MEET SARAH SPEIGHTS!
Tell us about yourself!
My experiences watching Avs games with some of my female friends actually propelled me to try the sport myself about five or six years ago. I took a couple of learn-to-play courses with a friend, and was absolutely hooked. It took me a while to work up the courage to play with a team, but I joined some coworkers in a co-ed C level game and it was a tough road from there. I was the only woman on that team, and one of only three or four in the entire division, so it seemed to me that there just weren’t that many women in the sport.
However, I ultimately found an organization called the Denver Women’s Hockey League, which offered a low-obligation, low-pressure entryway into women’s hockey, with many other brand new players. The DWHL was amazing to me, with women literally ranging in age from early 20s to late 70s. It didn’t matter what your background, when you hit the ice with all those other women, you just became another hockey player. It was extremely exhilarating, and laid the foundation for my playing “career” (I’m most definitely still and always will be a beer-leaguer).
Along with the recreational leagues offered by the DWHL, I also currently play for the DWHL-sponsored women’s only D league team in the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey (WACH) – the Spitfires. While the Spitfires are my primary team, I usually also play on a few other co-ed teams here and there throughout the year, and have played in up to four leagues at the same time. I had the opportunity last year to go play in Iceland with a team of phenomenal women—we played seven games in two days, playing for every team in the tournament, and I have literally never had more fun on the ice!
What made you want to be a WHL Brand Ambassador?
I’m currently the President of the DWHL, with a heavy focus on diversifying and expanding the sport for women in Colorado. Over the past few years, I’ve been working on enhancing awareness of the league and what we offer, showing women from all backgrounds that hockey is accessible and available. I take every opportunity to try to broaden the reach: guest speaking on local podcasts, working with NHL alum, and more. When I found WHL on Twitter, I was absolutely beside myself, because it’s an organization that shares the mission I and the rest of my DWHL board team have been working towards for so long.
You can never have too many voices in the fight for visibility, and I am so honored to be a part of an ambassador team that cares so deeply about growing hockey for women. Additionally, I think representation matters; I am a long time fan and late comer to the sport and while I’m the first to admit that I am still not the greatest, I think just seeing that it’s possible is so important for women across the world. I was so discouraged for a while as I started, and I want to show other women that there are opportunities to get started even later in life, and that it doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating.
What are you most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR?
I think what I’m most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR is the opportunity to work with so many other incredible women. I also look forward to showing women that you don’t have to start when you are young in order to enjoy the sport.
What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
This past season, I worked as an EGal (ice crew) for the Colorado Eagles AHL team along with one of my hockey teammates!
If you could sit down and have dinner with one female hockey player, who would it be and why?
I’ve (humble brag) had the great fortune of sitting down and having dinner with Meghan Duggan and Gretchen Ulion at a hockey camp last year, which was absolutely amazing! I think if I were to choose someone, now, I would probably choose Kendall Coyne Schofield – “As Fast As Her” still gives me chills and makes me cry, and I would love to hear more about her story directly from her.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in hockey or in life?
What’s your dream for women’s hockey?
My dream for women’s hockey is for women in the sport to be a given; not a commodity, controversy, or “gimmick.” I dream of it to be normal for little girls to choose hockey, to experience it alongside other girls on their teams, and to be given the opportunity to grow and learn in the sport without limitations. I dream of professional women’s leagues that are celebrated as much as the NHL, that are televised and accessible nationwide.
That particular dream also includes living wages for those female players, so that they can have the same vision and can solely focus on playing hockey. I dream of recognition for the talent that so many female players have and more options for women’s leagues of all levels throughout the country.