From helmets and sticks to strollers and bottles; an Attack player’s journey through motherhood and her return to the NRL

Gabrielle Gaudet (formerly Cormier) was just winding down her second season of successfully competing in the National Ringette League with the Atlantic Attack and beginning her new career as a nurse, when she discovered she would be embarking on the exciting adventure of motherhood. While her teammates were partaking in off-season training in preparation for season three, the speedy forward who held a captaincy role with the Attack, was preparing for a new life path that meant her career in the National Ringette League may have officially come to a close.

In the same month as her 25th birthday, Gabrielle gave birth to an active, healthy and happy baby girl named Mila on February 8th of 2014. Fast forward through eight months of motherhood and a marriage to her partner, Eric, Gabrielle arrived at training camp to the admiration of many in mid-season form. She had been exercising as much as possible throughout her pregnancy and quickly resumed her training regime once her daughter was born. When it became time to decide if she was going to attempt an ultimate comeback, her supportive husband and parents, Patty and Jean, decided Gabrielle’s life as an elite ringette player was going to be a family commitment and they developed a plan to make it work. As a family unit, each of them take turns assisting with Mila, and when Eric is not at work he and Mila can be found travelling to the local arena for practices and games.

Although Gabrielle’s game day ritual now includes breastfeeding 5-7 times, not much else has changed with the fiery forward. Through her first five games of the 2014-2015 season, she has not lost any of her finesse by contributing four points and the player they simply refer to as Gab, quickly resumed her leadership role with the team. Gabrielle said her Attack teammates and coaches were with her every step of the way throughout her pregnancy, and continued to help support her with the new task of balancing all of her commitments. The team understands that Gabrielle may not be able to make an evening ice time because of Mila’s feeding needs, as well as, her challenges at times to secure a babysitter.

Mila may be one of the youngest fans in the NRL as she recently made her first road trip to Montreal for a set of three games in November. Although Mila does not recognize her mother when Gabrielle has her face shield on, Mila is her mother’s biggest cheerleader as she stares and smiles happily when the helmet is removed and she realizes who it is behind all of that equipment. One thing for certain, Gab has realized that motherhood has shaped her into a better all-around ringette player. She admittedly plays with more heart, more drive and intensity because she simply feels lucky to be able to have the opportunity to play the game she loves. Every minute she spends with her teammates is a moment to be grateful and she realized how much her supports have helped her live out her dreams. For Mila, the Attack can only hope the maturity, leadership and values she learns as a young child being with her mother at the arena and her 22 ringette ‘aunts’ will brush off and will pave way for Mila to be next NRL player to be admired for her hard work, resiliency, and pure love for the game!