Some of us are born to be athletes, and we’ve been granted the opportunity to try multiple sports over our lives, hoping to find one that sticks. Some of us are born to be ringette players, and from the moment our skates hit the ice at our first practice to our last game, whenever that may be, it’s our passion. However, the players aren’t the only ones passionate about this sport. For our coaches, whether they grew up playing the sport or not, this sport is in their veins as much as it is in ours. This month, RATH coach Amelia Hradsky shared with us her experiences as both a player and a coach, offering a take on how different those roles can be while recounting some of the things that got her where she is today.
Amelia started playing ringette at the age of 6, although it was not the first sport she tried. “My Mom put me in figure skating to start,” she tells us, “but after my meltdown when I had to dress up like a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz, she knew it was not a good fit for me.” The next year, after ruling out figure skating, Amelia played in Bunnies and has loved the game ever since. Several years down the road, she switched to hockey and received a scholarship to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Her team won the NCAA Frozen Four, and while it is an experience she is very grateful for, she says, “I never fell in love with hockey the way I did with ringette.”
After her brief break from the sport, Amelia returned to ringette, representing the Calgary RATH and contributing to their success at the 2013 CRCs in Fredericton. When asked what made her want to transition from player to coach, she replied that, “ringette has been #1 for most of my life… becoming a coach is a way that I can give back to something that has given me so much.” Her favourite part of coaching in the NRL is the athletes she gets to work with. “It is such rewarding experience to be a part of a network that supports, challenges, and fosters growth.” Although only 4 months into the season, she tells us “it feels hella good so far.” That being said, Amelia swears being a coach is a lot harder than being a player. “I think my biggest challenge is not being able to get out on the ice when you just want to make a difference,” she explains, adding that “surrendering that control and being a part of that change in a different way has been a big adjustment for me.”
When not coaching RATH, Amelia is teaching spin at YYC Cycle. “If you had asked me last year if I would be a Spin Motivator, I would have giggled and written the comment off,” she shares. Despite that, she is glad to have approached the past year with an openness that, in her words, “allowed me to see new opportunities and lead me down roads that I had no idea I was so passionate about.”
At the end of the day, whether coaching or playing, Amelia loves the sport. Having played for the majority of her life, and choosing now to coach this year’s RATH athletes, she continues to contribute to the ringette community with her dedication and hard work. Much more than just another person on the bench, Amelia’s coaching continues to motivate RATH’s athletes and push them to succeed. This sport is our passion, the players’ and the coaches’ , and we agree with Amelia when she tells us, “ringette is just in my bloodstream.”