Monica D’Arcy grew up on the ice. The Heidelberg teen started skating at the age of two at local arenas and quickly found a love for hockey, joining her first team at age four. “There is just something about it, I can’t really explain it, I just love to play,” said D’Arcy sitting at her family’s kitchen table. D’Arcy’s love for the game has exposed her to many teams in the area, including playing with the Twin Centre Stars, a boys’ hockey team; her high school squad, the St. David’s Celtics in Waterloo; and her current team, the Waterloo Ravens Bantam AA.
“There is a difference between boys’ hockey and girls’ hockey. The boys tend to have more skills, but the girls have more determination, drive, and just work harder,” she said. Earlier this month, D’Arcy joined some 180 other female hockey players to compete in the Ontario Winter Games held in Collingwood. She was the only player from the region to participate in the tournament chosen from more than 700 girls across the province. The Ontario Winter Games are a multi-sport competition showcasing some of Ontario’s best amateur athletes. Women’s hockey first participated in the games in 1985.
“It was an amazing experience – they treated us like we were at the Olympics. We were placed on teams and the teams did everything together,” said D’Arcy. “It really helped us connect as we were pretty much strangers at the beginning. They were all so talented and it was great to be able to play with them.”
D’Arcy played for Team Agosta, named after Meghan Agosta, a member of Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team that won gold medals at both the Turin and Vancouver Olympics. D’Arcy and her teammates quickly bonded and found themselves in the gold medal game after winning the semi-final game in triple overtime. Unfortunately they came up short, taking silver in a game that saw them lose 2-1 in sudden-death overtime.
“Even though we didn’t win the gold it felt like we did: we were all so happy to be there and had such a great time. We were a real team and played like one,” she said.
A special crest was worn by the all the girls at the competition in memory of Daron Richardson who lost her life to suicide at the age of 14. Richardson had competed in the 2010 games. The crest, a blue heart with the letters D.I.F.D (Do It For Daron) is part of a youth-driven initiative focused on raising awareness about youth mental health issues.
“I was very proud to wear the crest and represent her. I did not know her but met a lot of girls who did and they said she was kind and very outgoing,” said D’Arcy.
With an Ontario games silver medal behind her, D’Arcy plans to continue playing hockey with hopes of joining a junior girls’ team in the near future.