Introducing Women’s Hockey Life’s newest Brand Ambassador: Ariel Enhaynes!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
My name is Ariel Enhaynes. I was born in the Philippines and came to Toronto, Ontario, Canada when I was four. I currently live just outside Toronto.
I have been a stay-at-home dad since my oldest daughter was born in 2004. My involvement with the game of hockey is multi faceted. I am a player, instructor, coach and administrator. I am currently the Vice President of the Scarborough Sharks Girls Hockey Association.
I have been a fan of hockey since I was a boy. Starting with my first hockey memories from the 1972 Canada and Russia Summit Series and moving on to my hero Darryl Sittler and the Toronto Maple Leafs I have been an avid follower of this great game. I wanted to play as a boy but my parents did not know about the game and there were few opportunities at that time for newly arrived immigrants. I did try to skate but not being an athletic child I became convinced that I couldn’t skate. My parents channelled our energies to other activities so playing hockey would have to wait until much later in my life.
As an adult I really wanted to learn. My brother and I worked with friends that had grown up playing and who would gather regularly to play late night pick up games. One winter we got ourselves skates and started to learn to skate on our own. I even remember taking books about power skating out of the library. This was in the days before YouTube. We went to public skates at the arena but we were a bit self conscious. So we would go into downtown Toronto late at night and skate on the only outdoor public rinks we knew of: Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall or at the rink at Ryerson University. I remember how tired and sore we would be after skating around for a couple of hours and then driving home at two or three in the morning.
Eventually we grew confident enough to play pick up games. There were many times that we would show up at various rinks and would be met with disdain and impatience from the other players who felt that we were just a couple of pylons taking up ice time. But we carried on. We were lucky that a lot of our hockey playing buddies were encouraging, appreciated our enthusiasm and brought us out to play with them. Eventually we went full out and got full sets of equipment.
After a few years of playing casual pick up with our friends I hadn’t gotten appreciably better. I only played once a week in the winter and then I wasn’t playing at all from April to September. That’s not a lot of opportunity to develop skill. My wife suggested maybe I needed to do more if I wanted to get better. So one year for my birthday she signed me up for Adult Power Skating and Hockey classes at one of the local Ice Sports. I also started to go to any stick and puck sessions I could find. YouTube was by now booming and I would scour the internet for as much video I could find to learn from. I worked on my skills daily both on and off the ice. I was also playing three games a week and I had joined a men’s tournament team.
Now, by this time my older daughter was ready to start hockey so I got my Hockey Canada coaching certifications and jumped right into coaching. Being a coach was such a rewarding experience that I wanted to do it more. So when I saw that Ice Sports was looking for programs instructors I took a chance and applied.
Not many guys with my atypical hockey background would have gotten hired but the Head Of Athletic Development was taken with my enthusiasm and gave me a chance. I still had to prove my skills were good enough though. Thankfully my hard work and dedication in developing them paid off. I have worked with all kinds of players—from adults and children learning to skate in weekly classes to elite AA hockey players in week-long camps in the summers. I have even worked with young players from Russia and China who have come to Canada to attend camps. I love coaching.
With so much involvement in the game it was inevitable that I started helping out with hockey operations. Starting with convening for various House Leagues I then assisted with a large 3-on-3 youth summer league in Toronto. Three years ago we came to The Scarborough Sharks and based on my past experience I was offered the position of Vice President.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A WHL BRAND AMBASSADOR?
I wanted to be a Women’s Hockey Life Brand Ambassador because I believe so much in women’s hockey.
I have two daughters and I have seen first hand how much this game has enriched their lives. I want to do everything I can to bring this same experience to more girls out there—spread the word, create awareness and get them to try it. Especially to those who may not have the best opportunity to try hockey or whose access to hockey may be limited.
It’s a great game. The Internet can be a powerful tool. If I can contribute something that can reach so many more girls who want to learn about hockey I’m happy to do so. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help as many people as I can.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A #WHLAMBASSADOR?
As a #WHLAMBASSADOR I am most looking forward to connecting with people from all over the world. I love that we are a diverse group of people from many different places united by a mutual love for this game. I’m particularly excited to connect with our friends in places where hockey is not traditionally one of the more visible sports. I welcome the opportunity to impart what knowledge I can in helping them to be a builder of women’s hockey in their countries.
WHAT’S SOMETHING NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Most people don’t know that I’m a wannabe rock star. I have no reservations with performing in front of people. Could be five, ten or five hundred.
As a child my parents channelled my energies into music. Singing, piano, guitar. This was my life right up until early adulthood. As a result I was a gigging musician through high school and college. That is until adulthood snuck up on me and I had to actually start paying the bills! I still play though and now that I’m a grown up I can have a house full of guitars.
No need to ask me twice if we’re gathered around a camp fire with a guitar.
IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN AND HAVE DINNER WITH ONE FEMALE HOCKEY PLAYER, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would have to say Tessa Bonhomme. We met her at a Scotiabank Girls Hockey event when my older daughter, Abby was nine. Just the day before she had been the last player cut from the first rep team she ever tried out for. All her friends made the team. She was still devastated when she crossed paths with Tessa. Tessa took her aside and chatted with her. Whatever Tessa said inspired Abby to devote all her energies the next season to making a rep team the following year, which she did and it continues to inspire her to this day. I would just like to let Tessa know how much of a difference she made in my young girl’s life.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN IN HOCKEY OR IN LIFE?
I don’t know if this is something someone said directly to me or if it is something that I heard said in general or if it’s something I figured out on my own.
“Do it because you love it”
It’s great advice and it applies to so many things in life. When I do music or art, I create something I like. If other people like it too, great but if they don’t then no big deal. You can’t please everyone.
In sport you have to love it first. If you don’t then you’re not in it 100% and you won’t have fun.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM FOR WOMEN’S HOCKEY?
When it comes to dreams, the sky is the limit really. That’s why they are called dreams. In general it would be great for women’s hockey to really take off to the next level in the next decade. I want to see exponential growth in non-traditional regions. I want to see 8-10 really competitive teams at the World’s and the Olympics – Finland and Sweden in the finals would be a great rivalry. I would like to see women getting paid well as professional hockey players and not have to have jobs on the side. Let’s get more people to come watch the games. I want to see more women coaching at the grass roots levels of hockey. How about a woman coaching in the men’s professional leagues – that would be great. I want to see a girl on the Wheaties box not because she’s a great female hockey player but because she’s a great hockey player.
Interested in becoming a #WHLAMBASSADOR?