After nine years of playing AA hockey, second-year Dalhousie University student Madison Murray decided it was time to hit the ice as a coach.
Growing up in Cole Harbour, Sidney Crosby was a huge role model for Murray after bringing home the Stanley Cup in 2009. It was then that Murray looked to her mom and asked to play hockey.
Murray quickly fell in love with the sport. But she couldn’t help but notice that she never had a woman as a coach. The only women involved were player’s mothers who would come into the locker rooms and organize things.
Last year, when she heard about a novice team – for girls ages six to eight – she decided to “get her feet wet” in the coaching world.
“I needed to go show them, and be a good role model for them and prove to them that girls can do anything,” said Murray. “It’s not a boys sport. Girls can do whatever they put their minds to.”
Murray said when she started at age 10, there were only 13 girls on her team. She says that in Cole Harbour this year, the 10-year-old age group has about 30 kids interested in playing hockey.
In the years she played hockey, the number of girls on her teams dwindled year after year. She hopes that if the young girls see that they can do anything – like becoming a coach like she did – that they’ll stick with it longer.
“They’re powerful. They’re wonderful young girls, and I just want to keep them playing hockey for as many years as I can,” she said.
Murray hasn’t stopped playing hockey either. When she came to Dal last year, she ended up playing intramural hockey, where she said she made some of her best friends. She’s continuing to play this year as well.
Murray is majoring in French and minoring in business at Dal. But she hopes to get her Bachelor of Education at Université Sainte-Anne after graduating from Dal.
Murray decided to become a teacher after she realized how much she enjoyed working with the young girls she was coaching.
“I got into coaching, and it just kind of translated. And then I love being with people so then I’m probably going to get into teaching,” she said.
When she becomes a teacher, she wants to run sports programs for all students, but especially for girls.
“I feel like they are always underestimated or forgotten about and I want to make sure that they know that they can do anything.”
Being a role model to these young girls has brought joy to Murray’s life.
“It’s just so much fun to help out, like seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces every day when they show up to practice, even if it is 6 a.m., they are all super excited. That’s just a feeling that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Murray will continue to coach for as long as she can and wants to let any woman wishing to play a “boy’s sport” to “just do it.”
“If anyone says you can’t do it just go out and prove to them that you can.”