Having made her debut with the Canadian national women’s ice sledge hockey team in a three-game exhibition series against the US, Sarah Mickey is a portrait of courage. Raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Mickey originally had a promising career in figure skating.
Currently in her senior year at Eagle Butte High School, Mickey has done more than just make the courageous adjustment to life in a wheelchair, she has refused to let her life and personality be imprisoned by it. Stricken with Lyme Disease in 2014, an inflammatory disease in which ticks transmit bacteria, it resulted in an abrupt end to her figure skating ambitions.
Despite such desolation, ice sledge hockey served as the road to jubilation. Mickey’s earliest association with the sport would take place at an April 2015 tournament in Medicine Hat, where she caught the eye of national team head coach Tara Chisholm.
Earning an invitiation to Canada’s national women’s ice sledge hockey training camp in Stittsville, Ontario (west of Ottawa), it would prove to mark the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in her athletic career. In the aftermath of said camp, Mickey was the recipient of some very exciting and encouraging news, as she was one of six new faces named to the national team,
“When I initially found out I made Team Canada I was in shock and started crying because I didn’t think it could be true. I never expected to make the team, seeing as how I only started playing October of last year. Going into the tryouts my only thought was that I would be getting more experience and I would have the opportunity to meet other girls in sledge hockey.”
Mickey is part of a remarkable generation of young female ice sledge hockey talent coming from the province of Alberta. Joining Mickey on the 2015-16 edition of the Canadian national team are Edmonton residents Geneva Coulter and Alannah Mah.
Both providing a positive influence for Mickey, instilling confidence and self-assurance, the end result may be a foundation of young female stars that can help continue build the sport in Alberta. As a side note, Coulter and Mah are also the only female members of the Alberta provincial ice sledge hockey team.
“I met Geneva and Alanna in the summertime at a sledge hockey camp, they were a couple of the main people that convinced me to even tryout for the team in the first place.
Since making the team I have become good friends with both of them. Geneva offers me lots of insight on how to play my defensive position better. Those two as well as the entire team offers me words of encouragement.
Adding to such a momentous year in Mickey’s athletic career was the fact that she was able to establish herself as a multi-sport star. With the Alberta Schools Athletics Association allowing for a para and adaptive division, Mickey captured the gold medal in the inaugural 200-meter wheelchair race.
Through Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation, Mickey has not only found new friends, but a newfound dedication, one that is poised to make her a role model in the local sporting community. Taking into account that she still volunteers her time in the community and balances academics, while struggling with 11 hospitalizations, Mickey is a shining example of what one can achieve when they refuse to give up.
Opening her life to ice sledge hockey, the greater victory is a second chance to enjoy sport, and more importantly, enjoy life.
“The most satisfying moment for me playing sledge hockey was just giving me a chance to be active and back on the ice again. I was a competitive figure skater for seven years before I got sick, so being on the ice was always something that I loved.
Sledge hockey has become my new passion and I love how the sport makes me feel, its given me some of the confidence in myself that I lack.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Connor Mah
For more information on Sarah Mickey and her fight against Lyme Disease, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/t88z86s