As the Canadian women’s hockey team gears up for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, one player has made history before even stepping onto the ice.
Defenceman Brigette Lacquette is the first-ever First Nations woman to make the team, and she’s been basking in an outpouring of well-wishes from across the country ever since she cracked the roster.
“I’m super excited and I think having all that extra support from all the First Nations across Canada is definitely very special for me,” she said Tuesday during a national media call.
Lacquette is originally from the Cote First Nation near Kamsack, Sask., but moved with her family to the small community of Mallard, Man. that she now calls home.
Growing up, Lacquette said seeing fellow First Nations Manitoban Jordin Tootoo skate in the 2003 World Juniors was a moment that made her believe she could make it to the world’s biggest stage.
Now, she said she hopes her play in Pyeongchang sends a message to the next wave of little girls imagining themselves wearing the Maple Leaf.
“You can achieve anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can always achieve your dreams,” she said.
Lacquette said she was thankful for the support she’s had from her First Nation, coaches and teammates along the way, but said she was especially grateful to her parents, Terance and Anita,
After being a late cut ahead of the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, she said it was a thrill to get to call her Dad this year and tell him his hours of coaching and building a backyard rink for her every winter had paid off.
“There’s only wi-fi, so he was hanging out by the wi-fi waiting for me to call him and he was just super excited. To finally tell him that I made the team was special.”
Lacquette and the rest of Team Canada will be looking for a fifth-consecutive gold medal in women’s hockey when the Winter Games kick off Feb. 9.