Meet Heather Mannas!
Tell us about yourself!
Hi everyone! My name is Heather and I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and moved to Vancouver, BC four years ago. I am a wife, mother to two girls (ages 2 and 3.5 years) and our dog (age 4). I’m a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) with a small business I started earlier this year on the side (so I guess that makes me a work-at-home-mom).
I started playing ice hockey when I was 15 years old and back then, there weren’t many female hockey players or teams. There were very few beginners and most of the girls who were on my team were either figure skaters, played ringette or played boys hockey. As I got older, I played both women’s and co-ed ice and ball hockey, when not at school or working.
When I moved from Calgary to Vancouver, I had a few life changes. I had a tough time finding a women’s ice hockey league (similar to what I played in back in Calgary), I also had two kids and my husband usually works 80-100 hours a week. For the first few years in Vancouver, I subbed for a couple teams, but since we had no family support to help watch the kids, I had to take a break from playing hockey. I decided to demonstrate my passion for hockey in a different way. As a mother who played hockey and loves the sport, I couldn’t find a single hockey teether for my teething child. I started the company Sloane & Blake (named after my daughters) purely to create a hockey teether for babies. After two designs, the Hockey Net and ALLSTAR Hockey Jersey teether, I started playing again in September 2019. I found an incredible women’s team and I look forward to playing with them this season.
What made you want to be a WHL Brand Ambassador?
I want to be a WHL Ambassador because I want to encourage and motivate others to love hockey as much as I do — especially females. I am blown away at how far female hockey has grown since I started playing almost 20 years ago and I want to be a part of that movement. I started playing a lot later than most players I know and I truly believe it is never too late to start. It’s been really incredible to see female hockey players start much later than I did and fit right in on the ice. The female hockey community has developed so much that you can start playing at any age, or in my case, stop playing and get back on the ice a few years later. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played or took time off, there is always an opportunity to get on the ice.
What are you most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR?
What I look most forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR is sharing the love for hockey with players of all ages and those who are interested in playing. I am not the most skilled player on the ice but I have a true passion for the game. In a predominately male sport, I want to break barriers and show that women are interested in playing hockey too. I love encouraging others to participate in the sport, especially if they don’t have experience. It’s so exciting to learn a skill and realize you can do it when you’re on the ice.
What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
Something a lot of people don’t know is I have two Bachelor of Science degrees. Most of the time, when I tell people I am a SAHM, they don’t ever ask questions past that point, such as what my hobbies are or what I did before kids. I also used to ride a motorcycle and I loved it (but it wasn’t exactly hockey equipment friendly).
If you could sit down and have dinner with one female hockey player, who would it be and why?
If I could sit down and have dinner with one hockey player, it would be Hayley Wickenheiser. She is an incredibly influential woman in hockey and she made such a huge impact on hockey as a female player. She is a great role model for female players and really changed the game for all of us playing. Hayley, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in hockey or in life?
The slogan “Just Do It” by Nike is something I live by along with Wayne Gretzky’s quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I believe trying your best (thank you mom and dad) and having fun while doing it all is really important to achieving what you want.
What’s your dream for women’s hockey?
My dream for women’s hockey is to expand female hockey in all communities. When I first started playing, there were very few teams to play against and there was a wide range in skill level on the ice. It’s much better today, but there are communities with low female hockey participation. Players and families are still driving hours to play a game if they live in a smaller city or town. It would be great if there were more co-ed or female hockey teams so players wouldn’t need to spend more time driving to a game than playing. I would also love to see more support towards women’s hockey the way they support men’s hockey.
Want to join our #WHLAmbassador team?
Get more details and apply here!