This hockey began in 2002 by Karen and Heather to teach the game to women who had spent a great deal of time in the hockey arena, supporting their husbands and children who play, but never played themselves. Heather and Karen love the game and wanted to encourage other women to give it a try. It took a bit of arm-twisting but the hockey moms, and now dads of Aurora and Newmarket, are evidence to the old adage that it’s never too late to learn Canada’s greatest game.
Hockey started for organizer Karen MacLeod at 39 years of age over a glass of wine with a few neighbours. On that particular night the ladies were brainstorming ideas for a weekly and much needed Girl’s Night Out. Volleyball was discussed with some excitement. Bowling was discussed with mixed reviews but when one neighbour mentioned that her hockey-playing friend badly needed a woman’s team to make their three-team hockey league into a four-team league, the ladies bravely jumped at the idea of learning this challenging sport, even though two out of the three couldn’t stop on their skates; their husbands played together, their kids played all the time, so why not jump in with both blades.
Hockey was harder than it looked for Karen who was used to plunging feet first into new physical pursuits and making out okay; she had taken up running a couple years earlier and had already planned her first full marathon for her 40th year. Karen thought that skating was fairly straightforward but she learned that stopping and changing directions in that "hockey suit" was more challenging than she anticipated. Karen had to admit she needed help and at that time there was not much help in sight. She did find a beginner program (yeah, right) in the next town over on Sunday night. But after a cold winter of getting home at midnight on Sunday, and of being zambonied over by one-too-many enthusiastic guys enjoying the feeling of speed in the absence of stopping skills, she pined for a gentle, non life-threatening program to learn this game of hockey. And she wanted her friends and other hockey moms to play with her.
Karen was thrilled to meet Heather who equally shared a love for the game of hockey and an artfully brewed cup of tea. But the similarity stopped there because Heather grew up playing hockey with the boys, was playing at the time in a competitive ladies league in Richmond Hill, and so-happened to be a great hockey player. And Karen found out soon enough that Heather was a coach and was a great teacher of the game. Karen organizes and champions the program while Coach Heather transforms the Brave and Enthusiastic into formidable recreational hockey players
Our goal-NeverToLate Hockey strives to give our community of men and women the confidence to play Canada's greatest game at any age.
ABOUT THE COACH
Heather grew up in Richmond Hill, ON where she played in the first ever Richmond Hill Girls Hockey League for the Junior Rep team. As an all-around athlete, she won a Provincial Championship in Minor Ball and was a varsity squash player while earning her Honours B.A. in Recreation/Business at the University of Waterloo.
Hockey has been her passion and she has played a prominent role in the development of young hockey players for more than a decade. She is a Level 2 certified coach (NCCP) and a Level 1 Trainer. As an Assistant Coach, she won a Novice 'A' Ontario Provincial Championship in 1997, participated in the OWHA Coaching Mentor program with the University of Toronto Women's Hockey Team and was an organizer of the Team Ontario U-17 Evaluation Camp for the 1999 Canada Winter Games. She was the Director of Hockey Development for the Aurora Girls Hockey Association in 1997-98 and has been heavily involved in the Aurora Panthers girls program since 1995 coaching at every level from Novice through to Junior and Intermediate where she has won numerous League and tournament Championships and both Provincial Silver and Gold medals.
As a power-skating and skills instructor, she has worked with a multitude of boys and girls teams throughout the York Region including the Aurora Panthers, Aurora Tigers, East Gwillumbury Eagles, Newmarket Redmen and York Simcoe Express AAA. Presently, she fills her summers as an on-ice instructor at Ridgeback/Scary Skate Hockey Camps at UOIT in Oshawa, runs her own Pre-season training camps in Aurora, is the Manager & Head Power-Skating Instructor for Skaters First in Aurora and is also the one of the Founders and the on ice instructor of Never To Late Hockey an adult Learn to Play Hockey program in Aurora.
Heather lives with her husband John (also a hockey coach) and their 3 hockey passionate kids in Aurora, ON.