When it comes to the upcoming Olympic women’s hockey tournament, mom’s the word for veteran Canadian defenceman Meaghan Mikkelson.
That’s because, as Mikkelson prepares to compete in her third Olympic tournament, her focus is not entirely on hockey. How could it be? The 32-year-old native of Regina is not only an experienced player with impressive credentials, she is also the mother of a two-year-old son named Calder.
So while many of her teammates may be focused solely on the Olympic Games, Mikkelson must walk a tightrope, delicately balancing hockey and motherhood.
“It’s so special and extremely fulfilling,” Mikkelson says. “With everything that I’ve gone through in my hockey career, I’ve learned a lot and have grown a lot. But I haven’t grown in my hockey career like I’ve grown since becoming a mother.
“You learn a lot about yourself, how strong and resilient you are.”
Mikkelson has been a Team Canada mainstay since first playing for the under-22 team in 2003, though she did take a year off to have Calder.
When it came to naming their son, Mikkelson and her husband, Scott Reid, turned to Twitter. With the help of their followers they narrowed their choices down to eight and, in a bracket-style showdown, Calder beat out Emerson. It didn’t hurt that Mikkelson’s uncle, Jimmy McFadden, was the Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s top rookie with the Detroit Red Wings in 1948.
Mikkelson says motherhood has changed her.
“You become more comfortable in your own skin and with the person you are, and that leads to more confidence,” she says. “I just think I’m a happier person. My son is incredible, and being able to go home to him, whether it’s been a good day or a bad day, is amazing.
“To have him come running at me with a big smile on his face when I come through the door screaming, ‘Mommy! Mommy!’ there’s no better feeling in the world. It gives me a sense of perspective and keeps me grounded.”
Mikkelson’s teammates are impressed by her ability to juggle multiple roles.
“It’s very inspiring,” says Lauriane Rougeau. “Meaghan is unbelievable for having taken time off to have a family and raise a child. Calder is always around and it’s fun to have him at the rink. He’s growing up with us.”
Mikkelson comes from a hockey family. Her father, Bill, played four seasons in the NHL with the Los Angeles…