Inspiring the Next Generation: Q&A with Lindsay Eastwood

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Lindsay Eastwood is a defender for the Toronto Six. She scored the first goal in Toronto Six history. While she is not only a professional hockey player, but also a skill development coach and social media manager for fortune 500 brands.

Before playing for the Six, Eastwood was the captain at Syracuse University for two seasons, finishing her career as the programs all-time leading goal scorer among defenders. In 2020, Eastwood was named the recipient of the prestigious Doris R. Soladay Award, given to one female and one male student-athlete at Syracuse for community involvement and “a history of positively influencing their peers personally, academically, and athletically.”

Eastwood has earned bachelor’s degree in Communications and master’s degree in Television, Radio, Film with a Sports Emphasis – she aspires to be a Sports Broadcaster after her hockey career is over.

Hockey has and continues to play a big role in your life. What advice would you give to the next generation of female hockey players? 

Advice I have for the next generation is to enjoy the ride. There’s going to be some highs and lows, never lose sight of why you play. Looking back on the last 20 years of my life playing hockey I have walked away with some of my best friends, I’ve received an education, visited multiple countries and big cities, and now get to play hockey for a living; even my part time job is because of hockey. So, enjoy every moment in the locker room, embrace those tough times because they will shape you into the person you are, and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. 

Have you had to overcome any particular challenges over the years in order to get where you are? How can girl’s hockey be improved for the next generation? 

Throughout my hockey career I have had to battle through lots of adversity to get to this point and the challenges have not ended yet. I was side lined my freshman year of university due to an illness – this taught me how to be more than just a hockey player and how to deal with things when they don’t go your way. Even today as a pro I deal with the challenge of balancing being a professional hockey player and working another job at the same time.

Women’s hockey has taken leaps forward, but it is still not in a position to make athletes priority 100% hockey without having to balance another job. Today we fight to get the sport to that spot for the next generation. We are always working at providing the best product on the ice and being great role models in the community. I believe we have proven as women that we have a product worth watching and buying into. Now, we just need to show more people that and get more eyes on our sport. To get there, we need television deals, sports networks and reporters talking about us and people showing up in the rink to support us. Representation is what matters the most for young girls to be able to dream of getting there just like little boys do with the NHL.

How has your involvement in the community improved (or impacted) your personal development? 

Being involved in the community through coaching and other initiatives has been very fulfilling. Having the ability to inspire younger girls and help them achieve their goals on and off the ice is humbling. I remember when I was a young girl with big dreams and aspirations in hockey looking up to players like Tessa Bonhomme so it is the least, I can do now to give back to the game. Not to mention I have found a new passion in coaching.

We see that you have done some work with coaching in the past. What impact do you think it has on young girls to see a female coaching? 

Growing up I always had male coaches, usually a teammates father as well as my own father for a few years. I would have loved to have a female on the bench as they just get us girls and understand where our heads are at. I think it’s great that we are seeing more and more women coaching – it provides excellent role models for the young ladies. Having women on the bench is simply another layer to that representation for young girls to strive to be like.

You are an amazing role model. Has anyone in particular inspired you or helped you along the way? 

These days there are so many amazing women out there paving the way for women in sport. One woman that has really helped me along the way is Sue Edson. She is the Chief Communications Officer for Syracuse Athletics (my alma matter). I have been fortunate enough to lean on her for career advice throughout the years. She has pushed me in my professional development but also to remain true to myself and others. She is the epitome of a good human and I know she always holds me to that same standard she has for herself.

My teammate Saroya Tinker is also extremely inspiring what she has done with the Black Girl Hockey Club, mentoring and inspiring young hockey players ensuring everyone feels like they belong in the sport. She inspires me to want to make a great impact to the game as she is doing so.

How can we inspire women to be in leadership roles in sport even if it’s not hockey? 

I think the best way to inspire women to be leaders in sport is to provide them access to mentors who can help build that confidence within themselves and empower them to lead. With that will come opportunities for women to lead in their sports community.

How can we follow you online and through your social channels? 

Instagram: @lindseastt      

Twitter: @LindsayEastw00d      

TikTok: @lindseast

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