Written by: Tomas Morgan
In the world of professional sports, where triumphs and tribulations shape the narrative, Mikyla Grant-Mentis emerges as a beacon of change and resilience. As a professional women's hockey player, Mikyla has not only faced the challenges inherent in pursuing a career in a male-dominated sport but has also become a catalyst for positive transformation within the hockey community.
The episode delves into her journey, offering a glimpse into the hurdles she encountered growing up as a female in hockey. One notable aspect is her multi-sport involvement, emphasizing the importance of a diverse athletic background. Mikyla highlights how playing ball hockey during the summer, often with her father, contributed to developing essential skills like hand-eye coordination, laying the foundation for her hockey career.
Obstacles arose during her earlier years in hockey, where gender bias was palpable. Mikyla candidly shares her experiences, recalling instances where she faced resistance from those hesitant to accept a female player in traditionally male-dominated spaces. Despite these challenges, she maintained her dedication to the sport, showcasing a remarkable level of perseverance.
The conversation takes a poignant turn when she discusses the transition to girls' hockey and the racial dynamics she encountered. Reflecting on being one of the few Black players in the sport, she shares an incident where a fellow player made racially insensitive remarks. Mikyla's response underscores her resilience, choosing to focus on the game rather than succumbing to negativity. This personal anecdote sheds light on the need for continued efforts to address racism within the hockey community.
Beyond her individual journey, she is actively contributing to discussions on equity and diversity in hockey. Her involvement in the Halifax Hockey Summit, alongside other prominent figures in the sport, demonstrates her commitment to facilitating change. The summit serves as a platform for conversations about the experiences of players, shedding light on the disparities in hockey, particularly for women and minorities.
Mikyla's dedication extends beyond the ice rink. She emphasizes the significance of appreciating one's youth, recounting moments where her focus on hockey led to missed opportunities in high school life. This reflection serves as valuable advice to aspiring athletes, encouraging them to strike a balance between their passion for sports and the experiences that shape their formative years.
As she embarks on a new chapter joining Ottawa’s PWHL team, her ambitions remain sky-high. While her immediate goals include excelling in her professional career, she harbours a long-standing dream of donning the Team Canada jersey. Despite facing potential oversights earlier in her career, Mikyla's determination remains unshaken, and her trajectory suggests that her journey is far from over.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis stands not only as a talented athlete but as a trailblazer advocating for inclusivity and equity in women's hockey. Her journey exemplifies the resilience required to navigate the complexities of professional sports, and her commitment to positive change leaves an indelible mark on the landscape of women's hockey. As she continues to break barriers, her story becomes a source of inspiration for the next generation of athletes, encouraging them to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.