One Last Goal: Team Canada’s Geraldine Heaney was a little girl with a big hockey dream

News Jul 02, 2015 by Debra Downey Ancaster News

The Ancaster woman known as the Bobby Orr of women’s hockey is the topic of a new authorized biography, One Last Goal: The Geraldine Heaney Story.

Written by Tom Bartsiokas, an editor and part-time professor at Toronto’s Seneca College, One Last Goal tells the story of a little girl with a very big dream who followed her passion from the driveway of her parents’ home to international hockey rinks, and inspired a generation of girls along the way.

Heaney, who has called Ancaster home for the past 10 years, said when Bartsiokas approached her about writing the book, she agreed fairly quickly.

“I think it’s important for young girls to hear my story and how the game got to where it is today. When I first started, there weren’t a lot of girls playing,” said Heaney. “And it’s (the book) great for me to have and for my kids to have and my parents, because my story  is their story.”

Born in Northern Ireland in 1967, Heaney emigrated to Canada as a child with her folks, Mike and Kathleen Heaney. She said at the time of their immigration, her family knew nothing about Canada’s national pastime.

“My parents didn’t know what hockey was,” said Heaney. “We were told that in Canada everybody watches Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, but my mother had never seen a hockey game nor did she understand the rules.”

A middle child and self-professed tomboy, Heaney excelled at most sports and thought nothing of jumping into the action no matter what her two sports-loving brothers were doing.

The difference, however, was that while the boys were welcome to play hockey as part of a team, Heaney was not.

“I played on outdoor rinks and in the driveway, then, when I was 10, we saw something advertised in the paper about a girls team that was looking for players. It was probably filler, somewhere in the back.”

Heaney joined the team and never really looked back. At age 13, she began playing with the highly acclaimed Toronto Aeros women’s club. She went on to suit up with the Aeros for 18 seasons and played 1,000 games. During her tenure, the Aeros won sixteen Ontario championships and Heaney was named the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Most Valuable Defenceman three times.

In 1990 she put her sport on the international hockey map when she scored a spectacular game-winning goal at the inaugural Women’s World Hockey Championships. With time ticking down, Heaney deked a couple of Team U.S.A. defenders and put the puck into the net a split second before tripping over the goalie.

Heaney and her teammates went on to claim seven consecutive world championships, a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics and a gold medal in 2002. After Team Canada finished second in Nagano, Heaney put her life on hold to reach her one last goal — that elusive Olympic gold medal.

She was nearing the end of her career and overcame numerous personal and career challenges to attain her dream.

“I stuck it out for four more years, and when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a relief. Yes, it was all worth it,” she said. “If you have a dream, never quit.”

These days, hockey is still very much a part of the Hall of Famer’s life. She is a head coach with Pro Hockey Life Academy, which operates out of the Mohawk 4 Ice Centre on Hamilton Mountain, and leads programs that focus on such topics as player development and female conditioning.

Heaney’s son, Patrick, 6, is learning the game through skills sessions and her daughter, Shannon, 10, plays for the Ancaster Avalanche Atom A team that won Ontario Minor Hockey Association gold this spring.

Heaney said it’s important for her to share her experiences in women’s hockey, both on and off the ice.

“I think, especially for young girls, it’s important that they have a female to look up to who is sharing the game and sharing their experience,” said Heaney. “If you want to do it, try...and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it.”

One Last Goal: the Geraldine Heaney Story is available online on iTunes, Amazon and other electronic sites, select bookstores and directly from the publisher, Burnstown Publishing House.

One Last Goal: Team Canada’s Geraldine Heaney was a little girl with a big hockey dream

News Jul 02, 2015 by Debra Downey Ancaster News

The Ancaster woman known as the Bobby Orr of women’s hockey is the topic of a new authorized biography, One Last Goal: The Geraldine Heaney Story.

Written by Tom Bartsiokas, an editor and part-time professor at Toronto’s Seneca College, One Last Goal tells the story of a little girl with a very big dream who followed her passion from the driveway of her parents’ home to international hockey rinks, and inspired a generation of girls along the way.

Heaney, who has called Ancaster home for the past 10 years, said when Bartsiokas approached her about writing the book, she agreed fairly quickly.

“I think it’s important for young girls to hear my story and how the game got to where it is today. When I first started, there weren’t a lot of girls playing,” said Heaney. “And it’s (the book) great for me to have and for my kids to have and my parents, because my story  is their story.”

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Born in Northern Ireland in 1967, Heaney emigrated to Canada as a child with her folks, Mike and Kathleen Heaney. She said at the time of their immigration, her family knew nothing about Canada’s national pastime.

“My parents didn’t know what hockey was,” said Heaney. “We were told that in Canada everybody watches Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, but my mother had never seen a hockey game nor did she understand the rules.”

A middle child and self-professed tomboy, Heaney excelled at most sports and thought nothing of jumping into the action no matter what her two sports-loving brothers were doing.

The difference, however, was that while the boys were welcome to play hockey as part of a team, Heaney was not.

“I played on outdoor rinks and in the driveway, then, when I was 10, we saw something advertised in the paper about a girls team that was looking for players. It was probably filler, somewhere in the back.”

Heaney joined the team and never really looked back. At age 13, she began playing with the highly acclaimed Toronto Aeros women’s club. She went on to suit up with the Aeros for 18 seasons and played 1,000 games. During her tenure, the Aeros won sixteen Ontario championships and Heaney was named the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Most Valuable Defenceman three times.

In 1990 she put her sport on the international hockey map when she scored a spectacular game-winning goal at the inaugural Women’s World Hockey Championships. With time ticking down, Heaney deked a couple of Team U.S.A. defenders and put the puck into the net a split second before tripping over the goalie.

Heaney and her teammates went on to claim seven consecutive world championships, a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics and a gold medal in 2002. After Team Canada finished second in Nagano, Heaney put her life on hold to reach her one last goal — that elusive Olympic gold medal.

She was nearing the end of her career and overcame numerous personal and career challenges to attain her dream.

“I stuck it out for four more years, and when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a relief. Yes, it was all worth it,” she said. “If you have a dream, never quit.”

These days, hockey is still very much a part of the Hall of Famer’s life. She is a head coach with Pro Hockey Life Academy, which operates out of the Mohawk 4 Ice Centre on Hamilton Mountain, and leads programs that focus on such topics as player development and female conditioning.

Heaney’s son, Patrick, 6, is learning the game through skills sessions and her daughter, Shannon, 10, plays for the Ancaster Avalanche Atom A team that won Ontario Minor Hockey Association gold this spring.

Heaney said it’s important for her to share her experiences in women’s hockey, both on and off the ice.

“I think, especially for young girls, it’s important that they have a female to look up to who is sharing the game and sharing their experience,” said Heaney. “If you want to do it, try...and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it.”

One Last Goal: the Geraldine Heaney Story is available online on iTunes, Amazon and other electronic sites, select bookstores and directly from the publisher, Burnstown Publishing House.

One Last Goal: Team Canada’s Geraldine Heaney was a little girl with a big hockey dream

News Jul 02, 2015 by Debra Downey Ancaster News

The Ancaster woman known as the Bobby Orr of women’s hockey is the topic of a new authorized biography, One Last Goal: The Geraldine Heaney Story.

Written by Tom Bartsiokas, an editor and part-time professor at Toronto’s Seneca College, One Last Goal tells the story of a little girl with a very big dream who followed her passion from the driveway of her parents’ home to international hockey rinks, and inspired a generation of girls along the way.

Heaney, who has called Ancaster home for the past 10 years, said when Bartsiokas approached her about writing the book, she agreed fairly quickly.

“I think it’s important for young girls to hear my story and how the game got to where it is today. When I first started, there weren’t a lot of girls playing,” said Heaney. “And it’s (the book) great for me to have and for my kids to have and my parents, because my story  is their story.”

Related Content

Born in Northern Ireland in 1967, Heaney emigrated to Canada as a child with her folks, Mike and Kathleen Heaney. She said at the time of their immigration, her family knew nothing about Canada’s national pastime.

“My parents didn’t know what hockey was,” said Heaney. “We were told that in Canada everybody watches Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, but my mother had never seen a hockey game nor did she understand the rules.”

A middle child and self-professed tomboy, Heaney excelled at most sports and thought nothing of jumping into the action no matter what her two sports-loving brothers were doing.

The difference, however, was that while the boys were welcome to play hockey as part of a team, Heaney was not.

“I played on outdoor rinks and in the driveway, then, when I was 10, we saw something advertised in the paper about a girls team that was looking for players. It was probably filler, somewhere in the back.”

Heaney joined the team and never really looked back. At age 13, she began playing with the highly acclaimed Toronto Aeros women’s club. She went on to suit up with the Aeros for 18 seasons and played 1,000 games. During her tenure, the Aeros won sixteen Ontario championships and Heaney was named the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Most Valuable Defenceman three times.

In 1990 she put her sport on the international hockey map when she scored a spectacular game-winning goal at the inaugural Women’s World Hockey Championships. With time ticking down, Heaney deked a couple of Team U.S.A. defenders and put the puck into the net a split second before tripping over the goalie.

Heaney and her teammates went on to claim seven consecutive world championships, a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics and a gold medal in 2002. After Team Canada finished second in Nagano, Heaney put her life on hold to reach her one last goal — that elusive Olympic gold medal.

She was nearing the end of her career and overcame numerous personal and career challenges to attain her dream.

“I stuck it out for four more years, and when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a relief. Yes, it was all worth it,” she said. “If you have a dream, never quit.”

These days, hockey is still very much a part of the Hall of Famer’s life. She is a head coach with Pro Hockey Life Academy, which operates out of the Mohawk 4 Ice Centre on Hamilton Mountain, and leads programs that focus on such topics as player development and female conditioning.

Heaney’s son, Patrick, 6, is learning the game through skills sessions and her daughter, Shannon, 10, plays for the Ancaster Avalanche Atom A team that won Ontario Minor Hockey Association gold this spring.

Heaney said it’s important for her to share her experiences in women’s hockey, both on and off the ice.

“I think, especially for young girls, it’s important that they have a female to look up to who is sharing the game and sharing their experience,” said Heaney. “If you want to do it, try...and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it.”

One Last Goal: the Geraldine Heaney Story is available online on iTunes, Amazon and other electronic sites, select bookstores and directly from the publisher, Burnstown Publishing House.