Coming off a silver medal at the inaugural Para Ice Hockey Women’s World
Challenge in Green Bay, Wis., Alanna Mah and Raphaëlle Tousignant are now
competing for a roster spot on Canada’s National Para Team in Calgary. This
is the second instance in team history that women para hockey players have
been invited to selection camp; Christina Picton first participated in
selection camp in 2019.
From how they were introduced to the game to their favourite memory on the
ice, get to know these two up-and-coming Canadian para hockey athletes.
Hockey Canada (HC): How were you introduced to para hockey?
Alanna Mah (AM): I started playing when I was nine years old. I’ve always
loved hockey, but I actually started playing soccer with the Paralympic Sports Association in Edmonton. I found [para] hockey through that, and
then [I] started playing.
Raphaëlle Tousignant (RT): I was introduced to para hockey by my father
after getting my leg amputated. It was very important to me to find a sport
on the ice to do, I used to play ringette before my amputation. With the
help of all the professionals around me at that time, they brought me to
the rink on a Saturday morning a couple years ago, and I just fell in love
with para hockey.
HC: What was your reaction when you found out you were invited to
AM: It was surprising, but I was super honoured to be here. It’s such an
honour to be amongst all the guys that are here too and keep going with my
playing career here.
RT: I was very excited, but I was freaking out at the same time. It was a
mixed feeling. I’m so happy to be here, it’s a very great opportunity for
me. I said it in the past, my goal is to go to the Paralympic games so if
it is with the women or maybe with the men, we never know. I’m going to
take that chance, this opportunity and see what’s going to happen.
HC: What is your favourite para hockey memory?
AM: I feel like it’s going to be a tie between my first invite to NextGen
camp in 2019 and [playing in the Women’s World Challenge in] Green Bay with
the women’s team.
RT: My favourite para hockey memory was my first next gen camp in 2019. I
remember when I started playing para hockey, […] I wanted to go [to the
Paralympic Games] with the men’s team, and people were thinking I was crazy
and that I would never be able to achieve that. When I received the call
from Hockey Canada telling me you’re invited to the NextGen camp, it was
just crazy. At that moment, I really started believing that I could maybe
do that, and I learned so many things as a player at [that] camp.
HC: How do you see the sport of para hockey evolving over the next five
AM: Obviously, I’d like to see the women’s game continue to grow. I feel
like the recognition of the sport is gaining popularity and people are
becoming more aware [about para hockey]. So just growing the sport bigger.
RT: For the women’s side of the game, I would say an official world
championship. That’s our goal and I really hope that’s going to happen. For
more of the men’s side of the game, I would say just keep pushing the
limits and keep getting better, even better than what the men are right
now. And [by] surrounding ourselves with the best professionals, we can
really get better.