sami: And you’re bawling.
Cheryl: So I started crying right up on stage. I’m like, because there was about, you know, I think, you know, let’s arbitrarily say there’s around 500 people in the room. And, you know, it’s brought right across the screens and then I’m just like, I’m, you know, and the whole front row starts crying with me because they can see that I’m just like, I’ve been taken over by the emotion of that moment.
[00:10:42] And, and so, you know, that that kind of lives still within me every time I, you know, whether it’s a video I show or I really relive the moment when I speak. I think, I think that, you know, I feel it. And I also think, I learn a lot in speaking because, and much I’m sure Sam, you know, for yourself as well, you know, it’s a good reminder, that a lot of this was learned on reflection. And so, you know, when I was in it, I didn’t say to myself, Oh, you know, this training camp is, you know, is it’s amazing.
[00:11:15] Sami: I love waking up early. Right.
[00:11:16] Cheryl: This is amazing volume, intense training is, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the reason, you know?
[00:11:22] And so I think, but upon reflection you recognize, wow. Like the key components within that, you know, you know, your teammatesthat sacrificed or perhaps, you know, you had to find a way to help them through it, and they did the same for you or, or the ones that didn’t right. And, and, the great humanity and humility that goes with, character leadership and development.
[00:11:44] So, so, you know, for those things, I think a lot was learned on reflection. And so I’m constantly reminding myself like try and learn when I’m in it, not just, you know, after the fact. So, so that’s, you know, something, I think that I’ve learned over the years as well, and I try and reiterate. But this is really learned on reflection and sometimes we have to reflect to learn, but let’s, let’s have a hand in the now to, in the present.
[00:12:07] Sami: Yeah and live it. I love that you live it when you’re going through it, because that’s, I think what makes you such a good speaker, other athletes that I’ve seen, we’ll chronologically go through dates and you are emotionally feeling it, which I think makes you so good.
And to transition, you also have, done a lot of work in TV. And being a color commentator, and that is less about living it in the moment, but living what’s going on the ice. And what I really appreciate about you in that realm is that you are real and that’s not, that’s not often easy because you’re commentating on people that, I mean, we all know, but you know, the game inside and out and you do it in a way that, you said earlier with humanity.
[00:12:52] I never think that you are necessarily judging, but you do it in a way that I think is building. Building the game. And that’s what I see your role now within women’s hockey. And I don’t know if you really understand just how many little girls are watching you and you’re not the central part of it of course. You’re the one that has to uplift everybody else. But within the TV realm, is there people that you have learned from. Like, how did you really take your career from here to up here having now done two Olympic games?
[00:13:26] Cheryl: Well, I think it’s like anything, you learn, you know, you get better, you, you figure out, you know, how to ask questions and not be afraid to ask questions to help yourself be better. Before, you know, when you first start, you would not know that you need to, you know, talk to the producer and ask for certain things and because let’s face it, you know, if you want to do well, you need to know what’s coming or sometimes, or you need to ask the questions. And so, you know, when I was a bit younger, I, I, I would probably say I wasn’t as confident to ask those questions.
[00:13:59] And I think competence is a big one, for anyone with, and we speak to, you know, finding your voice, but certainly being confident enough to ask the questions that are actually going to help you and then doing something with the answer. So for me, you know, not being afraid and that’s at the beginning, I was, and I think it was a detriment to my growth because, you know, Oh, geez, you know, am I allowed to ask for that play? Do I, you know, I want to contribute something to the broadcast. Can I send them storylines or do they have them? And so before I wouldn’t do that, so I would just assume and say, okay, I’ll, you know, talk about what you give me. And so I think that changed in me because I had, you know, Cassie Campbell-Pascall who’d had done it.
[00:14:40] And I remember once I was over in Sweden, one of my first broadcasts and she, she literally, you know, was helping me every step of the way. And that relationship was built, I think, back in the dressing room, right back on the ice when we were playing Sam. And so she is, you know, been through every aspect of it and got herself to the level she is at today because she had mentors and confidants that helped her. And she’s always so willing to help. So, so for me, you know, whether it’s you, no matter what game it is or, or anything, she’s typically someone that I’ve, I’ve always leaned on. And then ironically, in 2018, we ended up literally being, you know, in, in hotel rooms that attached. And I remember we’d knock on walls, you know, we’d be knocking, Hey, what do you have? What was that number, how many goals do you have for her? And the cross-referencing and then she’d come up with something great. And she said, you know what? You take that, you use that because I was on the panel and she was in the booth and, and you know, in working together because it was a real team effort.
[00:15:37] So, so for me, I think, yes, I said, it’s, it’s, it’s very uncomfortable. And I think we both talk about being uncomfortable, and, and not being afraid to get uncomfortable and, and, and find out a few things and ask those questions. So, so, yeah, so she was at obviously a big piece of the pie for me and continues to be because I’m still learning and we’re always learning and we have to look at it that way.
[00:16:02] And then of course, you know, not being afraid to ask the questions and you have to be in the role to know the questions ask, does that make sense?
Sami: Yeah, you have to learn on the job almost.
Cheryl: So, you know, you learn on the job that, okay, well now, you know, I know that this is how it works. because often when you get thrown into it like that, no one, no one really knows to tell you, they just assume.
[00:16:23] And I think those assumptions can really, you know, really hinder your growth.
[00:16:30] Sami: Yeah, I know that when I first did it, I was really thrown into the action and it was my color commentating career was sort of early 2000;s doing some of the Canada Games, those girls that went on to move up some of the CIAU, what is U sports, and some of the national championships where I was commentating on my friends, which I found hard.
Cheryl: That was hard.
Sami: But you’re right, you’re just kind of thrown into it. And luckily I think like you I’ve got to work with some good people that, you know, would nudge you along and would want you to look good. And you know, that’s the one thing about the TV world is we forget it a team and the better that one individual looks that helps the whole team.
Sami: It’s amazing that you’ve continued to use Cassie. I mean, I think she’s so incredible and, has done so well, but that she even takes the time to continue to be that role model and mentor to all of us is pretty incredible. She obviously was our captain and, at the time I think we went to her with a lot of different issues and she dealt with them and that’s the thing that makes a great leader. And I think she’s synonymous with really being a great leader. And I know that you played with her for a long time, so I’m going to get into the beginning of your career.
You made the team as what? A 17-year-old is that right?
[00:17:55] Cheryl: Right. Yup. Bam-Bam Pounder.
Sami: I’m assuming playing with the Aeros at the time. I was at Stanford University.
[00:18:08] Cheryl: That engineering degree. Right. Engineering.
Sami: Well, actually, I was in Winnipeg in high school at the time and I didn’t even know, I had no idea there was even a national team. So the fact that you were lucky enough to get to play here in the GTA with probably some pretty incredible players. What really was the trajectory for you to make the team at 17? I mean, that’s an, that’s just an incredible feat.
[00:18:27] Cheryl: A few things. I would honestly say, you know, the right place at the right time, certainly, but I, I did seize the moment. So, I would say to you that, you know, Ken Dufton, our coach and someone who you know was prepared to the hills with respect to preparation and, and his practices.
Sami: More than anybody else I’ve ever met.
[00:18:53] Cheryl: Oh, no, no, they’re actually all documented, I think from like 1995 with dates. Oh yeah.
[00:18:59] Sami: He’s got binders filled and filled .
[00:19:02] Cheryl: You could go back, you give them a date and he’ll go back and show you practice he ran. So, so his, you know, he was just a great, preparer, if you will. So for me, he came to me interestingly enough, when I was 17 and he said, Cheryl, I want you to be a defenseman. He wanted me to change my role.
[00:19:23] Sami: You were a forward at that point?
[00:19:24] Cheryl: At that point forward. I had made the Aeros as a forward. I had gone to the Canada Games as a forward and I sort of, you know, was on this path. I’d made the senior Aeros, so I was playing with Angela James when I was 16 years old. Right. And Geraldine Heaney, and, you know, and I was a right-winger. He came to me and said, no, role change, you know, I see you as a defenseman. And of course I didn’t like it because I’m like, oh, I’m a forward. And I sort of dabbled like most young kids did when they, when they were the better players on their team with both positions, not goalie though Sam. And he came to me and it was interesting because he, I remember him talking with me and he asked me a question and I remember this question to this very day. He said, Cheryl, you will be a good defenseman no matter what, but the question will be, will you participate or engage in your role?
[00:20:17] I mean, I was 17.
Sami: Ya, what do those words mean at 17?
Cheryl: I don’t think I really knew at 17, you know, reflecting on it and everything. Now it’s so true, you know, to be engaged in it or are we just kind of doing it? And so I elected, I think, without knowing it to engage and, you know, watch Geraldine and I mean, she’s, you know, arguably the greatest defenseman to play the game.
[00:20:41] So, you know, why wouldn’t you sort of look at her and see what she does. And I ended up getting a call because there was an injury at the national team selection camp. And I walked in and I remember them telling me like, there’s 30 players here and like you, you’re number 30. And I’m thinking. Oh God, those aren’t good odds, you know?
[00:21:01] Sami: Was it in Toronto? Is that why you were asked?
[00:21:03] Cheryl: No, it was in Kitchener. So what had happened earlier was, you know, I had made the provincial team as a defenseman and we won the national championships in Montreal and the coach of the current national team was at those championships.
[00:21:21] So. He had just seen me and then just been notified that there was a very senior member of the national team that couldn’t attend the training camp the following week, because they’d been injured. And I guess he immediately thought of me because he had seen me. And so that was sort of the right place, right time.
[00:21:36] And I got that call and I remember thinking to myself, like I was so scared, I was so nervous. Like, you know, he’d left a message for me to call him. And there was the phone number sitting on the kitchen table when I walked in and my mom said, you know, here it is, Mr. Lawton wants to talk to you. And I looked and I said, Mom, who’s Mr. Lawton?
And she said, Oh, the coach of the national team. I took the phone number and I handed it to her and I yelled, Mommy, you call him! Cause now all of a sudden, like this confident girl is like, No, I didn’t want nothing to do with it.
Sami: Ya, you’re a 12-year-old girl all over again.
[00:22:08] Cheryl: Yeah. And he ended up bringing me to camp, told me I was essentially the last player there. Which of course, you know, I’m pretty intrinsically motivated, kind of made me mad. But I, you know, ended up making that team. And I remember getting told and I, I couldn’t believe it first of all, but there were really two reasons why I felt that I made at Sam.
[00:22:27] And that was one, you know, there was someone that helped me within that camp. And someone actually, I didn’t really feel like I belonged, you know, and I do talk about this in a lot of my presentations is, you know, that sense of belonging, says something. When you feel like you’re valued in a role, I think you want do it to the best of your ability, as you known Sam and that sometimes comes from your teammates, not necessarily the staff,
[00:22:54] Sami: So who was that player that really made you feel valued?
[00:22:58] Cheryl: I still have not said to this very day, but I wore her number.
[00:22:59] Sami: Oh, I didn’t know that that was a secret. Okay. Well, have you let that player know?
[00:23:09] Cheryl: So that’s what I want to do. I still have not gone, you know, you know, Jane Roos talks about impact, and you know, that’s one of the people that I need to contact. I think because, upon reflection, I get how important it’s been for me.
[00:23:27] Sami: Yeah, I know when I joined the national team and Geraldine Heaney and Angela James waited after practice to just say Hi. And I didn’t really know who they were. I didn’t know that they were the superstars within the game, but they took the time and sometimes it just, it’s just taking the time, right?
[00:23:45] Cheryl: Well, yeah, and I think, you know, we always say that we’re going to be that person and be that player. You know, cause I when I ended up making that team, I can honestly say, you know, I didn’t start camp good, because I think there’s a very human side to performance and not feeling like I belonged, trying to do things that were not within me. Then doing things that didn’t get me there, I was trying to do. Because I didn’t understand what that role looked like, or what they wanted from me. And so I tried to change what I was good at, to be something I wasn’t just because I wasn’t sure. And so it didn’t feel like I belonged.
[00:24:19] And then, you know, just someone sitting with me, someone showing me how to do it correctly. And then of course, you know, I did seize the opportunity I was given, which is often someone else’s misfortune, and I seized it. So, you know, it was, I was very young. I didn’t get a shift in the World Championship final. Not one.
[00:24:38] Sami: You got to watch it from the front row. I mean, I made a career out of doing that.
[00:24:41] Cheryl: Front row. Yeah. It was hard. Like, it was really hard, because as much as you want to be there, you know your goals change when you do get there. Right? I mean, it’s obvious.
[00:24:58] Sami: I always say that, first you want to make the team, then if you’re a fourth-liner, you’re not happy, because you want to be on the third line and if you’re on the third line, you want to be on the power play. If you’re on the power play, you want to take the shootout final shot. And if you ever don’t get any of those things, you’re disappointed.
[00:25:13] Yeah. And, and I think that’s let alone years with best in the world. I mean, you are with the best in the world as a 17-year-old.
[00:25:19] Cheryl: Oh, yeah. And that’s competition. Right. but I didn’t really understand it, but, you know, I said, I’m going to, I’m going to try and be that one that helps. And, you know, it’s very difficult to learn because the moment you do become threatened sometimes, you know, you lean to that sort of more negative side and, and you’re not the best teammate. So I think being aware of what your own tendencies are are very important.
But yeah, so I was 17 and we ended up winning and I, you know, I had the nickname Bam-Bam-Pounder, I think Hayley was High-Chair-Hayley, because we were the two youngest on the team. And, she obviously probably had a much different experience because she was Hayley Wickenheiser coming in and, you know, scoring the big goals and all those kinds of things touted to bethe next sort of, you know, great.
[00:26:01] So, and Cass was there. So it was a, it was a really interesting, dynamic. But yeah, I was really young. I learned a lot. And then yeah.
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[00:27:05] Sami: What an incredible experience. not to take it into a negative, but I mean, from there,
[00:27:08] Cheryl: I think you know where you’re going.
[00:27:10] Sami: This is obviously, this is not easy to talk about, but you weren’t asked to centralize for the very first women’s Olympic team. Now I wasn’t living in Ontario so I can’t pass judgment on whether that was the right or the wrong decision. I’m sure that I know what your opinion is, and so we don’t have to get into that.
[00:27:36] Cheryl: Coach didn’t like me Sami.
[00:27:38] Sami: Politics aside from that, but I think what I would like to hear from you is when you heard the news, how did you grieve? How did you, what were those few weeks immediately after hearing that news? And then, obviously watching the Olympics was probably not easy at all. I don’t even know if you did watch it. But then when you got invited again, I guess it would have been right after for the ‘98-‘99 year.
[00:27:58] When did that preparation start? Because I, I think that naturally we say, Oh, you know, I just, I got mad and I just started to train hard and I got better, but that’s not the reality of most people. So what, what were those two weeks like? And, how did you kind of come out of it and re-find your spot, re-find yourself and make the team again.
[00:28:21] Cheryl: Well, you’re right. I mean, you know, to sit here and say, oh yeah, like there wasn’t a contemplation of whether I’d like play again. Like, I mean, it was longer than two weeks. I mean, I, the grieving process, I don’t think you really understand, you know, what you’re going through completely. But I certainly know that I remember getting the call and then I immediately went up to my bedroom, which had all the words around my bedroom walls that I’d written over the course of my career.
[00:28:46] Sami: Right. That’s hard.
[00:28:50] Cheryl: Yeah. So, you know, the, the focus, fun, determination, goals, Olympics, like all these words that I just kind of put there and I was underneath them crying, thinking it was over. Naturally it wasn’t my fault. Right. That’s the immediate response was, you know, the coach doesn’t like me and, and there’s something else going on here.
and any irrelevant of whether, you know, the decision was right or wrong, it’s their prerogative was at the end of the day. So, you know, as I had to sort of get up and that took long. It was longer than I thought. And it would affect my confidence, I think for a while, a long time, you know, I did second guess myself for a long period of time.
[00:29:33] And if, even if you were to ask my husband, I was more insecure. Like I needed reassurance. We’d be home, you know, leaving coming back from a game and I was constantly asking, you know, how did I do? And meanwhile, like I knew, I mean, I’d played the game long enough, but I needed that reaffirmation that, you know, everything, it was good.
[00:29:45] but I think you know, two people, I mean, in particular, of course my family, right? I mean your family and your close friends that do rally around them. Although sometimes you want nothing to do with them. Right. Like there’s a great part of the grieving process is like, leave me beep the alone.
[00:29:59] Like I want to be sad. Argh, so just don’t try and make me feel better. Right. Because it’s just that, you know, and especially when it’s your mom, you know what I mean? Like as much as, you know, they, they love you and they’re doing everything for you, it’s like, argh. And so it was actually was someone from the outside.
[00:30:15] So not a close friend. But a teammate that sort of sent me a quote about courage. And I remember thinking like, cause I loved quotes and was like, you know what, this is right. Like, and it’s not someone I would hang out with all the time. Right. Listen, this wasn’t someone that was in my immediate group that, you know, we would, you know, go out after a game or anything.
[00:30:36] Sami: That sometimes those immediate people, they say all the right things, but it doesn’t get through. It sometimes has to be something completely outside.
[00:30:45] Cheryl: For sure. Right. And so, so this ironically was someone I didn’t always hang out with. It just made it made sense to me and it resonated.
[00:31:01] And I kind of was like, Oh. And then even Kenny had sent me something and, you know, we’d had our arguments over the years, but I, it really resonated with me. And I said, there was a point where like, it did click in, and I’m going to try. And then the real tough part came is sort of saying, why did it happen?
[00:31:11] And I think being accountable to what I would need to do if I wanted to try and get back. And so, you know, that was really difficult because now you’re asking for that constructive feedback that you really don’t want. Like I used to run away from coaches before the meeting. Right.
[00:31:27] Thinking I don’t, I don’t, you know, I don’t need to know. I don’t need to know, you know
Sami: Living in your own little world. Yeah. This is perfect.
Cheryl: You thought that you could actually walk faster when they were close to you and
Sami: That you wouldn’t have a meeting if they just didn’t see you. Oh, I’m hiding.
Cheryl: Yeah. And, so I had that sit down and find out the why and, and be, you know, whether I liked it or not matter, because it was, that’d be a choice, right.
[00:32:00] Sami: Whether it was right or not didn’t change the opinion of the person making the decision.
[00:32:03] Cheryl: Right. So my reality was, you know, do something with it because whether you agree with it or not, that’s how they feel. So anyway, so starting to make the adjustments and I, and I ended up making, making it a year later. And I can honestly say I was probably the most proud of myself, that year, because it was the most difficult year and I had to figure out a way to get back up.
[00:32:27] Sami: That would have been the year that all the girls were centralized and gone?
[00:32:29] Cheryl: That year. Yeah, yeah. And, and leading into that next World Championship, because obviously it wasn’t like, Oh, I’m just going to, you know, go make that team again. It was sort of that process of, okay, the grieving, the figuring out the why, understanding whether or not I was going to get another opportunity because, I mean, sometimes you don’t, right.
And doing something with it. So when I got the call to sort of go back into those national selection camps and then eventually made that team, you know, I was, I was pretty proud, because I, I knew how difficult it was. And so, because making it so young, you know, I think I kind of, might’ve gotten a little complacent. I don’t know. Just I’d made it. I mean, I said, you know, from here on in, I will make sure that if I do not make it, that I would have sort of done everything I could to be the best that I could be. So at least I could answer to myself.
[00:33:28] At the end of the day, because you know, that’s a really important piece is being okay with what you’ve done as a person and how you’ve handled yourself. And so, you know, it’s still going to suck if you don’t make it and you’re going to be devastated again, but at least there’s that comfort in knowing that you prepared to the best of your ability. Right. And, and it was out of your control at that point.
[00:33:48] Sami: I know when I was at the first tournament after the Nagano Olympics and having participated. And I say that very loosely, the Nagano Olympics. Going to, I think we’re over in Finland, and there was a lot of young players on that team. And you were one of the defensemen over at the, what was then the 3-Nations cup back in the day.
[00:34:05] Cheryl: Yep.
Sami: And you’re, in my opinion, one of our top D. I didn’t know the background story. I didn’t know, what had happened prior, that you had been on the team, and in fact, I think you scored a couple goals in that tournament, so I just assumed you were like an offensive defenceman. I had no idea. But my real big memory of that tournament was going into shootout with the Americans to decide the championship, and having never played in a shootout. So I think I asked you, how does this work? And I can’t even imagine your conversation with whoever was sitting beside you, like who the heck is our goalie? She doesn’t even know how this happens?
[00:34:55] Sami: I’m sure you had some good laughs at my account, but, I have seen you play some incredible games over the years. The thing that really sticks out with me is your fast feet and your ability to clear the front of the net, no matter what. So as a goalie, I always really appreciated you.
But yeah, I want to talk about maybe one of our final championships together. And that was the 2008 Esso women’s nationals where we were playing for the Mississauga Chiefs together.
Cheryl: That was awesome.
Sami: And we beat Brampton in overtime to win the title. And I talked to my book about how you were telling the girls, like I got to breastfeed. Because Jamie was only three months old.
[00:35:37] Right. Is that right at the time?
[00:35:39] Cheryl: Well, yeah, well, she was six weeks.
[00:35:40] Sami: Six weeks. Incredible. So, I think made your performance. You were our top defenseman, I think at the whole tournament. You were our leader. And Jamie was with just with us. And that was really my first experience with havin, a mother around, to know what you had to go through.
[00:36:02] You know, I saw you doing that and within the newspapers I think the media was really enamored that you could possibly do this, six weeks after. But I think for those of us on the team, we saw you training with us every day. You never stopped training. you came to the gym, you were skating, albeit close to the boards because Mike wouldn’t let you go away from the boards. But you really never took a day off and you prepared for that. So I guess my question is what is in your mindset or maybe your DNA to have that level of preparation. And do you even remember those championships?
[00:36:20] Cheryl: I do. Are you kidding?
[00:36:31] Sami: Like thinking back to having a six week old, like life is just crazy to begin with, let alone going through this like amazing experience together with the team.
[00:36:39] Cheryl: I remember my boobs hurting really badly during the game, but no, you know, honestly, it’s, you know, Sam, I think, you know, I’m very driven and that’s one of the things that it’s probably my, my crutch too, you know, it’s, it’s probably a great asset of mine and also a crutch.
[00:37:07] I think, you know, in life, I think too, we also get into situations where we don’t know any different. If that makes any sense. So for me, hockey at that time was just something I did. It was something I loved, it was something I did. And so naturally I was just going to do the same things, have a baby and come back and do it.
[00:37:15] And you know, why not?
Sami: Matter of fact, this is the way it’s going to go.
Cheryl: Well, because I guess that’s just what I knew. And I felt very comfortable with my body. I felt, you know, obviously it had changed, And, you know, obviously this life was more important than anything in the world. But at the same time, I was like, well, can I do it. And why not? And I’ve got the support around me. And so, you know, it has been, was supportive you know, Maria, right. Mama-Maria. Yes. Yeah. And, you know, all the people around me that said, you know, I’m here, you know, whether I’m walking the baby in the stands or my teammates, whether I bring her into the room and I have to breastfeed her, you know.
[00:38:00] So I think. For me, it’s also product. If I didn’t really know any different, I just kind of, I love the game. I’m like, I’m young enough. I can still do this. I can play. So really on the other side of it, like, it never crossed my mind that, Oh, I’m not going to, to play still. and then, you know, things change.
[00:38:23] I mean, I reflect now and I go, what was I thinking? Right. You know, now, you know your second baby and you’re exhausted and you, you know. Because I think sometimes you just, I just got up and did it. And so, you know, Becky Keller had done it as well before me and there were, you know, people afterwards, you know, Megan Mikkelson have done it now. And, the Lamoureux’s on the US, you know, the list will go on and on eventually.
[00:38:49] Sami: Also you know, I play women’s rec hockey and every single woman on that team does it. That’s the thing that is, you know, often not talked about is that we are, you know, I played professional hockey and came back after Kensi and that’s heralded. And the reality is this 50% of the population are women who just want to get on with their lives. Right. And, but what I found so amazing about your journey through it was your preparation was how you continued to stay with the team. And so when you were gone, it never felt like, you know, you weren’t really gone that long.
[00:39:27] Cheryl: You guys didn’t let me remember that I was not going to leave her.
[00:39:30] I remember we were at someone’s house and we were now going to the nationals in PEI and you guys were like, well, Pounder, you know, you are coming? And I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah. Well, let’s just clear this with my doctor. You know, let me just kind of hop the boards right now. Like I don’t even know my husband, you know, how I’ll talk to my husband about this.
[00:40:46] And, you know, just picking up the team, then we won. And, and it’s interesting you say, because you know, a lot of people did, you know, were very positive and I had one experience where someone really made me think. And I’ll just share this with you because people have different, different opinions. And, hey, everyone is allowed to have them.
[00:41:01] And I was sitting having lunch with someone and she actually turned to me and she’s a woman and she goes, well, you know, it’s completely selfish to do this. And I kind of, I was like, Oh? She’s like, well, no, I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s completely selfish. And I was like, Oh? it never dawned on me, like, am I being selfish?
[00:40:23] Like the six-week old doesn’t know, like we’re doing this. Right. So, you know, and that sort of caused me to think a little bit about what I was doing. Like, am I choosing this over her? And which is not the case, and you’d always choose your child over a sport, but when you can you don’t feel like there’s a choice to be made.
[00:40:42] Why not? Right. So it just created a lot of sort of thought process. And even today, I think back, you know, is it? It’s that kind of a question you can kind of talk about and whether you’re, you know, a CEO of a major company and, you know, you’re away from your family a lot, you know, is it selfish?
[00:41:00] Sami: I think that’s a great question because I think we are all intrinsically very selfish and we do, I mean, I think the baby is, you know, it’s part of you. So we do what we do to try to make ourselves the best selves we can be. And for you, your best self was playing hockey.
[00:41:16] And so that’s what allowed you to mentally get through a lot of them, you know, tough times. I’m sure with pregnancy and everything and being around people. I know for me rejoining the Furies after and just going and seeing people and outside of my house, I would encourage all women to do, you know, whether they’re athletes or not, but that’s important.
[00:41:35] Cheryl: It is. You know, it’s finding it, it’s reconnecting with something you love outside of, you know, your people you love the most. I mean, you know, it’s very important that I think, you know, and not everyone feels the same way, but certainly for me, it was having some, like, having that passion that I love outside of just taking care of
[00:41:54] Sami: And being fit and active. I think that that’s a huge, a huge thing. So, I mean, I commend you. I think you were, ya, that was some of the best hockey that I ever saw you play.
Cheryl: Thanks Sami.
Sami: So I don’t know, if you would rank that as one of your best tournaments? but I certainly would from the outside. ?
[00:42:13] Cheryl: I know that I was going to say.
Sami: Oh, go ahead. Yes.
[00:42:16] Cheryl: I was supposed to have a cute little story and I think this is great just to share. So fast forward to 2018 and I’m going to the, I mean, I’ve been around my kids for a very long time, because as you know, you know, speaking affords you a lot of opportunity to stay home and choose where you want to travel to or, or do.
[00:42:32] And, so I was very fortunate to spend a lot of time with my girls. And, when I went to the 2018 Olympics, I had the opportunity to go in one role and I didn’t know if I wanted to, you know, and it’s not being picky or choosy. It was just, I just knew it sort of, it wasn’t sort of the role for me. It wasn’t something that like, as I wanted, I said, you know what?
[00:42:52] I don’t think this is something I really want to be away from my family for a month for, you know, you know, Given, you know, who I like, what everything I’m doing with them and everything else, if you know what? No, like I just don’t think so when people thought, you know, this, this woman’s crazy, you know, some of my friends for making that decision. And then, you know, the opportunity I did really, really want came and I jumped on it.
[00:43:14] When I remember my, my oldest daughter, she was really upset. She, because they’d been around a lot. Right. So. And she’s crying, Mommy, you’re going to be gone for three weeks or four weeks and I don’t know what I’m going to do? You know, those kinds of things. Then we had a conversation and I said to her, you know, Mommy really wants to do this.
[00:43:33] You know, I’m not choosing this over you, but Mommy really wants to do this. It’s something that I really want to try and I’m uncomfortable a little bit about it, but you know, we want you, your dad and I, to grow up, not being afraid to try things and, and really find things you love and pursue them. And she looked at me and I’ll like, I could well up right now.
[00:43:52] And she’s like, mommy. You should do it and you should really do it. And she was like crying and I thought, you know what? Like, you know, for me, that was a really good moment, right. As hard as it was.
[00:44:06] Sami: An important message for everyone to have those goals.
[00:44:09] Cheryl: And I have them too, right outside, you know, the family, but you’re included in that. Right. You’re, your part of that, but this is something I really want to do. So, so anyway, that was just sort of a sidewinder to the other thing, but.
[00:44:22] Sami: I feel like that’s amazing because it is, it is so important for us, especially as women who often, you know, can get lost in your family to realize that we still have value and that we can, it’s important for us to have, you know, hopes and dreams and goals.
[00:44:36] And, so this has kind of to do with my next question, but coming back from the world or coming back from those nationals. And I thought you were playing your best hockey. You didn’t go to the worlds. On the Hockey Canada website, it said, she’s choosing to start her own family this year, which, whatever, they can write, whatever they want.
[00:44:56] But then the next year, not being asked to centralize, to me is one of the biggest travesties in all of hockey, because I think not only were you good enough to be there, you deserved to be there. And so that’s one part of it. The other part of it is, this woman who has just come back from pregnancy, that is not the norm on the team, Becky had done it, but that’s not the norm. You had fought for this ability to have this family and to play hockey, you’re playing some of your best hockey and with no explanation they essentially said, we’re not going to bring you to be centralized. We’re going to go with younger players leading into Vancouver.
[00:45:37] And I can remember being at your house with Jennifer, of course, all of us crying. Because around, you all cry. Right. We’re talking about all of the fun stories and you know, trying to still, you know, obviously think about the good times rather than the tough times. But my question, I guess, is, if you were part of that administration, and maybe if you are a part of another administration in the future, is how would you have dealt with the situation differently?
[00:46:04] And I’m not saying whether it was right or wrong, because that’s, like you said earlier, those are coaches’ prerogatives. They’re building a team and, we all can’t be a part of the team, but. How would you have dealt with it differently? How would you have treated maybe a pregnant player, throughout the process?
[00:46:21] Maybe it even could be an injured player, a player going through maybe depression or just another situation of a player that might be apart from the team. You know, how would you have done that? Or will you do that differently in the future?
[00:46:33] Cheryl: Yeah. And you know, I’ve had conversations with the administration since.
[00:46:37] So, you know, I think people sometimes don’t know how to deal with conflict. They don’t know how to deal with, and that’s a big thing. I am sure Sami, I’m sure you speak about it too, is that people really don’t know how to communicate sometimes when it’s not nice. Right? So for me, one, being a pregnant player is, you know, I think that being transparent about where people stand is very, very key, you know..
[00:47:03] People need to understand where they are, where they’re at, and they may not like it, they may not agree with it, but the understanding of, this is where I am so I can continue and choose to work on this role and get better and grow, or I, you know, am I going to go in a different direction? So I think one that sort of, I think there should have been, you know, for me going forward and, and working, you know, whether it’s with my own teammates or you, know, as I’m in my coaching and if I get to a higher level, I think, you know, we all learn from our mistakes, but certainly that communication piece throughout the process.
So constantly checking in with your athletes, especially if there is an injury, you know, when their in rehab, whether it’s a pregnancy and how that’s going, resources available because there’s plentiful of resources available nowadays to help people who are faced with these things.
[00:47:51] And I think coming out of it is. Just being open and honest and authentic about where people are at, because you know, people give up a lot, whether they’re working, you know, trying to make a team. And so as much as it sucks to hear things you don’t want to hear, it’s better than the unknown. So information is knowledge.
[00:48:16] And so. I think that would be the thing that I would say. Is that, you know, be open, honest and have, regular check-ins and, and if you’re on the other side of it too, I think I would have done things differently myself. So I wouldn’t put it all on other people now that I look at it because I just assumed, I’m playing, you know, the best hockey of my life.
[00:48:35] Everyone’s telling me that so clearly I’m there. You know, I think I won the top defenseman in our league that year and half of the national team was in the league. So it was hard to, to understand and process that I wasn’t going to get a shot.
[00:48:56] But again, I think, for me, if I were to go back, I would probably have asked those questions. I would have said, where do you think I’m at? Because I hadn’t heard from them. Right. Where do you think I’m at in my process? Are you going to come watch me play? Because I’m playing really well right now, you know?
[00:49:11] What do you think I need to do to get better? And I think we don’t ask those questions because we don’t always want to hear the answers. And I think so that it’s a two-way communication. So on behalf of the, the person or whether it’s the employee or the athlete, you know, they can’t be afraid again, just like, you know, now I’m not afraid to ask a producer or a director, those questions.
[00:49:31] I mean; I think that we have to ask those questions in it, during the journey as well now, so then it would have made them accountable to me as well.
[00:49:41] Sami: Yeah. Sorry that you had to go through that situation. Beause in my opinion, I mean, whether you made the team or not for Vancouver, you know, they had some solid defenseman, so I’m not going to take anything away
[00:49:51] Cheryl: No, no, I have great friends on that team. They won, they’re awesome.
[00:49:55] Sami: I just think you should have just had the opportunity. I think when somebody is going through things like that, whatever it is, you know, coming back, like you said, communication is key, but in my opinion, just having the opportunity to go in and fight for your spot. and not just be relinquished from your spot.
So you don’t have to make any comments on that. I think that it should have been done differently. I think most people do. You handled it very professionally and, as you always do, but for those of us going through it with you I’m sure it wasn’t easy. And, you know, as a teammate of yours with Mississauga, selfishly, I knew that you probably wouldn’t come back and play hockey after that.
[00:50:37] And that was hard because had you, you know, kept playing at the national level, we would have you for a lot longer. And, so that was tough, too, from a teammate perspective. I just, I wanted you on my team for longer. I was mad at the decision. Probably madder, no, not as mad as you were, but we were really mad
[00:50:56] Cheryl: I was really mad. I, as you know, emotion is real and I was.
[00:51:01] Right. My family was angry, because they knew what we put into it and they wanted me to have the opportunity because I was like, you know, I always pushed. Right. So I think that was something.
No, I felt that had I centralized, I could have been successful, but again, you know, at the end of the day it didn’t happen.
[00:51:17] And then, you know, upon reflection, you know, I ended up having my second child. And so, you know, which was a gift and made me realize that, Hey, you know, this is, this is, you know
[00:51:28] Sami: There’s other things to life to move towards.
[00:51:29] Cheryl: And I think that’s part of the reason why I stopped playing was I recognized, I was sort of forced into it, but because I then all of a sudden started to appreciate the other things that my life had.
[00:51:41] And it forced me to really look at that. And so it allowed me to sort of be open and be like, oh my gosh, I don’t have to train today. You know, I don’t have to like, so it became, you know, Oh, I can do these things. And so I started to enjoy them and realize that, wow, you know, we’re, we’re driven like this right when we’re in it.
[00:52:00] And so it allowed me to go, there’s more out there. So, you know, it’s okay now, obviously, and upon reflection I’ve learned a lot.
[00:52:09] Sami: I figured it’d be okay. Like, what is this, 12 years later, to ask you.
[00:52:13] Cheryl: Oh ya, I can talk about it. Sure. And I talked to the people that, you know, made those decisions and, yeah, I think, I honestly think that if you were to talk to them, I think that they probably learned a lot from that particular moment.
[00:52:26] Sami: And that’s why you use it in your speeches too. You know, it made us, it makes, makes us grow those moments. And so I’m not going to end the conversation with that because, you know, I never liked to end with a negative. I want to, switch our focus to our teammates. Some of, I mean, we played with incredible people along the way.
And as you know, some lifted us up, some made us laugh but there was one teammate that you’re always mentioned in the same breath with and that’s Becky Keller. So from the outside, I think you guys are very different people. I mean, I just, I got to know Becky first in Nagano. Got to know you, but in 99 was the first time that we got to play together and you guys are very different, but you just gelled so well on the ice and became best friends off the ice.
[00:53:18] I can remember you guys driving together the gym and, you always got two Timbits on the way to ever work out. Is that right?
[00:53:25] Cheryl: Yeah, that’s right. Two Tidbits with their coffee. That’s all we could afford.
[00:53:29] Sami: All those details. But I guess the question is what was it about Becky that made you guys so close? And how did you manage to remain so close with the knowledge that you really were fighting for the same spot on that team at all times?
[00:53:47] Cheryl: I, you know, I think I can’t really answer the first question because we are so different. So I have no idea how, you know…
[00:53:57] Sami: She puts up with you? Is that where you’re going with that?
[00:53:58] Cheryl: Oh no, you know what people don’t see as that, like giddy side of her where, she’s like belly laughing. Like I am and, and no one wants to be around us because we are like ridiculous, you know, giggling and, and you know, just caught in the teary moment and annoying probably. But I think, you know, she’s got a dry sense of humor. She’s, I used to say to her, like, man, by the time we are done this centralization, you might actually hug me. Like, you know, because I’m probably like the hugger and like she comes off as cold almost. Right. And I’d be like, no, you are you’re at, by the time, you know?
[00:54:33] And now she hugs people. So you know, I’m always laughing about that. She’s just a very caring person, a little bit introverted, which is, you know, I’m extroverted. So it’s that. But I think when you get to know the core of Beck, I mean, it’s a true friend. And so, you know, I think you know, you find certain people in your life and, and you know that they’re there and you don’t have to talk to them all the time.
[00:54:55] But even though I do talk to her all the time and she’d always be there, so a very different relationship. And with respect to sort of the game, you know, at times you find that you might’ve competed. Yes. But at more times I felt like we just were a compliment to one another. And so the two of us just kind of, we, the way we looked at it, it was like, we kind of go hand in hand out there together. Right? Like we play together out there. You know, they, you know, even if we don’t start the season on the national team together, we know by the final game we’re going to be together. So I feel like it became less of a threatening thing. Like, Oh, she’s going to make the team and I’m not going to, and more of a compliment to one another, if you will.
[00:55:36] And don’t get me wrong. Like when she made 2010 and I didn’t, I wasn’t like, I wasn’t angry. I didn’t, I didn’t sit there and go, wow, she made it over me., I would’ve thought that would’ve been very natural because it is natural. Right. It’s natural to say, man, I’m better than that one, but not with her.
[00:55:52] Like, it just never really, you know, I mean, I might talk to my husband and be like, you know, like you’re surprised, but nothing, you know. I was so happy for her and the work she put in.
[00:56:03] Sami: It always felt like you guys against the world. And can you take us into that, that relationship? Like, I just felt like there was never sort of one without the other necessarily. You guys came off the bench and, or came off the ice and would be sitting next to each other. Was it, you know, were you the one sort of pepping her up and she was the one calming you down? Or how did that sort of relationship work?
[00:56:33] Cheryl: Yeah, I think it’s just me in a quite obviously I’m the loud one. You know, I’m doing the color commentary mid game on the bench and she was okay with it because she can just, you know, she, it just rolled off her.
[00:56:46] And I think what, I think what a lot of people didn’t know about Beck that sometimes it didn’t just roll off her, right. People would assume again that, you know, things didn’t affect her, but they did, you know, just like anyone else. And for us, I mean, we were in our own little worlds, like, you know, we, we would giggle and laugh and have our little, like, we do this, you know, we, you know, before every game to make sure we were going have a great game together.
[00:57:07] And we came up with goals for ourselves, you know, when we were playing countries where we knew as defense and we weren’t going to get you know, a lot of action. so I just. It’s one of those relationships Sam, and that I don’t even know, I just think we, we certainly would, we, we really valued it, but we, it was just real.
[00:57:25] And so you were just yourself and, you know, other people probably were like, knock-knock, like you two, you know, what’s going on in there? But in some ways it was actually really nice not to be, you know, to be in that, you know, sometimes.
[00:58:42] Sami: What I found that I’m jealous of, but I think what I also got with Jennifer Bottrell is that she liked to be away from the drama. And I felt like you guys were also out of the drama. And so that was, you know, you guys never knew what was going on.
[00:56:57] Cheryl: No
[00:57:59] Sami: So that you guys could just perform. And, you know, I think a team is made up of a bunch of different kind of individuals, but that was so key because then you guys were always so reliable. You were never caught up in any of that other stuff going on.
[00:58:13] Cheryl: Well, I think, you know, when you talk about your role all the time, and I think you can get pigeonholed into a role, right? I mean, you know, when Beck I were younger, you know, we were offensive, right offensive, to, you know, on our, on our club teams, we became offensive, but we would, we’ve been pigeonholed and we were okay with it.
[00:58:26] Like we, this was our role and, you know, to be defensive, we were going to be like, we were going to be the defensive defense pair to shut down, you know, the Americans top-line or whoever, if they so choose us to go against. And we really valued it. It became sort of like our mark, like, you know, this is something, you know, no shots on goal today, you know when we’re on the ice kind of thing, and you know, being in our own world.
[00:58:51] I remember in ‘02 with all this stuff going down, the eight losses, I mean, we were just kind of like in our own little world, neither one of us had had a meeting with a coach all year long. You know it was so funny at the end when, you know, talking to Cassie and all that, all in the drama, you know, we had an ‘02 and I was like, you know, really?
[00:59:12] Sami: It’s just a testament to having 20 people on the team that every single person is going through something different. Right. And we’re going through it together.
[00:59:18] Cheryl: And I think it’s really important in that environment where you really know who you’re living with. Right. I think, or you put some thought into, you know, what that’s going look like because. You know, people are different with respect to their needs, you know?
[00:59:34] So, I was probably needier than Beck, you know what I mean? Even though she had kids, you know, but from an emotional standpoint, but yet then I found that she didn’t even, but it was a good, it was a good relationship. Whereas, you know, you can enter and you can be great friends with someone and probably shouldn’t live with them.
[00:59:47] Just because, right. So, you know, there’s so many different dynamics there. But yeah, we were, we were in our own little world, we’d have our, you know, beer after, you know, every practice or game and talk about whatever. And I say that at our houses and, we were adults. Until we cleared out our empties at the end, we were leaving Calgary and we had case after case people like, so, you guys are Olympians.
Sami: You guys had a good time together. That’s good.
[00:59:15] Cheryl: Yeah. And, and, you know, there was other people like we would, you know, we’d go for dinner with everyone. It wasn’t like.
[00:59:22] Sami: Oh yeah. I never felt like you guys were ever sort of totally apart. You know, you were integral within the team dynamic. It’s not like, you know, I don’t want the audience to think that you guys were off doing your own thing because that was never the case. It just was, you guys just both have this, different,
Sami: But both personalities that, yeah, lent itself to that. No drama. And I just, I love that. And I think that that was just so nice to have around because anytime that you just kind of needed to get away from some of it, you, you knew that you could go to you or Becky and that was, yeah. Nice.
[01:00:56] Cheryl: And I think, I think, you know, I can sum it up with a three letter word. We had fun. And I think that is often something that is forgotten when you’re in the pressure cooker. We had fun. And so, you know, there’s going to be ebbs and flows to your job and you’re this and you’re that.
[01:01:15] But at the end of the day, you want to enjoy it, you know, you know, it’s so it just, you know, it, it was fun. And so I think, you know, you know, when your crew leaves the group and so, you know, anytime you take someone out of, of a team and that the team dynamic changes. And so whether it was when I came out or, you know, it could have been you Sam, or it could be anyone, it changes the narrative because then that affects Jen, right.
[01:01:38] Because you’re not there or I come out and then it would affect Beck like, and it doesn’t, it, you know, it’s learned and you learn how to, you know, readjust and all those kinds of things, but it does change things for people. So I think, you know, the fun component I think gets lost sometimes when we’re competing and we have to remind ourselves why we do it.
[01:01:55] Not to say it’s easy every day. And like it’s just roses and unicorns and rainbows and all that. It’s just, it’s, you know, I think it’s really important that for that three letter word and I’m competitive and I’m coaching now with young girls and I have to remind myself of that, you know, like it is, needs to be fun.
[01:02:11] And so we usually get the best out of people when you know, they are enjoying it. although we want to see them fight and push for what they want. So, so a nice little reminder that, you know, and I always reflect and say, oh my gosh, I laughed. Oh my gosh, did we laugh? Like we were so silly. Sometimes people have no idea what we were talking about, but man, was it funny to us.
[01:02:29] So, you know, those are the moments that you need sometimes, especially in a, in a pressure cooker, you just need to laugh every once in a while.
[01:02:35] Sami: Well, I love that’s a perfect ending because I think that that’s an important message for all of us to receive. So thank you, Cheryl. I could talk to you for hours and hours, so hopefully you’ll promise that when I do get better at podcasting, you’ll come back.
Cheryl: I would love to come back.
[01:02:50] Thank you for helping me with the very first one and, I just, I love the stories. So thank you for sharing. Thank you for being so open and honest. I knew you would, but I just, I really appreciate it. So thank you.
[01:03:01] Cheryl: Thank you, Sam. For everything you’ve done for my girls with your book and with your book, signing them all to my team and all the surrounding teams.
[01:03:09] I think I get pictures daily of kids reading your book and sending notes and stuff. So I think it’s really important that you’ve, you’ve been a real change advocate and you’ve been a builder. So, you know, just keep doing what you’re doing, love the game and, and love what you’re doing in everything you do.
[01:03:25] So good luck with this pod. I think it’s going to be awesome and happy to be part of it any old time friend.
[01:03:31] Sami: Well, thank you. Much appreciated. We’ll see you soon.
[01:03:33] Music/Man voice: Thank you for listening to Sami Jo’s Podcast. If you have suggestions for guests in the future, would like to book her for your next event, advertise on this podcast or to purchase a her latest book, The Role I Played please go to www.samijosmall.ca