Mommy Connections’ Moms Who Do Cool Things! Meet Ringette Player, Deb Crawford

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Mommy Connections’ Moms Who Do Cool Things! Meet Ringette Player, Deb Crawford

July 4, 2021

Introducing Mommy Connections’ Moms Who Do Cool Things!

Throughout the summer we’ll be sharing the story of a talented and passionate mom in our community with a super cool side hustle. From a baker, to a podcast host, a photographer and more, these women are busy building their empires and sharing their passions with the world.

A huge thanks to all these fabulous women for taking the time to share their amazing stories with us!

Meet Deb Crawford, Ringette Player and Owner of Fitness by the Lake, from Mississauga, ON, mama of four (ages 13, 11 year old twins, and 6), and a member of the Mommy Connections community since 2018.

Describe yourself in one sentence:

I love to laugh and make others laugh and am truly a corny personality.

You’re the owner of Fitness by the Lake, as well as a AAA ringette player—being active is clearly your passion! Was it always your goal to work in the fitness industry?:

I love being active and I have been since I was a kid. I’ve been playing ringette and a mix of other sports for 33 years! I never actually thought about working in the fitness industry until the birth of my twins. I had a nice job in Marketing and really had no complaints. But after the birth of my twins I suddenly had 3 kids under the age of two. How was I going to work full time and take care of these kids?? But what really pushed me to find my passion was the diagnosis of my one twin with Cerebral Palsy. I needed to be available for doctor, physio, occupational and speech therapy appointments and knew that an office job wasn’t the right fit. It was a crazy thought I had one day running with my twins. In my head I was coaching myself “you can do this Deb” “Just up the hill Deb” “30 more seconds Deb” etc. and then I drifted to “what if other people were with me?” “I wonder if other moms want to do something like this?” I researched that night the classes in Mississauga. I knew Toronto offered classes – but had no idea about Mississauga. And was disappointed to find it was sincerely under represented. So – more research – a crazy idea to my hubby of “I wonder if I could start a stroller class for the neighbourhood?” And 9 months later – Fitness by the Lake was born!

Confession: I never heard about ringette until I met you. How would you describe it?

Ringette was first developed in the 1960’s when girls couldn’t play hockey. It was an alternative ice sport that quickly became the fastest game on ice. We wear roughly the same equipment as hockey players however rules of ringette are very different – which is why it’s the fastest game on ice – just naturally less whistles. The concept is also in contrast to hockey – although both sports have 6 players (2 defensemen, 2 offence men and 1 centre and a goalie) on the ice at one time – ringette requires much more passing – so essentially almost every player is involved from end to end. We play with a long straight stick and a rubber ring. Hand-eye coordination is key.

Canada and Finland dominate the world stage of ringette and ringette narrowly missed making the Olympics the same year women’s hockey did because we were short one country to play it. I’ve been playing since I was 10. Played at various levels from recreation to rep to provincial to AAA to women’s (old lady league ;-). I have also been coaching for the last 5 years at a regional and provincial. It’s truly one of my purest joys to step on the ice and I hope to be doing it with my ringette crew (who have been my best friends and sisters for 20 years) until we are well into our golden years.

How did you get involved with ringette, and what’s your favourite thing about it?

My sister saw a flyer and brought it home to my parents. At the time we were in figure skating and both of us (I’m a twin as well) were not enjoying it. She placed the flyer on the table and said “I want to try this” and the rest is history! Remember – I’m in my 40’s so girls hockey was not that big 30 years ago! That was in Winnipeg. We moved many times as a kid so I have played in Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Mississauga.

My favourite thing about ringette has to be the friendships I have made throughout the years. There is no better feeling than stepping on the ice and looking at ladies you absolutely adore. We have all been through breakups, weddings, baby showers, illness and deaths together and we couldn’t live without each other. I trust them on and off the ice and feel so blessed to have their friendships.

What advice would you give to moms looking to try team sports?

For moms to try a team sport themselves – just take the leap. Everyone is in the same boat as you. It’s great to give yourself time away from the kids and do something just for you. Not to mention the social high of hanging out with other people. Being able to laugh, chat, sweat and even vent is a perfect way for moms to escape for a little bit.

Complete this sentence: I’m most excited for/about/to…

I’m most excited to return to sports in a safe and comfortable environment. To see my friends, to win some games / tournaments and to belly laugh with my teammates.

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