by Jason LaRose
Her father? An NHL and AHL veteran with 147 big-league games to his credit.
Her brother? An NHLer with Anaheim and a Memorial Cup champion with the Vancouver Giants, who also wore the red and white with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team.
Her fiancé? A former Central Hockey League goaltender of the year with a 43-28-8 record over the past two seasons.
To say Meaghan Mikkelson is part of a hockey family would be a fairly large understatement. The Mikkelson clan eats, sleeps and breathes Canada’s game, and talk between the hockey-playing family members is common after games, whether it is face-to-face, on the phone or via text message.
One would think that with Meaghan on the sport’s biggest stage, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the pointers and suggestions from dad, brother and fiancé would increase. Not so, according to the Team Canada defenceman.
“It’s business as usual,” Mikkelson says of the post-game talks. “I think they (her parents) are having more fun than I am here, soaking up the Olympic atmosphere and seeing the city. They’re just so excited to see me play.”
While dad Bill, mom Betsy and sister Jillian – who flew all the way from England – are in Vancouver to watch Mikkelson live her Olympic dream first hand, two other members of the family had prior commitments – hockey commitments, of course.
Brother Brendan, who has suited up 22 times for the Anaheim Ducks this season, is playing in the American Hockey League for the Toronto Marlies, while her fiancé, Scott Reid, is playing with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
“We talk pretty much every day, especially right now,” Mikkelson says of Brendan. “He’s very excited for me, and he’s playing games as well, so I’m keeping up with him too.
“I think he’s just really excited for me to be here and to be playing. It’s all over TV, so for once he has actually been able to watch the games. We’ve been talking back and forth, and he’s been asking me how the experience is and how everything is going. He’s just really eager to find out what it’s like to be here.”
While Brendan couldn’t be in Vancouver, there is still undoubtedly a Mikkelson presence at the Games, one which Meaghan says will get bigger with the addition of more relatives as the tournament progresses. The contingent in Vancouver includes Bill, who spent time with Los Angeles, Washington and the New York Islanders during the 1970s.
Mikkelson says that of all the lessons her father, who was also a defenceman, taught her growing up, it is a very simple one that stays with her now.
“Have no regrets,” she says. “Whether it is a practice or a game, or even a whole season, just being able
to look back at my performance, and how I am playing, and being able to say ‘OK, that was the outcome, but I
did everything I could to play my absolute best.’”
“Looking up at that crowd,” she says, “it’s a surge of emotions, thinking ‘I am at the Olympics, finally’ and you start to think about all the reasons you’re there. Even if it was just a split second, they (her parents and relatives) were there.”