Blake Bolden discusses emBolden her, a 6-month mentorship program for aspiring female hockey players – the Athletic



Blake Bolden recalls feeling down as she sat in a locker room in 2014 after a game, when she even considered quitting hockey altogether.

This is also the moment when she had a revelation.

Bolden had made history the previous summer as the first black player to be selected in the first round of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft after captaining the Boston College Eagles in the NCAA. The rookie defenseman adapted for the Boston Blades and felt at the top of his game. Bolden even believed she would have a chance to make the United States squad for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

This was not the case. Seven of his Blades teammates, including Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, got the call instead. Even a college teammate, forward Alex Carpenter, was part of the roster.

In this locker room, as Bolden sat at his booth with a “crushed” ego, a young girl with a poster with Bolden’s name, number, and lots of glitter approached.

The fan waited until after the game for Bolden, not her Olympic teammates, to tell her how well she played and strike up a conversation.

“It meant the world to me that just by playing this sport I influenced her to want to try it,” Bolden said. “I just told myself that I’m just going to give back. If you give, you get ten times. I think it’s very important for everyone to learn.

The experience is what led the star and CWHL and NWHL champion to become a mentor and, three years later, develop her own program for aspiring young female hockey players. It has since grown into a free six-month virtual program called “emBolden her,” featuring 25 girls from the United States and Canada.

Attendees will hear Bolden and other special guests talk about goal setting, time management, self-motivation techniques, and other lessons.



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