Q&A: Cassie Campbell-Pascall on girls' hockey and confidence

 

 
 
 
 
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams.   Ashley Fraser/Postmedia
 
 

Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

Photograph by: Ashley Fraser, Ottawa Citizen

Cassie Campbell-Pascall knows hockey. Winner of eight combined Olympic and world championship gold medals, Campbell-Pascall is in Ottawa teaching hockey skills to young players as part of Scotiabank’s Girls HockeyFest program, ahead of Saturday’s NHL 100 Classic.

We caught up with Campbell-Pascall after a frigid three-hour session on the Parliament Hill ice.

Q: How was your first skate on Parliament Hill?

A: It was amazing. For some of the kids, it was a bit too cold, but most of them were good little troopers. It was pretty cool to be on that ice. I got out there a bit early, on with the Carleton Ravens, and we got some pictures. It was like this overwhelming feeling of Canadiana. You’re at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and to be on the ice at the same time, it was kind of surreal.

Q: Did the kids take a moment to take in their surroundings or were they more focused on you and the hockey?

A: I think a little bit of both. Their parents were all getting pictures of them on the ice. The ice is really good and the backdrop has all these video monitors with NHL 100 highlights showing and these mirages on the Parliament Buildings. Really neat.

Q: I noticed your tweet about a clinic where you coaxed a shy girl to come onto the ice. That must have been inspiring.

A: I had this speech planned in Winnipeg and I changed the whole thing. There were these two girls, one was by far the best player on the ice … she could deke out everybody, no problem, and after she scored a couple of goals she made sure to include all the other girls, she would pass the puck to the weaker girls and I said to her, ‘I’m really proud of you. You’re going to always have to have that balance between making yourself better and also being a good teammate. Today you showed me you’re a great teammate.’

There was another girl who hadn’t skated in about two years. She just hung around the boards and wouldn’t leave them. Finally, she came in to play goal in the 3-on-3, so she could hang onto the net. The next thing you know she was joining the other girls in the drill. To me, it was about confidence. And that is what sport does, especially for girls. For boys, it’s expected, they play sports, and it’s aggression and all these things. Young girls can gain a lot of confidence from playing sports and being included.

Q: Where is the professional women’s game going? The NWHL tried to pay its players and wound up asking for pay cuts. Will the two leagues, CWHL and NWHL, merge?

A: We will not get to where we want to go with two leagues. That has been well communicated to both commissioners by many people. Unfortunately we have some personality conflicts, and legal conflicts. There are legal issues with the way they are set up, the way they’ve been run. Until they get in the same room and decide this is how it needs to go, the situation is pretty static.

Q: How are things progressing with the CWHL?

A: I am a league governor, full disclosure there, but the CWHL is stronger than it’s ever been. That China deal brought an influx of money, and they just signed a new sponsorship with ADT this year. Because of that money from the two Chinese teams, we were able to provide more infrastructure for the commissioner, hire more people. The hockey is amazing, even with the Olympians not there. The talent level has really changed.

Q: Is it important down the road that women receive proper salaries?

A: Essential. We have a lot of women that are full-time teachers, police officers, mechanical engineers – and they go to their day jobs and are still expected to be the best they can be at the game that night. In order for players to train as full-time professionals and be dedicated as full-time players … they need to be able to come out of college and be paid as pro players. That would be unbelievable. We’re not talking millions of dollars, but a $40,000 to $70,000 salary.

It would make the game better. And more people would want to come and watch.

Q: As a Hockey Night In Canada analyst, you watch a lot of NHL hockey. Re: Ken Dryden’s book and campaign, do you see a day when he gets his wish and all head hits are penalized?

A: I think so. I think we’re really close. We’re in a position now where we’ve made changes to speed the game up – and that has been a factor in a lot of the head hits that happen. It’s gotten so fast. But I do see it changing, people are talking publicly about hits to the head … you don’t see them as much and you only see it when the game gets really fast and a guy goes to make a hit, misses and catches a guy’s head. The more intentional stuff is not as prevalent.

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Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams.   Ashley Fraser/Postmedia
 

Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia

Photograph by: Ashley Fraser, Ottawa Citizen

 
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams.   Ashley Fraser/Postmedia
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams.
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was on the ice with girls aged 7-12 for Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday April 9, 2017. The program included on and off ice training from former Olympian Campbell-Pascale and members of the University of Ottawa GeeGees and the Carlton University Ravens Women's Hockey Teams. Campbell-Pascale talks to one of the young hockey girls.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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