When Danica Fontaine took in a Saskatoon Blades hockey game with her family a couple years ago, the exciting action on the ice wasn’t the only thing that caught her eye. She noticed an ad on the jumbotron for ball hockey and encouraged her parents to enroll her in the sport.
Although she enjoyed playing ball hockey, Danica soon felt a need to try her hand at ice hockey. Due to the high fees of ice hockey, however, Danica’s family wasn’t sure if it was a sport she could play. But after her family connected with the Dream Broker program, Danica – now eight years old – has just finished her second year of novice hockey and is still loving the game.
“The Dream Broker program really came through for my family,” said Nola, Danica’s mother. “I’m a student in my third year of Indigenous social work at the First Nations University of Canada and my husband works full-time for the City of Saskatoon. If not for Dream Brokers, I don’t know how I would put my children through the sport that they love. This program has taken a weight off my chest.”
The Fontaines were matched with Dream Broker, Audrey Armstrong , who helped the family complete forms and she explained what to expect from hockey life.
“She has been so supportive right from the beginning,” Danica said. “She always makes sure we are ahead on getting things in so we do not miss deadlines. She is a great Dream Broker to have in the school. We, as a family, are forever thankful and grateful for the Dream Broker program and Audrey, and all the work that she has done in the past and in the future for my family and other families.”
Nola was admittedly unsure of how Danica would take to ice hockey since she didn’t know how to skate. She said her daughter was hesitant to leave the boards when she first started, but she said the coaches provided great support. Danica ended her first season with 11 goals and increased that total to 60 in year two. She still plays ball hockey in the off-season.
“My girl loves hockey,” Nola said. “She plays it every day (mini-sticks), watches videos on hockey and draws out her own ‘plays’ on paper. Her brother Louis also helps her out and gives pointers when she plays; he is her biggest fan.”
Danica said she enjoys playing hockey because it has made her a better skater. She has fun scoring goals and having hockey shootouts. There’s also a feeling of camaraderie she gets from playing hockey.