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Cassie Campbell-Pascall encourages female hockey players to believe they can achieve

Cassie Campbell-Pascall was told as a young girl that she couldn't play hockey. She didn't listen to them. She believed she could and went on to have a wonderful career on the world stage. She encourages young girls to pursue hockey because there are lots of opportunities available to those who want to strive for excellence.
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was told as a young girl that she couldn't play hockey. She didn't listen to them. She believed she could and went on to have a wonderful career on the world stage. She encourages young girls to pursue hockey because there are lots of opportunities available to those who want to strive for excellence. - Submitted

She was cut from Team Canada's women's world hockey championship team as a 16-year-old.

Two years later, she didn't make the cut as an 18-year-old.

Then, as a 20-year-old, she finally cracked the roster to play for her country.

She has two Olympic women's hockey gold medals tucked away (2002, 2006) and a silver medal from 1998 - the year women's hockey made its debut on the Olympic stage.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall - one of the most decorated female hockey players of all time - proved a lot of people wrong.

"Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't play the game," Campbell-Pascall told The Western Star in a telephone interview earlier this month.

She was told she couldn't play the game, but said she didn't listen and she's thankful she didn't.

Campbell-Pascall grew up playing hockey with the boys and she didn't mind it one bit. She lived in the New Jersey area for three years when her dad got transferred for work, but she returned to Canada and grew up in Brampton where she started playing the game with other girls at the age of 10.

It was a rough beginning with the early Sunday morning ice-times, if you could get any open slots at all, and only a handful of teams to play against.

"There wasn't a lot of girls who played and it still really wasn't a cool thing to do and I lived in a major centre so you can imagine what it would have been like for girls who lived in small towns," she said of the early days when people didn't take females serious when they talked hockey.

She really got the bug for hockey when she found out female hockey was going to be part of the 1991 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island where her family has deep roots. That sparked her enthusiasm to focus her dream on trying to earn a spot on Canada's Olympic women's hockey team.

A wonderful career on the ice led to a wonderful career off the ice when she retired, a journey that helped her become

Imagine if she listened to those who said she couldn't.

Campbell-Pascall believes it's important that players train hard and develop their skillset to be among the elite, but she insists there is much more to hockey than goals and assists.

She believes it's just as important that young players coming up through the ranks are shown how to be great adults by stressing the importance of showing respect to all players in the game and working hard towards personal and team goals.

More importantly, she said, making sure every boy and girl is having fun playing the game is what really matters.

"How am I going to make this young man or woman be a better adult and I think that has to be more of a priority in our minor hockey system," she said.

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