A lot of people have been asking me why I chose to sign with New York this season. More specifically, "why play another season in the NWHL?". "Why not get a "real" job?" Well, I want to take a moment to share something special that happened this week. It may help put things in perspective why myself and 67 other women are proud to be rostered for the 2016-17 NWHL season.
While on the Beauts last season I received a letter from a 16 year old named Christie. This week I was able to meet her in person as we both are living in Vancouver this summer. Her parents and I decided to meet up at the UBC Thunderbird Arena and I ended up giving her a tour of the UBC women's hockey dressing room and hanging out chatting for a bit!
Christie and Rafter sitting on the side of the boards at the UBC’s hockey arena in Vancouver, BC. Rafter holding the letter Christie wrote her last Christmas. Photo taken August 10th, 2016.
Moments like today where you get to meet someone you have impacted directly really stick with you. It is really touching to be able to influence young women and be a source of inspiration for upcoming athletes. I should mention that Christie admitted she will remain a Beauts fan for the upcoming season but will still be rooting for me. Maybe I shouldn't have set her up with some Beauts swag?! I’ll need to rethink my plans next time I try to convert Beauts fans into Riveters fans.. haha!!
This experience made me think about how the NWHL is a new league and look at what it's accomplished in one short year. I think the most incredible aspect that has resulted from a paid professional women's hockey league is that a platform for promoting female role models has been created. The experience I had recieving the letter below and meeting Christie afterwards has really been eye opening to how influencial you are on young kids that look up to you. Sports can provide athletes with an opportunity to inspire others and I feel very blessed to have impacted Christie's life in a positive way.
On a side note, the reality for players my age is that since it's the second season of paid professional female hockey it's likely that we won't make a living by playing the sport we love, but it's exciting to just think about the possibility that future generations of female hockey players might!
Read below.. :)
Page one of Beauts' Fan letter to Rafter December 5th, 2015.
Page two of Beauts' Fan letter to Rafter December 5th, 2015.
I hope that you find my connection with Christie as wonderful and special as I do!
I wanted to keep this as short and sweet as possible so I will leave off here. For my next blog I will be putting together an announcement! I’ll give you a hint.. I will talk a bit about the charity work I am planning to be involved with this year. I'm having a bit of trouble keeping it to myself because I am super stoked, but i’ll hold off until my next entry!
Until next time,