“I’m really just like everyone else—a mom of two kids, a friend, a wife,” says Meaghan Mikkelson who is also a phenomenal hockey player and Olympic athlete.
Meaghan tried on her first pair of skates and hit the ice at 4 years old. Being raised in a hockey family, it made sense. Her father played in the National Hockey League and in Europe. And when her brother Brendon started playing hockey, she took up hockey too. Growing up, Meaghan didn’t see many girls playing hockey. But that hasn’t stopped her from making a team, winning Olympic medals, and becoming a role model for women on the ice.
Girls Who Skate
It was 1998, and the first Canadian Olympics team was playing at the Winter Games in Japan. Legends like Cassie Campbell and Geraldine Heaney were flying down the ice, fighting for a win. Inspired, a dream sparked in Meaghan to play hockey for Canada.
“Watching them play hockey, and having the opportunity to play alongside some of those women, I got to see how they trained and learn from their professionalism. It helps me remember that you can impact people and inspire them without even knowing it,” says Meaghan.
Representation in your sport, or in any aspect of your life, is important. It gives you someone to relate to and aspire to be like.
“Now, a 4-year-old girl can be on an all-girls hockey team. Twenty or thirty years ago, that just wasn’t the case. There’s so much more visibility for girls in the sport today, and it’s truly exciting.”
The Dream Gap Year Tour
Sure, you’ve heard of students taking a gap year before college, but what about a gap year from hockey? Meaghan is teaming up with several professional female hockey players to fight for pay equality by swapping a non-season team stop for a gap year dedicated to bettering women’s hockey. This organization is bringing players together with the common goal to get a legitimate professional women’s hockey league started.
“What’s there isn’t good enough now or for future generations. Our goal is to make a living, working wage through playing hockey because, right now, it’s not a reality,” she says.
The Dream Gap Tour will travel throughout Canada and the United States this fall, playing games to bring awareness and visibility to the talent and dedication of women in the sport. The first game is in September in Toronto, then the tour plays in New Hampshire, Chicago, and other cities throughout the year.
“An open dialogue about issues like this is what keeps us playing. It’s about taking action as a powerful group of women. We’re excited about the changes this could spark.”
To follow these talented women while they do what they love, check out the Dream Gap Tour’s site for more information and game schedules.
Self-Care Wins, Every Time
Although Meaghan juggles her training, workouts, hockey games, speaking opportunities, motherhood, and her family like a pro, she says there’s really no such thing as balance.
“You do what works for you. Whatever allows me to be the best athlete, mom, wife, friend, that’s how I make my busy life work. I make sure I take care of myself, otherwise I can’t take care of others,” she says.
Meaghan is a huge self-care advocate. Through clean nutrition, daily supplementation, and plenty of organization, she’s able to be her very best for herself, her family, and her team.
Finding her Zen is one way Meaghan keeps her mental health in check. After cracking a tooth from clenching her teeth, the side effect of stress, she began meditating with an app. It’s been a daily part of her life for the past two years. Each day, her practice looks different, as it’s personalized for what she needs and wants in the moment.
“Meditation is a huge part of how I keep myself grounded—especially as a mother. It gives me a break, slows me down, brings me back to earth, and gives me a rest. After a session, I’m more at ease and even-keel through the rest of my day. Practicing meditation keeps my emotions in check,” she says.
In hockey, like most sports, it’s easy to get wrapped up in self-doubt, comparison, and feelings of defeat. Thankfully, Meaghan has had the opportunity to work with sport psychologists since 2010.
“I’ve always had someone to talk to about the struggles I’ve faced as an athlete and a mother. It’s important to be okay talking about it,” she says.
This mindset has helped her deal with even the most challenging times.
Overcoming Postpartum Depression
After the birth of her son, Meaghan dealt with postpartum depression—one of the most difficult challenges she has had to overcome. As is common with depression, Meaghan didn’t notice what was happening while in the depths of it until others came to her about her well-being.
“It’s not something to be ashamed of—so many people are experiencing some kind of struggle. I’d encourage you to go see someone if it’s what you need, and focus on doing whatever you need to do. Everyone has a different way to get better,” she says.
“We all want to project perfectionism, but, reality check, no one’s perfect. It’s okay to just be you. It takes a long time to feel okay with that. It’s part of the journey.”
Workout Video Stars
After a successful blog during her first pregnancy, Meaghan started creating workout videos and sharing them on social media. She shares workouts, occasionally hockey-specifics ones, everyone can do. Sometimes, her two kids make guest appearances.
“I’m really passionate about exercise. Wherever you go as an athlete, everyone asks you about your workouts. So, I’ve started sharing a few exercises I’m doing through my training program now,” she says.
Meaghan is a humble, talented, and determined woman who is impacting women’s hockey now and for the next generation of players. She accepts her role with grace and tenacity, showing why she’s achieved such success as an athlete. She knows life is about caring for your body, doing what you love, and being surrounded by those who love you back. Most importantly, Meaghan understands everyone can inspire others to make an impact.
6 Facts About Meaghan
How she was introduced to USANA: Almost 10 years ago, right after the Vancouver Olympics, I met an Associate at an event. She introduced me to Rev3 Energy® and the athlete HealthPak™. I was hooked immediately.
Why she trusts USANA: As an athlete, I always have to be careful about what I put into my body, and I trust USANA products because they’re NSF certified. Anything I’ve dealt with health or injury wise, USANA has something to help me be my best through it.
Her favorite USANA product: I’m obsessed with Celavive® skincare. French Vanilla Nutrimeal™ is great for on-the-go, and when I was pregnant—the shakes were the only thing I could stomach. I also still take the Prenatal CellSentials® since I’m breast feeding and my athlete body needs the extra iron.*
Her pre-game playlist: I don’t really keep up on current music, so I rely on the other girls like Natalie Spooner. Whatever’s on in the dressing room when we’re getting ready for a game, I’m cool with it.
Where you can follow her: @Mikkelson12 on Twitter and Instagram
Her guilty pleasure: Eating chocolate and watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.