Interview with Natalie Spooner

Natalie is a professional ice hockey player who plays for Team Canada and the Toronto Furies. She competed on Amazing Race Canada and is also an ambassador for Fast and Female, an organization that empowers girls in sport. Learn more about the Olympic Gold medalist and CWHL All-Star from the bio on her website.
Photo from Natalie Spooner’s Instagram page: @natspooner5
If you could be a professional/Olympic athlete in any sport except hockey, which sport would you want it to be? 
It would be a summer sport to get to experience at the Summer Olympics. It would probably be soccer since I played growing up but I also loved swimming! 

What’s your favourite TV show and which character would you want to be friends with?
Favourite TV show is Amazing Race Canada! And there aren’t really characters since every season is new teams but the host Jon Montgomery is super cool!

What’s your favourite thing to do in the summer?
My favourite thing to do in the summer is travel. I like seeing new places that we normally wouldn’t travel for hockey, which most of the time are hot places since hockey takes us to cold ones! 

What have been the top two moments or achievements in your hockey career?
The top two moments in my hockey career would be making the Olympic team and winning gold at the Sochi Olympics. 

How has being a hockey player shaped who you are as a person?
Being a hockey player has taught me a lot and given me a lot of experiences I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t play hockey. I have learned the value of hard work and teamwork, met so many friends and travelled to some amazing places. 

What do you consider your biggest strength on the ice? Is there anything you hope to improve?
I think I’m always trying to improve and refine different areas of my game, even my strengths. Skating has been something I’ve always placed a lot of importance in and I think helps me separate myself. This summer, I’m really striving to improve my shot — namely, my release. 

Do you have (or have you ever had) any game day superstitions?
I always put my left equipment on before my right! 

Were there any mentalities you had to keep or sacrifices you had to make to get to where you are now?
As any athlete would tell you, there are a lot of sacrifices you make to get to the Olympics. Missing family weddings or birthdays are never easy but I’m lucky to have an extremely supportive family and support network that are understanding and encouraging. In the end they aren’t sacrifices just part of the process to achieve your goal. 

As a Fast and Female Ambassador, what do you believe the benefits are for girls who participate in sports?
Sports have brought so much to my life. Living a healthy lifestyle through not only physical activity but learning life skills. I have learned leadership, work ethic and teamwork — all skills that have allowed me to excel outside the rink.  All girls should have the chance to play sports and learn these vital life skills that can help them be successful later in life, all while having fun playing a sport! 

How can we as a society help keep young female athletes motivated and make sports more of a female-friendly environment? 
I think girls need to have more accessibility to seeing female athlete role models. If you turn on the TV you can see an NHL game, a NFL game but the chances of seeing a female athlete are slim.  If girls can see their role models on TV or in person, those little girls will dream of playing sports and continue to pursue their dreams. 

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