Striving to encourage other women and girls to follow their dreams, finding the confidence to make their own dreams come true, Kristen Lipscombe’s dedication to women’s ice hockey serves as an empowering template. Experiencing a fascinating career highlight, Lipscombe’s hockey journey took on new lustre with her exciting role at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Serving in the capacity of media operations manager for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the role signified how Lipscombe had truly arrived as one of the leading authorities in chronicling the game. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that enriched both her hockey odyssey and journalistic endeavors, Lipscombe recently reflected on the opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest stage for women’s ice hockey.
Preferring to observe the bigger picture, Lipscombe acknowledges how the path taken was just as important as the achievement itself. Paying homage to mentors past while pondering the future with tremendous optimism, her rich narrative encompasses a proud heritage for the game’s modern renaissance, exemplifying what can be accomplished.
From humble beginnings as a player in the legendary hockey city of Kingston, Ont.—the same city that produced Jayna Hefford, Genevieve Lacasse and countless NHL legends—Lipscombe was destined to leave a positive impact on the women’s game.
While competing on the blue line for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, her time as a top-level university player served as the background for Lipscombe to hone her journalistic skills.
The rink was home for her multiple pursuits, providing her with the comfort and warmth of her playing past, along with the aspiration and hope of her professional future—including her IIHF role in South Korea.
“My Olympic experience is proof positive that everyone’s journey is different and everything happens for a reason. Every single step I have taken both professionally and personally helped me to reach that PyeongChang 2018 destination,” she told Women’s Hockey Life.
“I am eternally grateful for everyone who has nurtured my unique career path of promoting the female game and supported my passion for sharing women’s hockey stories”.
Lipscombe also said she’s “incredibly honoured to have been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation team for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. I do not know yet what new dreams are waiting for me around the next corner, but I do know that the worlds of women’s hockey and media will continue to collide throughout my life.
From interviewing my WLU Golden Hawk teammates on the bus during long trips and sharing their stories in the university newspaper, to working with the world’s biggest broadcasters for women’s hockey at the Olympics, I will never stop pursuing my most important passions, and I don’t think they’ll stop chasing me, either,” she said.
Taking into account that one of PyeongChang’s hallmarks was the fact that it served as the 20th anniversary of the first women’s ice hockey tournament contested at the Olympic Winter Games, dating back to Nagano 1998, the final result brought with it a feeling of full circle. Of note, the United States bookended this dazzling run of twenty years with gold medals in 1998 and 2018, while Canada’s four fantastic golden glories were sandwiched in between.
Certainly, every year, and every subsequent tournament, allows the chance to make history, adding new possibilities and forging new legends. Lipscombe was at an event that can truly be described as a crossroads for women’s ice hockey.
The growth over the last two decades, from an increase in competition, Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) nominations, the stirring initiative of the IIHF Mentorship/Ambassador Program, plus the growth of professional leagues worldwide, encompasses an intriguing fruition which is poised for even greater development. Contributions from women the world over, including Lipscombe, only add to the feeling of momentum, part of a collective effort geared towards a shared sense of victory.
Another of PyeongChang’s hallmarks was attributed to the fact that a historic announcement was made during the event, as the field of competition shall expand to 10 teams, taking place at the next Olympic Winter Games. With the promise of Beijing 2022, countries that have been on the cusp of qualifying in tournaments past, clubs such as Czech Republic, France and Norway, among others, will have an opportunity to attain their goals of competing at the Games.
The labour of love that defined Lipscombe’s treasured time across the Pacific at PyeongChang 2018 shall supply her with memories destined to last for many years to follow. Undeniably, the chance to be on-hand for several historic “firsts” added to the simultaneous sense of both achievement and celebration.
From the first-ever gold medal game decided by a shootout, to Randi Griffin, who recently signed a professional contract with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, scoring Korea’s first goal in women’s ice hockey at the PyeongChang 2018, along with Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scoring the two fastest goals in Olympic Winter Games hockey history—male or female—such feats ran parallel to a proud personal milestone for Lipscombe.
Reaching the professional pinnacle of covering the Olympics, Lipscombe’s own personal “first,” her reflections on the experience and what she preferred most, once again subscribes to the notion of the bigger picture. It is the kind of view which mirrors the game itself, as every success, regardless of person, place or stature, contributes towards a bigger goal of attaining a promising peak filled with prominent accomplishment.
“It is impossible to pick one favourite moment from my experience at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. I guess you could say that just ‘being there’ was my favourite moment because ‘being there’ became a culmination of my women’s hockey accomplishments and experiences. These had interwoven themselves into my personal and professional worlds. From the moment I first stepped onto the ice, to the moment the Americans celebrated their first Olympic gold medal in 20 years, and in between all of that, and afterwards as well.
“Despite working long days and the weight of living up to the expectations of my IIHF position, I tried to take in the atmosphere carefully and enjoy each and every part of my Olympic adventure. I just tried to be as present as possible in ‘being there.’
“Women’s hockey media has my heart. And I always follow my heart.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Beijing 2022 Olympic Logo obtained from:
Team USA celebration: AP Photo, Jae C. Hong
Other images obtained from Facebook