Giving Back Through Coaching: Q&A with Samara Lewis

Stride with us for championing women and girls in sport and recreation! We are highlighting the people and programs that are paving the way for advancing gender equity so we can inspire others and make an impact! Learn more about our GAME CHANGERS campaign.

How long have you been involved in hockey?

I started playing hockey when I was 5 and played through to the end of high school. I decided to focus on my studies in university and so I took a step back from competitive and just played rec. Throughout high school I got involved with coaching at the hockey school I went to growing up and I think teaching learn to play really grew my love and appreciation for the game.

Why did you choose to continue coaching after your youth career?

I started coaching Novice A when I was in Grade 12 and playing Midget AA hockey. I enjoyed giving back to the younger girls and being a role model to them. It was fun that they would come watch my team play and my team would come watch them play. When I moved to Ottawa and was no longer playing competitive hockey there was something missing in my life. I love hockey and being at the rink, it has always been an escape for me. A place not to worry about the real world and the stress and just focus on the game. Hockey gave me so much and taught me so much that I wanted to give back to it. Coaching was my way of giving back. I loved being at the rink and around the girls. Whether it was teaching them new skills, joking around with them or being a mentor and role model, I loved it all.

What do you hope you can teach the girls through coaching?

The way I always approached coaching minor hockey was I am closer in age to the girls I am coaching than to their parents. I wanted to be someone they could look up to and can learn from about the game and about life. I wanted to create an environment that they would always feel safe coming to me whether it was hockey related, school related or family and anything else in between. I wanted to be a trusted adult in their life who would show up for them no matter what. I also made sure they knew I was balancing hockey while getting straight A’s in school because I always stressed the importance of school and doing well and that you can do both. I hope to have an impact on at least one girl that I have coached over the last 7 years.

Tell us about your involvement in the 2022 Maccabiah Games!

My good friend Melissa Wronzberg, the head coach of U18 AA Leaside team and former member of the Clarkson Cup winning Markham Thunder, made it her mission over the last 6 years to get Women’s hockey into the Maccabiah Games. They are like the Jewish Olympics and have all kinds of sports including men’s hockey but this is the first year they have women’s. She fought to have it included and to find Jewish girls in Canada and the USA who would be willing to play. I am very excited for the games and think it will be a really cool experience to get to wear the maple leaf while playing in the country that my grandfather fought for and defended.

Share this post