'I wish more people would give women's hockey a chance': Steph Cook
Our Game's Star of the Week hopes more people will share her passion
If Steph Cook could change one thing about hockey, she'd put a spotlight on the women's game.
Her favourite team isn't her hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, and it has nothing to do with their record.
Cook, 21, is a fan of the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Brampton Thunder, the team of former and current national team players including Gillian Apps, Jayna Hefford and Vicky Sunohara.
"I wish more people would give women's hockey a chance," says Cook, who picked up the game nine years ago. "I find when a lot of people see the women's game, they see Team Canada, the Brampton Thunder and teams of that calibre, they're really, really impressed.
"I wish more people knew about it, so that's why I like spreading the word about the women's game."
Cook is using CBC's new home of grassroots hockey, Our Game, to do just that.
She's a part of the Our Game Community, where hockey fans can connect, share pictures, post blogs, add slideshows, join groups and discuss the game.
With her member profile of Cdnhockeyeh, Cook has posted numerous pictures for other community users to see, and for her efforts, she's been named Our Game's Star of the Week.
Every week, Our Game selects an active community member as the Star of the Week, an honour that comes with a feature on Hockey Night in Canada and a chance to win tickets to the Stanley Cup finals.
Cook's involvement in hockey speaks to her passion for the game. She plays house league with the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, intramurals at the University of Toronto and is also the manager of a girls team. Cook's been to a world championship and two Four Nations Cups to watch the women's game, and is a regular in the stands at Thunder games.
"These women, they literally have to pay to play in the elite leagues, whereas the men get paid exorbitant amounts of money," she says. "These women are just unbelievable. They all have full time jobs, and they're still elite athletes playing four times a week. It's a great game to watch, a great game to be a part of."
And even though she's on two teams, Cook isn't getting enough ice time.
"I started playing pretty late and I don't get the same opportunities to play as I used to," she says. "I hope to have enough money in the future to play in multiple leagues. Playing once a week just kills me. By the time my game is over, I'm counting down the days to the next game."
To join Our Game and connect with hockey fans across the country, go to CBCSports.ca/OurGame. Click "community" to create your profile and get in the game.
Find out how you can become an Our Game Star.