In what has proven to be the most exciting year in the accomplished career of Kacey Bellamy, the sense of achievement and celebration becomes richer by the realization of a personal goal. As the month of October 2018 signified her return to professional hockey, joining fellow Team USA heroes Brianna Decker and Alex Rigsby with the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno, it also resulted in the release of her first book.
Filled with poems that cover a wide range of sentiments, “Unbroken Heart of Gold” is the crowning touch to a phenomenal year for one of the most accomplished blueliners of her generation, which began with the attainment of an elusive gold medal for Team USA in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games. Undoubtedly, the opportunity to reach such a summit, one that eluded Bellamy in prior appearances at 2010 and 2014, comprises a significant element behind the realization of this book.
Refusing to drown in despair following the heartbreak of the sullen silver at the previous Winter Games, Bellamy’s character, indomitable spirit and wisdom stood as strong pillars towards the eventual path to gold in 2018. From 2015-18, the results spoke for themselves.
Bellamy was part of one of the most dominant teams in hockey history, as Team USA captured three IIHF Women’s World Championship titles, plus gold at the 2018 Winter Games, Bellamy would also add a Clarkson Cup title in 2015 and the Isobel Cup in 2016.
In hockey’s grand narrative, such a run of dominance for the US team (which also included a courageous stand for pay equity in 2017) can easily be placed on a magical par with the Preston Rivulettes who dominated the 1930s, the Montreal Canadiens from 1956-60, the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, and any other comparable dynasty that captured the hearts and minds of hockey fans.
While Bellamy’s life and career are absolutely synonymous with success, one word that can best describe her journey is perseverance. Not only did such values embody her approach to the game, it also served as the substance behind the book’s title,
“I knew I wanted to write a poetry book in the future when I was writing throughout the last two years. At that time, I only had about 50 poems and I wanted to be able to have at least 70 in order to publish a book.
The inspiration for the cover and title came from me and I hired a designer to help. Unbroken Heart of Gold seemed perfect after finally winning the gold medal.
I wanted to incorporate the medal into a heart that looked broken but healed at the same time. Other titles I had was broken or whole heart of gold. My cover designer did a fabulous job and I cannot thank her enough with the result.”
Although it may come as a unique revelation to the casual hockey fan to discover Bellamy’s passion for the prose of poetry, her creative interests were a topic of discussion in past. Back in 2014, the magazine of the University of New Hampshire (where Bellamy gained All-America status as a member of the Wildcats) discussed her love of poetry, of which the celebrated blueliner already composed at least 30 poems.
Worth noting, many of those poems find their way onto the printed pages of “Unbroken Heart of Gold”, a melange of new and previous material, chronicling many of Bellamy’s experiences. The reader is transported through the book’s 80 pages, witnessing an athletic, spiritual and emotional growth, which serves as a natural extension of her personality, employing a buoyant outlook on life and a maturity that has made her a role model for teammates and fans alike,
“Many of those are in the book and most stem from nature and experience through relationships and competition.”
Finding a creative outlet through poetry, it has provided solace for Bellamy, although the love of writing extends beyond the boundaries of poetry. Having also composed an outstanding piece for The Players Tribune titled, “Letter to My Younger Self”, such a compelling narrative stands as truly required reading for any young hockey player.
Combining elements of sincerity and vulnerability, Bellamy’s courage in penning about the happenings and emotions that comprised elite competition during her teenage years, marking a transition into an esteemed leader and remarkable young adult. Along with the acquisition of a remarkable wisdom beyond her years, which allowed her to cross the portal into a much larger world, such a narrative could easily mirror the experiences of so many other players that navigated the pressures of adolescence and the growing expectations of elite athletic play.
Although that piece was first published in 2016, its scope and context possess a relevance that deserve to be a treasured classic for successive generations. Akin to “Unbroken Heart of Gold”, said piece consists of a profound human element, revealed by an empathic compassion and a mature yet honest understanding. Definitely, it remains a strong source of inspiration for Bellamy, understandably possessing an important meaning,
“Absolutely. That was such a meaningful piece for me because I was able to be vulnerable with not just myself but every girl in high school trying to make it through. Having a dream is so important in this life and if I can give the next generation that hope that their dreams can come true than I have done my job as a role model.”
It is with the same warmth and genuineness that Bellamy has crafted “Unbroken Heart of Gold”, collecting the poems that encompass more than a captivating account of what makes Bellamy such an admired individual, perhaps the greatest value is her ability to find inspiration in the simplicities, channelling the spirit of Henry David Thoreau. Remaining admirably grounded, Bellamy’s body of work has truly exemplified one of Thoreau’s most well-known quotes, ‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination’.
“My inspiration comes from my experiences and they could be as deep as a heartbreak or as simple as waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee.
The best part about writing is how my mind just thinks of words and how it comes together when I can just be laying there before bed and something sparks. I enjoy comparing my situations to nature or something relatable to anyone who has gone through similar experiences in life.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Team USA photo by Mike Ehrmann Getty Images North America
Inferno image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/pg/InfernoCWHL/photos/?ref=page_internal
Copies of Unbroken Heart of Gold are available online: