When her daughter scoffed at her hockey advice, Audrey Daniels of Canim Lake decided to put her money where her mouth is and hit the ice herself.
Now Daniels, who describes herself as a “mother of three and wife of one,” plays alongside two of her girls – Lucille Paul, 23, and her teenage daughter Jade Paul, who is still in high school and playing minor league hockey. Her baby, Chanel Daniels, is only three and has not yet laced up her skates but Daniels anticipates she will.
Playing is a significant shift for Daniels, who as a child was relegated to the sidelines, watching her brothers.
“My family always said that hockey, baseball, etcetera is a boys sport. Girls don’t play it, so they never allowed me to play,” Daniels said. “Then, as I had my kids, they wanted to play sports so we put them in everything that they wanted to do.”
The women have started their own hockey team called the Native Daughters, with some of their cousins, nieces and friends and have played together in a few tournaments over the years. That being said, for them, it’s mostly about the chance to play together and have fun.
Hockey – and sports of all kinds – are a great way to learn about each other as a family, Daniels said, and to communicate beyond just as parent and child. As teammates, they have to learn how to take and give advice as fellow players rather than parent and child, even if Daniels does find herself taking on a ‘team mom’ role when playing.
Daniels and Lucille also play for the South Cariboo Female Hockey League, which will be starting its season in mid-October. Both are excited to get back on the ice and have some fun. “We’re a good group of ladies who like to have fun on the ice, we don’t bite,” Lucille said.
When asked how long they intend to play hockey together, Lucille, who has been playing sports her whole life, noted that as her baby sister Chanel is still little they have “many years of hockey to go.” Daniels said she’s hopeful she’ll be able to get a few years of playing with Chanel before she hangs up her skates, or even playing with her grandkids one day, which elicited groans of protest from Jade and Lucille.
“I had never gotten to play and now I get to play everything that I want because I have my motivation, it’s getting to play with my girls,” said Daniels, a registered care aide for Interior Health. “Any opportunity my girls want, anything they want to play we do our darndest best to make sure they play everything and it turns out they’re very good and talented.”
Lucille said she’s proud of her mom, who went out and bought her own hockey gear to play women’s hockey.
“Growing up I never seen her get dressed or put on some skates or anything, so when she said she was joining hockey I was actually pretty excited,” Lucille said. “Being able to watch her grow and learn and advance in her hockey – she’s really good, super fast. She’s come a long way.”
Lucille said over the years she has helped Daniels but said that her mother has “kind of got it” now. Daniels said that watching hockey for so many years made it easier to learn how to play.
Being on the ice together with Lucille has deepened their bond, Daniels said. Not being able to do the same with Jade while watching her play from the stands is always a real nail biter, she observed.
Jade, who plays with the boys in minor league hockey, said she likes the fact her mom is so involved in sports. Her mom describes Jade as small but mighty, playing a strong, aggressive, loud and fearless game.
“It’s harder and tougher (playing with the boys),” Jade said.
Lucille added she personally likes the aggressive nature of hockey a lot, even if she did have to tone it down some when she switched from minor hockey to the women’s league.