Transcript: Sami-Jo Small: What It Takes to Win Hockey Gold | Aug 26, 2020

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a black coat, printed blouse and black bowtie.

A caption on screen reads "What does it take to win Olympic hockey gold? Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says FEW ATHLETES IN CANADA HAVE REACHED THE PEAKS OF HOCKEY GLORY THAT GOALTENDER SAMI JO SMALL HAS. OLYMPIC GOLD TWICE. SILVER ONCE. FIVE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION. TWO-TIME MVP. BUT DON'T THINK THAT CAME EASILY. AS HER NEW BOOK EXPLAINS, SHE AND HER TEAMMATES HAD MANY HURDLES TO OVERCOME TO GET TO TRIUMPH. THE BOOK IS CALLED, "THE ROLE I PLAYED: CANADA'S GREATEST OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAM" AND SAMI JO SMALL JOINS US NOW FROM MISSISSAUGA.

Sami is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair. She's wearing a blue t-shirt and pearl earrings.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover is bright red and features a frontal picture of Sami in full hockey gear.

Nam says HI.

Sami says HI, NAM. THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Nam says I'M SO EXCITED, SO EXCITED! THIS IS ONE OF THOSE HUGE MOMENTS WHERE YOU JUST WANT THE PERSON TO BE SITTING ACROSS FROM YOU, BUT THIS WILL DO. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE BOOK. SO THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE YOU EXCELLED IN MANY SPORTS. YOU EVEN GOT A SCHOLARSHIP TO STANFORD FOR TRACK AND FIELD, BUT YOU WERE ALWAYS DRAWN BACK TO THE ICE. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HOCKEY THAT BECAME A PART OF YOU?

The caption changes to "Sami Jo Small. Author, 'The role I played.'"

Sami says UMM, I THINK... I HAD AN OLDER BROTHER THAT PLAYED, AND SO I THINK SORT OF HAVING HIS INFLUENCE MEANT A LOT, THAT I WANTED TO BE EXACTLY LIKE HIM. I MEAN, THAT'S REALLY WHERE THE BASIS OF MY HOCKEY GENESIS STARTED. I WANTED TO DO WHATEVER HE WAS DOING, BUT I THINK ONCE I STARTED PLAYING, I REALIZED THAT IT WAS THIS TEAM GAME WHERE IT DIDN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND WAS, IT DIDN'T MATTER WHO YOU WERE. AS SOON AS YOU GOT OUT... FOR ME IT WAS PLAYING STREET HOCKEY. AS SOON AS YOU GOT OUT ON THAT STREET, EVERYBODY JUST PLAYED, AND SOME DAYS YOU SCORED AND SOME DAYS YOU WERE THE GOALIE AND YOU PLAYED EVERY POSITION, AND I THINK I JUST... I LOVED... I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE COMPETITION OF IT. I LOVED BEING ABLE TO JUST... I DON'T KNOW, TO COMPETE, BUT ALSO TO SEE HOW GOOD I COULD BE, TO SEE HOW MUCH I COULD IMPROVE EVERY DAY, AND I JUST... I LOVED THE PLAY. I JUST... I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PLAY.

Nam says WELL, YOU STARTED TO SKATE AT TWO, CORRECT?

Sami says THAT'S CORRECT, YES.

Nam says AND YOU STARTED TO PLAY WHEN YOU WERE FIVE, BUT YOUR FAMILY WAS SUPER SUPPORTIVE OF YOU, BECAUSE AS A GIRL, AND IT'S SO ANNOYING THAT WE STILL HAVE THESE BRACKETS, BUT AS A GIRL YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO PLAY AND JUST PLAY THE SPORT. THERE WAS ALWAYS THE THING, OH, A LITTLE GIRL'S PLAYING HOCKEY. SO HOW... WHAT ROLE DID YOUR PARENTS PLAY IN HELPING YOU TO GET TO WHERE YOU GOT?

The caption changes to "Sami Jo Small. Olympian, Canadian National Women's Hockey."

Sami says YEAH, YOU'RE SO RIGHT THAT WE SHOULDN'T BE IN THIS STAGE STILL, BUT FOR SURE FOR THOSE OF US WHO GREW UP... WELL, FOR ME THAT GREW UP A WHILE AGO, IT CERTAINLY WAS LIKE THAT, AND I GUESS... DON'T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT MY PARENTS WERE THE CRAZY HOCKEY PARENTS, BECAUSE THEY IN FACT DID NOT HAVE A HOCKEY BACKGROUND. THEY JUST TOOK US TO SKATING LESSONS WHEN I WAS TWO AND MY BROTHER WAS FIVE BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO LEARN HOW TO SKATE, AND SO WE ALL DID IT AS A FAMILY, SKATING LESSONS, AND I GREW UP IN WINNIPEG WHERE, AS PEOPLE KNOW, IT CAN BE QUITE CHILLY, AND THERE'S KIND OF ICE SURFACES EVERYWHERE, OUTDOOR ICE RINKS, SO YOU CAN ALWAYS PLAY. AND YOU KNOW, GOING OUT ON THE OUTDOOR RINKS INITIALLY WHEN IT'S JUST SHINNY, NOBODY KNOWS THAT THERE'S A LITTLE GIRL ON THE ICE, AND MY PARENTS COULD SEE THE JOY THAT I HAD FOR THIS GAME, AND THEY TOOK A LOT OF THE FLAK INITIALLY, AND I'M SO THANKFUL THAT THEY DID, BECAUSE I'M SURE IT WASN'T EASY FOR THEM. IT MUST HAVE BEEN HORRENDOUS TO HEAR THINGS ABOUT THEIR LITTLE GIRL, BUT THEY COULD SEE THE JOY IN MY FACE, AND LIKE I SAID, THEY WEREN'T HOCKEY PEOPLE, SO THEY DIDN'T REALLY HAVE THIS DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE HOCKEY CULTURE WAS LIKE IN CANADA AT THE TIME, THAT IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE FOR GIRLS TO PLAY HOCKEY, AND SO THEY TOOK ON THIS FIGHT, AND IT WASN'T A FIGHT THAT THEY INTENDED TO DO. THEY JUST WANTED TO MAKE THEIR DAUGHTER HAPPY, SO THEY SHIELDED ME FROM A LOT OF THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ALONG THE WAY. AS I GOT OLDER, I STARTED TO HEAR THEM AS WELL, AND I THINK WHAT THEY INSTILLED IN ME WAS THAT DEEP BELIEF THAT ANYBODY IS ALLOWED TO JOIN THE GAME, ANYBODY IS ALLOWED TO PLAY AND TO TRY, AND I'M JUST SO THANKFUL THAT THEY INSTILLED THAT IN ME AND THAT I HAD THAT STRENGTH OF CHARACTER MOVING FORWARD, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT EASY, AND WE ALL GET SORT OF THROWN CURVEBALLS IN LIFE, AND WE ALL GET TOLD THAT WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING OR WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE, BUT THANKFULLY THEY HAD INSTILLED IN ME THAT I HAD JUST AS MUCH VALUE AS ANYBODY ELSE, OF ANY OF THE OTHER LITTLE BOYS, AND THEY EVEN TOLD ME I WOULD PROBABLY GET CUT FROM TEAMS BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL, SO THEY WERE HONEST WITH ME, BUT THEY TOLD ME AS LONG AS I LOVED IT AND ENJOYED IT THAT THEY WOULD SUPPORT ME, AND I GUESS THAT'S ALL YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR YOUNG KIDS, IS REALLY JUST SUPPORT THEM NO MATTER WHAT.

A blurry colour picture shows Sami as a kid, smiling in full hockey gear.

Nam says AND YOU KNOW, YOU DID A TED TALK, AND YOU WENT INTO A BIT MORE DETAIL, SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HEARD, AND YOU TOLD THIS GREAT STORY ABOUT SOMEONE IN THE STANDS SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT THE KITCHEN. CAN YOU TELL US THAT STORY?

The caption changes to "Sami Jo Small, @SamiJoSmall."

Sami says FOR SURE, YEAH. SO I WAS ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OLD, AND I THINK AT THAT POINT I DIDN'T REALLY REALIZE THAT I WAS DIFFERENT. I WAS JUST PLAYING THIS GAME THAT I LOVED, AND I WAS PLAYING WITH ALL THE LITTLE BOYS THAT I PLAYED STREET HOCKEY WITH, SO FOR ME I WAS OUT ON THE ICE... I WAS STILL A FORWARD AT THE TIME BECAUSE I HAD ASKED MY PARENTS TO BE THE GOALTENDER, BUT THEY DIDN'T WANT TO BUY ALL THE EQUIPMENT AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I WAS ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OF AGE, AND I WAS SKATING DOWN THE WING IN A HOCKEY GAME, AND I VIVIDLY REMEMBER ENTERING INTO THE ZONE WITH THE PUCK AND APPROACHING THEIR GOALTENDER, AND A MAN FROM THE STANDS YELLING DOWN AT ME AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS, HEY, LITTLE GIRL, YOU BELONG IN THE KITCHEN. AND I REMEMBER THINKING, LIKE, WHAT? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? IS THAT A PLACE ON THE ICE THAT I'M SUPPOSED TO GO? LIKE, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THIS MAN MEANT, BECAUSE FOR ME THOSE VERBAL ABUSES, IT DIDN'T RESONATE. I THOUGHT HE WAS HELPING ME WITH MY GAME, SO I ASKED MY COACH WHAT THAT MEANT AFTER MY SHIFT, AND POOR OLDER MAN WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES, HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN IT, AND HE JUST LOOKED DOWN AT ME AND HE SAID, WELL, I JUST THINK YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR MOTHER. AND SO THAT'S WHAT I DID ON THE WAY HOME. I SAID, EXCUSE ME, MOM, WHY WAS THAT MAN YELLING AT ME THE ENTIRE TIME TO GET IN THE KITCHEN. I JUST DON'T GET IT. SO NOW, YOU KNOW, MY POOR MOM WITH TEARS IN HER EYES BASICALLY HAD TO EXPLAIN TO HER EIGHT-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER THAT LIFE IS NOT FAIR, AND IT'S NOT AN EASY MESSAGE TO GET AT ANY AGE, BUT I THINK IT'S AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL OF US TO RECEIVE, THAT LIFE IS NOT FAIR. IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FAIR. EVERYBODY HAS DIFFERENT CHALLENGES. EVERYBODY HAS DIFFERENT OBSTACLES, AND IT'S THE UNDERSTANDING THAT EVERYBODY IS GOING THROUGH THEIR OWN CHALLENGES IS REALLY WHAT MAKES EACH OF US UNIQUE, AND...

Nam says THAT'S HOW YOU RESPOND TO IT, I GUESS.

Sami says YEAH, WHEN SHE EXPLAINED IT TO ME, IT WAS HARD TO RECEIVE, BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US TO REALLY UNDERSTAND AND, DESPITE ALL OF IT, STILL PUSH TOWARDS OUR DREAMS AND OUR GOALS AND WHEREVER THAT MAY TAKE YOU.

Nam says AND WHEN DID YOU START TO THINK... WELL, WHEN DID YOU START TO DREAM ABOUT GOING TO THE OLYMPICS?

Sami says WELL, FOR ME, NAM, HOCKEY WASN'T REALLY A SPORT FOR WOMEN GROWING UP, SO I DIDN'T REALLY DREAM ABOUT GOING TO THE OLYMPICS FOR HOCKEY, AND I DREAMT OF PLAYING IN THE NHL, LIKE MOST OF MY TEAMMATES, AND I SOON REALIZED AS I GOT OLDER THAT THAT... THERE WAS NO GIRLS IN THE NHL, AND SO BECAUSE OF THAT, I STILL PLAYED HOCKEY, BUT I PLAYED A TON OF THE OTHER TEAM SPORTS AT SCHOOL. SO I PLAYED VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL, TRACK AND FIELD. I EVEN DID WATER POLO, TEAM HANDBALL, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, EXCELLED IN SOME OF THOSE SPORTS AND ENDED UP ON A TRACK AND FIELD SCHOLARSHIP, AND SO IT WAS REALLY AT THAT TIME THAT I DREAMT OF GOING TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, BUT IT WAS THE SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES, AND SO THAT WAS REALLY MY GOAL, WAS TO MAKE THE SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES, AND AS YOU SEE IN THE BOOK, THAT DOESN'T REALLY TURN OUT THE WAY I WANTED IT TO. HOWEVER, LIFE DOESN'T ALWAYS TURN OUT THE WAY WE WANT IT TO, AND THERE ARE TWISTS AND TURNS THAT REALLY MAKE THINGS INTERESTING AND EXCITING ALONG THE WAY.

Nam says WELL, I WANT TO READ SOMETHING THAT YOU WROTE IN THE BOOK. YOU WRITE...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Women versus Men in hockey." The quote reads "Accustomed to a lifetime of playing men's hockey, I understand how most guys shoot. They use their strength to control their shots, often trying to overpower the goaltender. I know what to look for and when to anticipate the shot. Women are stealthier. They don't have the power the men have so they hold on to the puck longer. They use angles to their advantage and find openings with pinpoint accuracy."
Quoted from Sami Jo Small, "The role I played." 2020.

Nam says HOW DID YOU ADJUST TO PLAYING WITH WOMEN?

Sami says SO I GUESS INITIALLY IT WASN'T EASY. IT WAS SOMETHING SO STRANGE AND SO DIFFERENT FOR ME. HONESTLY, I THINK I GREW UP A LITTLE BIT OF A CHAUVINIST BECAUSE ALL OF MY FRIENDS TOLD ME THAT GIRLS COULDN'T PLAY HOCKEY AND EVERYBODY AROUND ME TOLD ME GIRLS COULDN'T PLAY HOCKEY, SO I JUST INTERNALIZED IT. SO WHEN I WENT TO MY FIRST REAL TIME EVER PLAYING WITH THE GIRLS WAS THE TRYOUTS FOR THE '98 OLYMPICS, AND WHEN I SHOWED UP, I ASSUMED THAT THEY JUST WOULDN'T BE AS GOOD AND THAT I AS A GOALTENDER COULD JUST, NO PROBLEM, TAKE CARE OF THIS. BUT THE REALITY WAS SO DIFFERENT, WAS THAT THEY WERE SO INCREDIBLY SKILLED BECAUSE OF THE DIFFERENCE IN STRENGTH, THE DIFFERENCE IN SIZE, THEY HAD TO BE THAT WAY. THEY HAD TO FIND A WAY TO BE JUST AS... TO BE ABLE TO COMPETE, AND MOST OF THEM ALSO HAD PLAYED BOYS' HOCKEY GROWING UP, SO THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO GAMES IS, FOR ME, WHEN I FIRST CAME OVER TO IT, IS THAT IN MEN'S HOCKEY THEY CAN SHOOT FROM ANYWHERE. THEY CAN SHOOT AT ANY TIME, AND THE FOREARM STRENGTH IS JUST INCREDIBLE. YOU HAVE TO BE READY AT ALL TIMES. IT ALSO MEANS MY DEFENCEMEN, THEIR STRENGTH CAN PUSH PEOPLE OUT OF THE WAY, SO YOU CAN SEE PUCKS AND THEY CAN HELP YOU SORT OF NAVIGATE THAT, WHEREAS IN WOMEN'S HOCKEY, THERE ISN'T THAT CONTACT, THERE ISN'T THAT HITTING. SO THERE TENDS TO BE A LOT MORE ACTION IN FRONT OF THE NET. THE PLAYER CAN GET CLOSER AND CAN SHOOT THROUGH SCREENS A LOT. SO IT CHANGES THE WAY YOU PLAY A LITTLE BIT, AND I REALLY HAD TO NOT ONLY PHYSICALLY MAKE THAT TRANSFORMATION, BUT MENTALLY MAKE THE TRANSFORMATION TO PLAYING WITH GIRLS. THIS WAS SOMETHING SO FOREIGN TO ME. ONCE I EMBRACED THAT, I THINK THAT MADE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE IN MY GAME AND ALLOWED ME TO SORT OF GET TO THAT NEXT LEVEL. WHEN I SEPARATED THE TWO GAMES. BUT YOU KNOW, EACH EXPERIENCE WAS UNIQUE AND EXCITING IN AND OF ITSELF, AND I'M GLAD THAT I GOT TO HAVE BOTH EXPERIENCES.

Nam says IT'S SO INTERESTING THAT YOU INTERNALIZED THAT GIRLS, WOMEN COULDN'T PLAY HOCKEY BUT YOU WERE PLAYING HOCKEY.

Sami says I KNOW, RIGHT? IT'S... WHEN YOU LIVE SOMETHING SO LONG, AND ARE TOLD SOMETHING SO OFTEN, YOU JUST THINK IT'S THE TRUTH. YOU DON'T... YOU ASSUME THAT YOU'RE DIFFERENT AND THAT YOU'VE OVERCOME THIS, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT WE, AS WOMEN, WE'RE JUST PUSHED DOWN AND OPPRESSED FOR SO LONG THAT THAT JUST BECAME THE NORMAL PART OF CULTURE IN CANADA, AND I'M JUST... I'M GLAD THAT IT'S CHANGING. OBVIOUSLY WE STILL HAVE A WAYS TO GO, BUT I AM GLAD THAT THAT HAS CHANGED, AND WHEN YOU WALK INTO A HOCKEY RINK NOWADAYS AND YOU SEE A LITTLE GIRL WITH A PONYTAIL OR A LITTLE BRUSH CUT, IT'S NOT EVEN A QUESTION THAT SHE CAN GO PLAY HOCKEY. NOBODY EVEN... IT'S NOT EVEN AN ISSUE ANYMORE, SO THAT'S NICE TO SEE THAT SOCIETY IN CANADA AT LEAST HAS CHANGED A LITTLE BIT AND IS MORE INCLUSIVE OF GIRLS AND WOMEN PLAYING HOCKEY.

Nam says AND ALSO THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE MENTORS LIKE YOU. WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT MENTORSHIP IN JUST A SECOND, BUT I WANTED TO FAST-FORWARD A LITTLE BIT. SO YOU FINALLY MAKE TEAM CANADA, AND YOU'RE AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES. WHAT DID THAT FEEL LIKE FOR YOU?

A picture shows Sami on the ice, stretching to catch the puck mid-air.

Sami says I GUESS THAT'S A HUGE QUESTION. WHEN YOU FIRST MAKE THE TEAM, EVERY TEAM YOU MAKE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT. THE COACH, YOU KNOW, DELVES OUT THAT INFORMATION DIFFERENTLY. SOMETIMES IT CAN BE THIS HUGE DRAMATIC PROCESS, WALKING INTO A ROOM WITH TV CAMERAS. OTHER TIMES... I CAN VIVIDLY REMEMBER THE 2002 OLYMPIC GAMES IN SALT LAKE CITY, WHICH WAS OUR FIRST GOLD MEDAL, AND OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE WORKING SO HARD TO MAKE THIS TEAM. MAKING TEAM CANADA IS SOMETIMES EVEN A BIGGER ACCOMPLISHMENT THAN GOING TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES. SO MAKING THE TEAM WAS A REALLY BIG DEAL FOR US, AND WE WENT THROUGH 30 WOMEN, GRUELLING BASICALLY FIVE OR SIX MONTHS OF TRAINING, GOING THROUGH THAT UPS AND DOWNS, THE STRUGGLES, AND THEN ONE DAY THE COACH JUST ANNOUNCED IN THE DRESSING ROOM THAT THE PEOPLE LEFT IN THE DRESSING ROOM, THAT WAS THE FINAL TEAM. AND THAT WAS HARD BECAUSE YOU LOOKED AROUND AND YOU SAW EMPTY STALLS AROUND YOU OF FRIENDS THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU HAD GONE TO WAR WITH. YOU HAD BATTLED WITH, AND YOU KNEW INTIMATELY, AND THEIR DREAM WAS OVER. SO IT WAS A STRANGE EXPERIENCE BECAUSE YOU KNEW YOUR DREAM WAS COMING TRUE, BUT FOR THOSE AROUND YOU, THEY JUST LOST IT. AND SO IT WAS THIS SORT OF ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTION BECOMING AN OLYMPIAN, BUT I THINK THE THING THAT STANDS OUT OF THE THREE OLYMPIC GAMES FOR ME IS THE CEREMONY. SO THE OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES ARE REALLY TRULY SPECIAL BECAUSE THERE IS NO PRESSURE. YOU CAN'T MESS THAT UP. SOMEBODY ELSE IS TAKING CARE OF IT, AND YOU GET TO WEAR THIS AMAZING... THESE AMAZING OUTFITS THAT HAVE CANADA ALL OVER IT, AND YOU JUST... YOU FEEL SO PROUD TO BE CANADIAN, TO BE AN OLYMPIAN, TO BE REPRESENTING NOT ONLY YOUR COUNTRY BUT YOUR PROVINCE, YOUR HOMETOWN, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS, AND KNOWING THAT PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ARE WATCHING. IT'S JUST AMAZING. THAT MOMENT OF WALKING INTO THE OPENING CEREMONIES IS JUST SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY TRULY SPECIAL THAT I THINK OF ALL OF MY OLYMPIC EXPERIENCES REALLY STANDS OUT AS FEELING THE MOST OLYMPIC.

Nam says PLUS THE GEAR THAT YOU GET.

Sami says I KNOW. SO COOL. YOU GET BAGS AND BAGS OF IT, WHICH IS JUST INCREDIBLE. THAT'S THE DAY THAT... I MEAN, WE JUST TRY ON DIFFERENT OUTFITS OVER AND OVER AND DIFFERENT ENSEMBLES, YEAH.

Nam says ANYWAYS, WE COULD TALK ABOUT THAT ALL DAY. YOU WRITE COACHES TEACH YOU HOW TO SCORE GOALS AND HOW TO MAKE SAVES, BUT NO ONE TEACHES YOU HOW TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES. I THOUGHT THIS WAS REALLY INTERESTING. WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Sami says I LOVE THE QUOTES THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN OUT OF THIS. YOU MAKE ME SOUND REALLY SMART. THANK YOU.

Nam says YOU ARE SMART! WELL, YOU WROTE IT.

Sami says I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, FOR EVERY ATHLETE, AND PROBABLY FOR EVERY PERSON, YOU KNOW, WORKING IN A WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT, OR EVEN WITH A FAMILY, YOU ARE COACHED OR TAUGHT OR TOLD HOW TO DO THINGS WHEN... AT THE PINNACLE, WHEN YOU'RE THE PERSON IN CHARGE, WHEN YOU'RE THE PERSON HAVING THE RESPONSIBILITY. BUT WHAT SOMETIMES IS HARDER IS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE THAT, WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO BE A FOLLOWER, WHEN YOU'RE ASKED TO BE... TO SUPPORT SOMEBODY ELSE IN THEIR QUEST, IN THEIR DREAMS, AND THAT IS... WAS INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING FOR ME AS AN ATHLETE. I THINK ATHLETICS ITSELF IS A VERY SELFISH PURSUIT. YOU BECOME VERY AWARE OF YOUR OWN EMOTIONS, YOUR OWN PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES, BUT YOU DON'T OFTEN PLAN FOR THE... FOR NOT PLAYING. YOU DON'T PLAN FOR SUPPORTING OTHERS AS THEY PURSUE YOUR DREAM. I THINK THAT'S REALLY THE CRUX OF THE BOOK IS THAT WE'RE PUT INTO SITUATIONS THAT OFTEN WE HAVEN'T PLANNED FOR, WE DON'T WANT TO BE IN, AND SO I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T ALWAYS GET TO CHOOSE THE ROLE YOU PLAY BUT THAT YOU ALWAYS GET TO CHOOSE HOW YOU PLAY IT, AND IT WASN'T EASY FOR ME TO COME TO THAT REALIZATION, AND IT T LOT OF SOUL SEARCHING. IT TOOK A LOT OF PUTTING MY EGO AND MY OWN AMBITIONS ASIDE TO BE THERE FOR MY TEAMMATES IN TIMES WHEN I WASN'T PLAYING AND SUPPORTING THE OTHER GOALTENDER, BECAUSE I MEAN, THE EASIEST THING TO DO AS... IN SPORT AND IN LIFE IS TO HOPE THAT SOMEBODY FAILS SO THAT YOU CAN BE IN THEIR POSITION, TO HOPE THAT THE TEAM JUST CAN'T POSSIBLY GO ON WITHOUT YOU. YOU KNOW, IT'S... THAT'S JUST A VERY NATURAL AND NORMAL HUMAN REACTION, BUT WHAT'S NOT NATURAL AND NORMAL IS TO PUSH THEM TO SUCCEED IN THOSE POSITIONS SO THAT YOU DON'T GET THE GLORY, SO THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THE REWARD IN THE END. AND I THINK THAT THAT IS MAYBE THE GREATEST REALIZATION THAT I HAVE ENCOUNTERED IN SPORT, AND I ALWAYS SAY THAT SPORT IS NOT LIFE, BUT IT CERTAINLY CAN TEACH US A LOT ABOUT LIFE, AND SO WHILE I DIDN'T ENJOY ANY OF THOSE EXPERIENCES OF NOT PLAYING, IT CERTAINLY HAS GROUNDED ME AND ALLOWED ME PERHAPS A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE, AND I THINK MOST ATHLETES COMING OUT OF ELITE SPORT HAVE.

Nam says WELL, I THINK THROUGHOUT THE BOOK YOU HAVE MOMENTS WHERE YOU'RE BEING CALLED INTO SPEAK TO THE COACHES, AND YOU'RE BEING... THEY ARE DECIDING YOUR FATE. A LOT OF TIMES WE JUST DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THOSE MOMENTS WHEN YOU DID HAVE DOUBTS, WHEN YOU WERE FULL OF DOUBT?

Sami says YEAH, I THINK... WELL, I THINK THE SITUATIONS REALLY CAUSED THE DOUBT, AND THAT'S WHAT WAS DIFFICULT WAS I FELT THAT I CAME INTO THE EXPERIENCE FULL OF CONFIDENCE AND THEN SLOWLY BUT SURELY THINGS HAPPENED THAT SORT OF PICK AWAY AT THAT CONFIDENCE, AND I THINK ALL OF US EXPERIENCE THAT IN OUR LIVES, THAT YOU KNOW, WHETHER IT'S... WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY ABOUT OUR WORK, WHETHER IT'S WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO OR DON'T DO AROUND US, IT TENDS TO SORT OF PICK AWAY AT THAT CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE, AND SO IT WAS... YOU KNOW, IT WAS GOING BACK IN THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE I WAS FULL OF DOUBT, AND THERE'S ONE MOMENT IN THE BOOK DURING THE 2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN MISSISSAUGA. I WAS THE GOALTENDER THAT WAS PLAYING, AND AFTER THE FIRST PERIOD WE WERE DOWN 2-NOTHING AND CANADA HAD NEVER LOST A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AT THAT POINT, SO THAT WAS REALLY A FIRST FOR US, AND I REMEMBER BEING IN THE DRESSING ROOM THINKING TO MYSELF THAT, YOU KNOW, MAYBE THE COACHES MADE A WRONG CHOICE. MAYBE I WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THE GOALIE THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYING. THE TEAM WAS JUST NOT ON A ROLL AT THAT MOMENT, AND SO I WAS FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF. I WAS FEELING LIKE THIS DOUBT WAS CREEPING IN, BUT I TOOK MY UPPER BODY GEAR OFF, WHICH I NORMALLY DO BETWEEN PERIODS, AND I WAS JUST SWEATING AND EXHAUSTED, AND WENT INTO THE TOILET STALL BASICALLY AND JUST HAD A MOMENT TO MYSELF AND WENT THROUGH ALL THE REASONS WHY I PLAY. AND WHILE THERE'S A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE LINE, I REALIZED THAT THIS JUST... THIS IS JUST A GAME, THAT MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE NOT GOING TO LOVE ME MORE OR LESS BECAUSE OF THE WAY I PERFORM OUT HERE, THAT ULTIMATELY IT'S THE JOURNEY AND IT'S THE MOMENTS IN THE GAME. WHY DO I LOVE BEING A GOALTENDER? I LOVE STOPPING PUCKS, AND SO I SAID TO MYSELF, I'M JUST GOING TO STOP THE NEXT PUCK, AND LET'S JUST FOCUS ON THE NEXT PUCK, AND IN STOPPING EACH ONE OF THOSE PUCKS YOU GAIN A LITTLE BIT OF CONFIDENCE, AND SO SOMETIMES IT'S GOING BACK TO THE VERY BASICS WHEN WE'RE FULL OF DOUBT AND WE JUST... WE FEEL LIKE THERE IS NO ROAD AHEAD AND THINKING WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AND WHY ARE WE IN THIS SITUATION AND WHAT CHOICES HAVE WE MADE. I MEAN, I ALWAYS WENT BACK TO I CHOSE TO PLAY HOCKEY. I CHOSE TO BE HERE, AND LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. SO I NEED TO HAVE THE PERSPECTIVE THAT I'M SO FORTUNATE TO BE IN THIS POSITION, WHETHER WE LOSE 10-NOTHING OR WHETHER WE WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. I'M STILL GETTING TO PLAY A GAME THAT I LOVE. SOMETIMES IT'S GOING BACK TO THOSE MOMENTS THAT ALLOW US TO MOVE FORWARD WHEN THERE IS THAT DOUBT.

Nam says WELL, YOU MENTION ANGELA JAMES AND OTHER WOMEN, TRAIL BLAZERS. WHAT ROLE DID THOSE RELATIONSHIPS PLAY IN YOUR CAREER?

In a picture, Sami poses with three other young women. The four wear red and white Team Canada outfits and hats.

Sami says I FEEL SO FORTUNATE THAT I HAD SUCH AMAZING PEOPLE IN MY LIFE, AND I THINK AT THE TIME YOU DON'T EVEN REALIZE BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST YOUR FRIENDS. THEY ARE YOUR TEAMMATES, AND NOW... I MEAN, HALF OF MY TEAM IS IN THE HOCKEY HALL OF FAME. THOSE PEOPLE IN THAT PARTICULAR PHOTO, JENNIFER BOT REL... AND MEGAN AUGUSTA, THREE OF MY DEAR FRIENDS THAT NOW YEARS LATER WE'RE STILL IN CONTACT, JUST INCREDIBLE PEOPLE THAT HAVE GONE ON TO INCREDIBLE HEIGHTS. WHEN YOU'RE GOING THROUGH IT, THESE ARE JUST YOUR BUDDIES. IT'S LIKE WHEN YOU'RE IN COLLEGE, THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR DORM. THAT'S JUST WHO YOU'RE AROUND. BUT YOU MENTIONED ANGELA JAMES, SOME OF THE PIONEERS OF THE GAME, THEY HAD A HUGE INFLUENCE ON ME, AND I DIDN'T NECESSARILY KNOW IT AT THE TIME. I WAS JUST GUIDED BY THESE INCREDIBLE WOMEN WHO WERE JUST REAL PEOPLE TOO. THEY ARE GIVING ME THESE INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCES AND DELVING OUT THEIR EXPERTISE, BUT THEY ARE ALSO TAKING ME TO THE PUB ON THE WEEKEND, YOU KNOW? SO IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S ALL JUST... THERE ARE JUST THESE ICONS THAT ARE UNREACHABLE. THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE, AND I JUST FEEL SO FORTUNATE TO HAVE BEEN AROUND THESE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, AND I HOPE IN THE BOOK THAT'S WHAT I TRY TO DO, WAS TO SHOWCASE THE WOMEN THAT MAYBE DIDN'T ALWAYS GET THE LIMELIGHT, DIDN'T ALWAYS GET THE SPOTLIGHT. CATHY CAMPBELL, HALEY WICKENHEISER, THEY ARE TWO SUPERSTARS FROM OUR TEAM THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS, AS THEY SHOULD. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY NAMES OF PEOPLE THAT PLAYED DIFFERENT ROLES THAT WILL... WERE NEVER IN THE LIMELIGHT BUT STILL PLAYED AN INCREDIBLE PART OF THAT TEAM AND ARE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE NOW GIVING BACK TO THE SPORT AND TO THE COUNTRY THAT THEY LOVE AS WELL.

Nam says WOULD A CANADIAN WOMEN'S HOCKEY LEAGUE WHICH YOU CO-FOUNDED, DISBANDED, WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY OR IN THE NHL?

A picture shows a hockey team kneeling on the ice as Sami addresses them.

Sami says WELL, I GUESS THOSE ARE TWO VERY BIG QUESTIONS. YOU'RE RIGHT THAT I HELPED FOUND THE PREVIOUS PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE THAT WE HAD IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IT WAS A LOT OF WOMEN PUTTING A LOT OF WORK AND EFFORT INTO CREATING THIS LEAGUE THAT WE HAD FOR 11 YEARS, AND WHILE IT WASN'T PERFECT, I THINK IT WAS... CREATED A BUILDING BLOCK FOR WHAT CAN COME. AND WHAT I HOPE FOR WOMEN IN THE FUTURE IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY, BECAUSE FOR ME, THAT IS WHAT HAS REALLY STUCK THROUGH ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS, THE MONEY, THE LACK OF MONEY, IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY AND TO CREATE FRIENDSHIPS AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT EXTEND BEYOND HOCKEY. I HOPE THAT THEY ARE PAID A WAGE THAT ALLOWS THEM TO PLAY HOCKEY FULL TIME, AND THAT EXTENDS BEYOND THE NATIONAL TEAM GIRLS. SO THE CURRENT NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS FOR TEAM U.S.A., TEAM CANADA, THERE'S... THEY RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BE ABLE TO BE FULL-TIME HOCKEY PLAYERS, BUT BECAUSE OF THAT, THERE'S A BIG DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THEM AND THE NEXT LEVEL OF PLAYER. SO WHAT I HOPE FOR THE NEXT PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE IS THAT THAT DISCREPANCY IS GONE, THAT IT IS MORE LIKE THE NHL WHERE NATIONAL TEAMS ARE LOOKING TO THAT PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE TOP PLAYERS AND ARE CHOOSING FROM THERE. AND I GUESS WITH THE LANDSCAPE THAT EXISTS IN WOMEN'S HOCKEY RIGHT NOW, THERE'S SOME REAL RISKS OF PERSONALITIES THAT JUST CAN'T SEEM TO GET ALONG, AND I JUST HOPE THAT THOSE ARE GONE AND THAT WE HAVE A GAME THAT ALLOWS EVERYBODY TO PLAY. RIGHT NOW GIRLS ARE SITTING OUT AND NOT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY, TO BE ABLE TO CREATE THIS BETTER LEAGUE, BUT IT MEANS WITHIN THIS PANDEMIC AND COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC THERE WON'T BE A PLACE FOR THEM IMMEDIATELY, SO I HOPE THAT THERE'S SOMETHING, AND I GUESS THAT THAT'S REALLY ALL THAT WE CAN HOPE FOR, IS THAT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT SATISFIES ALL THE BOXES FOR THEM THAT ALLOWS THEM TO GET BACK ON THE ICE, BECAUSE I JUST FEEL SO TERRIBLE FOR THEM RIGHT NOW, THAT THEY ARE NOT GETTING TO HAVE THOSE EXPERIENCES OF, YOU KNOW, SITTING ON THE BUS AND TRAVELLING ACROSS COUNTRY AND VYING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP AND JUST ALL THOSE THINGS THAT I JUST FEEL SO THANKFUL THAT I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE

Nam says I WANT TO READ ONE LAST THING BEFORE WE WRAP UP. YOU WRITE: MY DAD SAYS I'M TOO STUBBORN TO GIVE UP. I DON'T THINK IT WAS EVER ABOUT HOCKEY ITSELF. IT WAS ABOUT THE FEELING I GET WHEN I COMPETE.
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Sami says WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF? UMM... THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. I MEAN, I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF THE TEAMS I WAS A PART OF, AND YES WE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS AND YES WE HAD EXPERIENCES, BUT I WAS JUST AS PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF THAT 10-YEAR-OLD BOYS TEAM, OF THE STANFORD MEN'S TEAM, OF THE OLYMPIC WOMEN'S TEAM, OF MY TORONTO FURIES TEAM, TO BE PART OF THAT TEAM AND HAVE THE FEELING OF TOGETHERNESS AND INCLUSION THAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU'RE A PART OF 20 WOMEN THAT COME FROM VARIOUS DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, DIFFERENT AGES, AND YOU'RE HAVING THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THEM. IT COULD BE CHALLENGES. IT COULD BE AMAZING, GLORY-FILLED MOMENTS, BUT I THINK THAT THAT'S WHAT I'M MOST... WHAT I LOOK BACK MOST FONDLY ON, AND PERHAPS WHAT I'M MOST PROUD OF IS THAT I WAS ABLE TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY UNTIL I WAS 42. I THINK THAT MOST WOMEN ARE CAPABLE OF THAT BUT DON'T KEEP PUSHING PAST HAVING CHILDREN, DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE THE SUPPORT IN THEIR LIVES, AND I WAS ABLE TO HAVE THAT. MY HUSBAND IS A PARALYMPIC ATHLETE. HE PLAYS SLEDGE HOCKEY FOR CANADA, AND I'M JUST SO GRATEFUL THAT I GOT TO MEET HIM THROUGH HOCKEY AND THAT HE REALLY UNDERSTOOD MY QUEST TO WANT TO KEEP PLAYING. THAT I JUST REALLY LOVED IT. AND I THINK THAT DESPITE ALL OF THE SETBACKS, I GUESS... YOU KNOW, YOU'VE MADE ME REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS, BUT I THINK I'M MOST PROUD THAT I LOVED IT UNTIL THE END.

Nam says AND HAS IT BEEN HARD... WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS. HAS IT BEEN HARD TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO A SPORT THAT WAS SO MUCH A PART OF WHO YOU ARE?

Sami says YEAH, I DON'T THINK I'LL EVER SAY GOOD-BYE. I STILL PLAY WOMEN'S REC TWO OR THREE NIGHTS A WEEK. I STILL LOVE IT, AND I'M GOING TO GO DOWN KICKING, SO I'LL NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Nam says SAMI, THANK YOU SO MUCH. TERRIFIC BOOK. CONGRATULATIONS. WHAT A CAREER. I THINK PEOPLE READING THIS BOOK AND FINDING OUT HOW HARD YOU FOUGHT, ALL THE SACRIFICES THAT YOU MADE AND TO GET TO THIS PLACE, HARD WORK DOES PAY OFF. CONGRATULATIONS.

Sami says THANK YOU, NAM. I APPRECIATE IT. THANK YOU.

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