With June being Pride Month, we wanted to know how others would be prioritizing this…
We are thrilled to highlight Natalie Spooner, REAL (Relatable, Empowered, Active Leader) Role Model, multi-Olympic medallist in women’s ice hockey and CBC’s Battle of the Blades season 5 runner up. As a contestant on the show, Natalie competed with her partner Andrew Poje to support Fast and Female. As runner up, Natalie was able to donate over $17,000 towards our charity, giving us the ability to invest further into the creation and execution of our events and programming.
Can you tell us about your experience with Battle of Blades and why you chose to support Fast and Female?
My experience with Battle of the Blades was a great one! At first, I wasn’t sure how learning to figure skate would go, especially with the toe picks. They definitely made me fall quite a few times but I absolutely loved learning something new and getting out of my comfort zone. It was important for me to push my limits to prove not only to myself but to girls all over that anyone can figure skate, no matter your size, and that it’s never too late to try something new or learn a new sport. This is why I chose to support Fast and Female. Fast and Female is about helping girls reach their full potential through the power sport. Sports have brought so much to my life and still does to this day. Being able to compete on Battle of the Blades allowed me to learn so much about myself and I hope all girls have the same opportunities to try new things, to push their limits and to feel empowered by doing so!
Growing up as an aspiring professional athlete what were some of the barriers that you faced as a woman (if any)?
I think growing up when I did and playing a sport that was predominantly male, visibility to role models that looked like me was a big hurdle. I have 3 older brothers and always assumed that I was going to play in the NHL like because that was the dream they were chasing. I was lucky enough that as I was growing up, girls hockey was starting to take off. The Canadian Women’s National Team was winning World Championships and Olympic Gold medals which gave me the inspiration I needed to chase my dreams.
The other barrier we as female hockey players face is having to decide between following our dreams of playing hockey or getting a “real job”.
Women’s hockey can be viewed as a hobby and that is why we are fighting for a professional women’s hockey league with the PWHPA so that young girls will be taken seriously when they say they want to be a hockey player!
What advice would you give to community members who are looking to empower self-identified girls, who may not have a national stage to do so?
I think celebrate the little successes. Sport can build so many intangible qualities like leadership, hard work, time management, learning but also bring lifelong friendships. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what level you make it to, but as long as you are passionate, work hard to improve and have fun, celebrate the growth and qualities that will make girls successful in other ventures they may tackle later in life. If you do those 3 things, I think you will improve everyday. Be proud of the athlete you are and your accomplishments, no matter big or small.
What message do you have for young women who have not yet tapped into their own potential?
To me, no matter what you are pursuing, it’s about having a growth mindset and striving for personal excellence. Whether it be sports, music, school, you name it, be committed to dedicating your efforts to improving all the time. It may get frustrating and you may get discouraged at times but I promise, you will get there. Remember, every expert was once a beginner!
The other aspect is to not be afraid to try new things. This helps identify things you are passionate about. That way when you have to work hard at it, it’s fun, you enjoy doing it and it really doesn’t seem like work! You will be driven to improve as you reach that potential!
Your favourite pump up song?!
My favourite pump up song that I like to listen to before games is Unstoppable by Kat Deluna.
Is there anything else that you’d like the Fast and Female community to know?
I would say to Dream Big! When I was younger I never thought I would be an Olympian, let alone an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist. I was fortunate to find a sport that I loved and worked hard at. It wasn’t always easy but I persevered through some hardships and I’m better today for it. So I say go for it!! “All dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them!” – Walt Disney
Want to learn more about how you can support Fast and Female? Visit our donation page for more information.