Play On! is passionate about promoting females in sport. In celebration of International Women's Day today, we’re recognizing some past outstanding female athletes through their experiences with our events and beyond.
Who are you?
I’m Jamie Lee Rattray from Kanata, Ontario and play for the Brampton Thunder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL). At the 2015 and 2016 World Championships, I represented Canada at the highest level, winning silver with the Canadian Women’s National Team; I also won gold at the U18 World Championship. I’ve gone on to represent my country four times at the U22 National Development level, winning gold at the Meco Cup in 2013 and 2016. I was also honoured with the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, as well as, the first-team All-American and ECAC Hockey Player of the Year.
What has been your experience playing sports?
I’ve played many sports but my passion is, and always will be, hockey. I was recognized as the top player in Clarkson University’s 11-year history where I led the school to its first-ever NCAA Tournament Championship title. Throughout my university career I averaged over a point-per-game as Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer with 181 career points on 77 goals and 104 assists through 147 games. I was lucky enough to grow up during a time when girl’s hockey was really coming into its own. We had a ton of female teams, the coaches were getting stronger, and the overall development was coming together.
Have you faced barriers playing male-dominated sports?
For female athletes it will never be easy: we are continually trying to compare ourselves to the male side of sport. Playing in the CWHL, we do this every single day as we are trying to grow the sport of women’s hockey and continually compared to the NHL. The success of women’s sports is not going to be an overnight sensation: we must work at it every day to show the world that women can play and be successful as well. I think patience is going to be key.
What does "growing the game" mean to you?
For me, it’s getting to a point where fans are flooding arenas and fields. It does take time so every chance we get, we need to spread the word on how great women sport is. Females work just as hard as males to perfect our craft — all we want is to show it to the world!
Why is hockey important to you?
Hockey has given me so much: happiness, sadness, friends, a profession. Most of all, it’s given me the life skills I’ll need to take on the world. As athletes, we must be disciplined, good teammates, and motivated to be successful. Without hockey, I wouldn’t have all these great things today.
Tell us about your experience with Play On!
I've participated many times including the Play! On Elite Female Champs on several occasions. My favourite tourney was one year in Ottawa when it completely down poured. I’ll never forget being drenched every single game because the rain just wouldn’t let up. You not only had to beat the other team but had to battle the elements as well. At the time, it was completely wild and now when I look back, I can’t help but smile.
Would you recommend Play On! to females?
100%. It’s a fun event that brings healthy competition along with an amazing atmosphere! I love seeing the women’s division grow and encourage females at all different skill levels to give it a shot. It truly is the best weekend ever.
Interviewed by Play On!'s Melissa Sbrega who has played almost every sport both competitively and recreationally, and is a strong advocate for female athletics; she also loves getting to know the teams that participate in our events. This summer, find her by the scoreboard, reffing tournaments, or catching matches.