Meaghan Mikkelson

The greater the sacrifice you make to get something, the greater the reward in the end.

Meaghan Mikkelson

In one sentence, how would your family describe you?

Loving, loyal, compassionate, determined, Type A, Machine

If you could relive or redo one day in your life, what day would it be & why?

Winning Gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Now 9 years later, I feel like the memories of winning Gold on home soil are starting to fade a bit, though they are not something I would ever want to forget. I also don’t think that at such a young age, I soaked up every moment the way I would have liked to, so I would want to go back, refresh the memories and soak in absolutely every second of that day.

If you could go back and tell your 12 year old self something, what would it be?

That reaching my goals was going to be hard, and that there were going to be really low and tough times, but that all of the hard work and sacrifice would be worth it in the end, and I would come out the other side stronger.

If you could sit down with a young female hockey player that looks up to you, what advice would you give her?

To work to the point where you will have no regrets.

Looking back, succeed or fail, as long as you know that you did absolutely everything you could, that is what matters the most.

And also to get a little bit better each day, because small incremental improvements lead to big results.

What is something the majority of people don’t know about you?

That I was a competitive swimmer growing up and had to choose between pursuing hockey or swimming.

What does “Project Athlete” mean to you?  How do you relate to it?

I think that as athletes, we are constantly evolving and looking for ways to improve.

“Projects” require a lot of effort, innovation and a lot of work, and as athletes, we do as well!

I can relate to it in the sense that I am always looking for ways to get better, picking out my weaknesses so that I can make them my strengths, and trying to be the best version of myself – in that sense, I am a constant work-in-progress, and a project in many ways.

How has being a mom changed your training habits or your mindset as an athlete?

I think that being a mom has given me the greatest sense of perspective above anything else. Whether I have a good training day, or a bad training day, win or loss, gold medal or silver, I come home to my kids, my home, and my family. I used to be extremely hard on myself, to the point where it impacted my performance negatively and I got in my own head.

While I am still very critical of my performance, I am able to keep it in perspective, and evaluate my game in a more constructive way. I also have a greater appreciation for quality over quantity. My time to train is precious, often having a time window that I have to fit everything in before I go back to my kids, and so everything I do, every exercise, every set, every rep, I make it count more than I ever did before.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want female athletes to know that they are able to compete at the highest level at their sport AND have their own kids as well. Not only that, but to not have to choose between their sport (career) and having kids, because they have the full support of their federations and sponsors.

What is the scariest thing you have ever done? What did you take away from it?

Stepping away from the Canadian National Women’s Team in 2014-2015 to have my son, Calder, and now again this past season to have my daughter, Berkley. In a sense, by stepping away, I was temporarily giving my spot to another player, to showcase their skills, giving them the opportunity to potentially permanently take my place on the roster. It was scary the first time because I did not know what having a baby and attempting to come back would look like, if my body would be the same, if I would be able to play at the same level from the years that I missed competing.

What I took away from it was that the greater the sacrifice that you make to get something, the greater the satisfaction in the end. My kids are my greatest accomplishment in my personal life, and coming back from having them, if I am successful a second time, are my two greatest accomplishments in my professional life, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

What is something beautiful that you see everyday?

My two kids – smiling, happy and healthy. I know I am talking a lot about my kids but what mother doesn’t!

Hockey Canada has been a well established powerhouse in the women’s game for many years.  What is your take on the current status, and where does it need to go from here?

As female hockey players, this generation and the next, we currently do not have, but deserve, a viable professional women’s ice hockey league in North America that showcases the greatest product of women’s professional ice hockey in the world.

With that purpose, a large group of us have come together, not as individual players, but as one collective voice to help navigate the future and protect the players needs.

We cannot make a sustainable living playing in the current state of the professional game, and that is what we are working together to achieve.

Did you grow up as a multi-sport athlete?  What advice to you have for parents who are being pressured to have their children playing hockey full time?

I grew up playing every sport – you name it, I played it. I think if you look at all the best players in their respective sports, they are not just great at what they do, but they are great overall athletes, and I believe that comes from being exposed to a variety of sports and activities from a very young age.

I would tell parents that if you want your kids to excel in hockey, take the time and effort to expose them to different sports and activities so that they can develop into exceptional overall athletes as well because it will without a doubt transfer over to their game in a positive way.

Since you first started playing professional and international hockey, how has the game changed and how have you had to adapt to it?

Year after year, the game keeps gets faster and faster. Players come in to camp fitter and stronger, and as an older player, I am now thankful for the base that I built when I was younger at developing different areas of fitness and of my game. Luckily, my parents put me in power skating from a very young age, and I have always been a great skater as a result. But more recently, and as I have gotten older, I have had to work extra hard in the gym to get stronger and more powerful and explosive to keep up with the younger players coming in.

What major life lessons have you learned as a result of your hockey career?

That anything worth having is not easy to get, because if it was easy, then everyone would have it.

That the greater the sacrifice you make to get something, the greater the reward in the end.

No matter what you’re doing, be a GOOD person.

How do you find balance in your life?

I do my best to set out a plan for my weeks, but I literally take life one day at a time! Having kids makes it challenging to stay on top of everything to take care of our family and home, but my husband is extremely supportive and we pride ourselves on being a team when it comes to running our household.

Finding balance is VERY hard, for anyone I think, but I prioritize and make sure that I am taking time for myself each day.

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