Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 


I was born and raised in Toronto. My life in sports began in a community known as Regent Park. I am the youngest of 3 and the first of my siblings to truly fall completely in love with sports. Raised by a single mother with no sport background she made sure time and time again my dreams were met in what I loved to do. I did it all from ball hockey, to bowling, even ballet! I found true love when I began doing baseball in the summer and ice hockey in the winter more competitively around age 8. In elementary, high school, and college I played anything and everything. Hockey, softball, volleyball, soccer, rugby, cross country, track and field, dodgeball and badminton, if there was a team I was going to try and be a part of it. To this day I still play competitive and recreational fast pitch and hockey at age 25. I brought my love of the game and my experiences into my current jobs by teaching and mentoring in different sports to a number of diverse children and youth from all over Toronto primarily focusing on young girl’s involvement in sports.


Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced. How did you overcome that barrier?


My first introduction into sports I played on male-dominated teams. I was always the only girl. From baseball to house league hockey even select my mom did not know that girls programming even existed.


I was 9 years old playing on a select team. The first step into competitive hockey for most. I was the only girl on the team. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy. In practices and in games I felt like no one would ever pass me the puck.  I was a good player so skill had nothing to do with it. I had already discovered such a passion for this sport there was no way that I could quit. I remember after one practice I went to my mom and told her I wanted to cut all my hair off. Maybe if they did not know I was a girl they would play with me. She asked me 100 times if I was sure and I said YES (also my hair would always go in my face when I played so to me this was a win-win situation). The next practice, I went, got dressed and stepped onto the ice. My team did not even realize who I was I finally got to showcase my talent. The following year contact was coming into play. I was small, really small and my mom did not want me to play boys rep hockey. Luckily we got information about girl’s hockey and I started a new journey.


I thought I would never have to worry about being the only girl on the team again. Or the stigma of females playing with males. I entered into College at age 18. They did not have a baseball team or a woman’s hockey team but they did have a men’s hockey team. I built up the courage and decided I was going to try out. The stigma started as soon as I got into the rink. The person signing people in had said to me “I think you are at the wrong rink, there is only men’s hockey tryouts happening for the rest of the night”. I replied by saying “that’s exactly why I am here, to tryout”. I made the team and even played on the second line. Scoring more goals than half my team that year. I definitely heard all the “chirps” you could ever hear being the only female competing with the men. I would laugh it off and continue competing. One player on another team even tried to fight me because I successful got around him multiple times on the ice. Luckily for me I could stand my own and my team mates and coaches were extremely supportive of me being a part of the team. A found memory I have is a coach approaching me before a game saying “my boys won’t go easy on you because you are a girl so keep your head up”. I quickly responded with “I made the decision to compete alongside the men I will be just fine, but thank you”. It was difficult sometimes, I hate the stigma around female athletes or this whole notion “boys are better than girls” let me show you what I got before you go “easy” on me.

What skills did you develop in sport that helped you overcome your barrier?


To fully understand my barrier of being a girl in sport I had to experience and grow within my sport. I had to believe in my ability, my talent and my passion for the sport. When I was younger I changed my physical appearance to help “fit in”. At the age of 18 I had mastered my sport. I learned perseverance; to never give up on what I wanted and also I had developed confidence, courage and resilience. I could have easily decided to not play hockey at the college level due to negative experiences playing alongside male athletes but instead I was not going to give up because of the stigma around females participating in men’s sport. I knew I was good enough. I knew that I had worked hard to become a solid

athlete that could compete at that level. I believed in myself. We as females are just as capable of competing at that level. Whether that is at recreational level or a competitive level and be successful at what we love to do.


If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy what would it be? Why?




It is easy to give up when so many things are in your way. Conquer the barriers you are faced within sport. But also remember that every day you wake up is another day to dream big and conquer the day. Believe in yourself, push yourself to new limits, and CONQUER.


In my personal and sport life this word helps remind me that all goals and dreams are obtainable just believe in yourself.


If you wanted to motivate a young female athlete to #BuildHerUp, what quote would you use? Why?


“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will… YOU” – anonymous


In sport and in life so many people are quick to remind us why we “can’t” do something. I am true believer that you CAN do anything you put your mind to. YOU are capable of so much. You have the ability to achieve and discover your own success. No one paints the picture of life for you, you go out and find all the materials and paint it the way you want it to be.


Instagram: @brittmathison