Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Motherhood Motivates Mikkelson at Women's World Hockey Championship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Motherhood Motivates Mikkelson at Women's World Hockey Championship

Article excerpt

Meaghan Mikkelson a motivated hockey mom

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CALGARY - Everything and nothing will have changed for Meaghan Mikkelson when she pulls a Canadian jersey over her head Monday at the women's world hockey championship.

Reclaiming gold from the U.S. is still the goal. The Americans have beaten Canada in five of the last six world championship finals.

A pregnant Mikkelson watched her country's most recent defeat in 2015 from her Calgary home.

Six months after giving birth to Calder, the two-time Olympic gold medallist returns to the national team for the 2016 world championship in Kamloops, B.C.

The host team opens the preliminary round Monday against the defending champion U.S. at the Sandman Centre. Mikkelson will play her first international game for Canada since an overtime win over the U.S. for Olympic gold two years ago.

There's anecdotal and some scientific evidence indicating that increased red blood cells and a surge in hormones during pregnancy can make elite athletes stronger in the weeks after birth. Mikkelson will vouch for that theory.

"I'm shocked at how much stronger I am," the defenceman says. "It's pretty crazy and awesome.

"Somehow during my pregnancy and in the past two months I've gained a lot of muscle."

It's a compensatory perk for the hard work she's put in to re-gain her pre-pregnancy body and game. Getting to the gym and on the ice enough to be the world-class player you once were is not easy when you're a nursing mother.

"They say it takes a year for your body to go back to normal -- whatever normal is I'm not sure -- but it has been a challenge," Mikkelson said.

"Your ligaments and your joints are still kind of going through that transition and going back into place where they were before I guess you were carrying around a 30-pound medicine ball. That's been the biggest thing, just staying on top of little strains and pulls."

Her husband Scott Reid, a former minor pro goalie, coaches her Calgary Inferno club team which recently won the Clarkson Cup.

So when Mikkelson was cleared to play for the Inferno on Jan. 2, she and Scott were on the ice together for practices and games. Calder's grandparents or aunts stepped in as baby-wranglers. …

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