It’s been nearly two years since Marie Vaters has seen her granddaughter
But grandmother and granddaughter remain in constant contact via phone
calls and text messages. The latest adventures of P.K. Subban in the NHL
are a frequent topic of discussion.
“She’s always been an avid fan of Subban, and he’s been moving around from
Montreal to Nashville to New Jersey,” says Marie. “I keep asking her where
her interests are now, and I think she’ll continue to cheer for him
wherever he goes.”
Marie, a Glenwood, N.L., resident, appreciates hearing the latest about No.
76, and she loves it when Lauren, who lives 4,800 kilometres away in
Dauphin, Man., chronicles her latest on-ice exploits with the Grand Plains
While they have seen Lauren on the ice before when she was just learning
how to skate, Marie and Lauren’s grandfather Joe have not enjoyed the treat
of witnessing their 13-year-old granddaughter play in an actual game.
But that will change this weekend in St. John’s.
Lauren is one of 40 Bantam-aged players starring in the Canadian leg of the
2020 IIHF Global Girls’ Game, an event that unites 40 countries from around
the world for an empowering celebration of women’s hockey. For the
fifth-consecutive year, the results of 40 individual one-hour matches –
hosted in a chain sequence – will be tallied together for a final global
Puck drop for the Canadian segment of the global match is 3 p.m. NT on
Saturday at the Mile One Centre (watch it LIVE at video.hockeycanada.ca). Nine of Hockey Canada’s members –
including Hockey Manitoba – get two representatives, the Ontario Women’s
Hockey Association has six slots and the remaining 16 roster spots belong
to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The way we run the event is meant to empower the players and allow them to
make connections,” explains Lindsey Nielsen, a Grow the Game manager with
Hockey Canada. “A lot of the feedback we get from the players across the
country is they appreciate the chance to make new friends and connect with
people with similar interests from different communities across Canada.”
The game is not the only aspirational event of the weekend; the
participants will be treated to a seminar from Dr. TA Loeffler, a Canadian
adventurer who has scaled six and four/fifths of the Seven Summits. She
also completed a 3000-kilometre canoe expedition from Jasper, Alta. to the
Each Hockey Canada member selected players who have an excellent track
record of exhibiting positive values on and off the ice.
Lauren fits the bill perfectly – people in her community regard her as a
girl with a generous and empathetic spirit. Away from the rink, she
volunteers at the Parkland Humane Society for animals, and at the rink she
gives as a second-year referee and mentor to young girls playing in the
Grand Plains Minor Hockey Association.
“I try and teach the girls about the importance of working hard,
communicating and showing respect on the ice,” says Lauren. “My family has
taught me to be kind and respectful, and I want to share that lesson.”
While the forward cherishes the significant victories and clutch goals, it
is the friendships she has made through the game that she treasures most.
Grandma Marie has imparted that lesson onto Lauren.
“When it comes to hockey, it is not about winning. It is about socializing
and being able to get along and agree. Hockey is fun, and it’s meant to be
Lauren is keen on adding to her network of friends this weekend in St.
John’s. Seeing her grandparents again is another major impetus why she
applied for the event. The opportunity to play in front of Grandpa Joe and
Grandma Marie delights her.
“I am excited to show them how far I have come as a hockey player and how
the game has helped me grow in confidence,” says Lauren.
Outside the game, Marie and Joe will spend evenings with Lauren and attend
a Newfoundland culture party planned for the players.
“This is such an unreal and amazing opportunity for the players and
families,” says Marie. “We’re going to make every minute count.”