From the Macdonald Hockey Association to Hockey Manitoba, Kim Paull’s journey – PortageOnline.com
A regional female hockey ambassador was recognized at the national level. Kim Paull is the recipient of Hockey Canada’s 2022 Female Breakthrough Award. She describes her first reaction when she found out.
“I was very surprised. When I became a volunteer, I never thought about self-recognition, I just do it because I like helping others. So it was very mind-blowing,” says Paull.
Paull is currently president of women’s hockey with Hockey Manitoba and got to this point in just six short years of behind-the-scenes work. She tells how her journey began.
“When my daughter came into the Novice level, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in hockey, but we as parents wanted to keep her in a team sport and we knew she loved skating. So, we thought it might be good to see if there were enough girls in the Macdonald area to start something,” Paull says. “Coincidentally, nine girls had already signed up for this age group. So the council fully supported me, as a volunteer parent, to see if we could have enough children. The nine girls turned 13 and we left. The community started rallying behind us.”
She notes that they were very lucky to have local businesses to help fund the team, as they had to pay for ice time, exhibition games and tournaments. After three weeks, the Macdonald team added three more girls to the roster. Paull says it was the first time there had been a rookie women’s team at Macdonald playing a full season.
The Macdonald Hockey Association board of directors asked Paull to join the team after that to be the female hockey representative for the region.
“I took the job. The board was extremely supportive and said we should try to do this for every age group,” Paull continues. “We managed to create a team for each age category up to the U18s.”
Paull explains why she thought it was so important to give girls the opportunity to play hockey with other girls at a young age.
“The advantage is that they know each other. Sometimes I feel like when it comes to a new experience, the journey they embarked on was new to each of them, so it is relatable,” says Paull. “They were all like, ‘I don’t know, I guess we’re going to try a girl’s team.’ So the bonds these girls made is something they could still have today.”
The province’s women’s hockey president says the springboard for the job was in Pembina Valley.
“I took over the role of Women’s Director for the Pembina Valley region. I helped develop the leagues in the region and worked with the women’s representative of each association to help them develop their own teams. From there I took a sabbatical after a few years doing it but then I was appointed to this position. Now I’m a year old and it’s been fantastic. I’m the only woman who sits on the board, but I don’t feel any less supported, they’ve been great resources, I’m very lucky to have this role, I love being able to help grow the game at provincial level.
Paull’s personal experience in athletics growing up is one of her main motivations to keep pushing women’s hockey forward.
“Coming from a small town of 500 people, and not having all the opportunities boys would have, I always asked my parents, ‘Why don’t we have a girl’s baseball team? don’t we have a girls team ‘soccer team?’ So knowing that feeling is a huge motivation for me to provide opportunity and equality for women and girls in all sports,” says Paull.
She adds that the growth of women’s sport is not just tied to on-ice opportunities, but also to the product. Whether behind the bench or behind the scenes, advancing women’s hockey can provide a plethora of girls of all ages the chance to stay involved in the sport they love, which Paull says is so important.
In her six years of involvement in the sport, there has been one major change that Paull is extremely happy to see.
“We are at a turning point where girls who have played football nationally and across North America are finally coming back to the game and giving back,” Paull continues. “I’m starting to see a lot of them go home to Winnipeg and they’re taking on leadership roles. They are even starting women’s hockey businesses. Now the pioneers are finally coming back and settling into their roots to help grow. the game from the base level.”