I fell in love with this game as many Canadian kids do: on a pair of rollerblades, in the street. I was 5 or 6 when my neighbourhood friends first started playing street hockey and I couldn’t get enough. I’d watch NHL games on TV any chance I got. My family was never particularly athletic and we certainly didn’t watch sports. But I fell head over heels for this game. That winter, my mom got me a pair of skates and brought me to Turkey Creek (a well known creek in LaSalle, ON where I grew up). The way she tells it, she set me down on the skates and I took off for an hour, skating happily until I came back because I was getting cold.
I was 8 when I finally talked my parents into letting me play organized hockey. Finding a girls league back in 1999 wasn’t easy and I wasn’t allowed to play boys’ hockey. But we found one and I joined the Sunparlour Girls Hockey League. There, my love for the game blossomed as did my skill.
I was always different from the other girls. I’d always known that. I shopped in the “boys” section of stores, scouring for hockey themed t-shirts and endured all the teasing and bullying that comes with that, even from my own family. I was often forced to choose so many items from the “girls” section and I hated it. This is where my deep love of expressing myself through clothing came from. I never felt like me in the “girls” clothes. All I wanted to do was wear hockey apparel. And when I did, I felt at home in my own skin. I’ve never been particularly interested in “Fashion”, but I have always been happy with using simple pieces to piece my identity together as best I can on my body. Hats, hoodies, sweatpants, shorts, tank tops, long sleeve tees, crewneck sweaters, jeans, button ups, and of course t-shirts have always featured front and centre in my wardrobe.
No matter how different I was or am, clothing has allowed me to show the world how proud I am of those differences and to showcase my identity in material form.
The night I got the idea for the first tee, I didn’t know it would be a tee or even lead to a whole company. I just knew I had to create the design. The next day, the same thing happened. And it kept happening until I had about 20 designs.
I then got an email from the Windsor Essex Small Business center, saying they had a workshop about selling through e-commerce. I jumped at the chance. As soon as the workshop was done, I knew I had to open my own hockey t-shirt business.
The rest as they say is history. But it all leads back to that 8 year old kid who just wanted tees that were ungendered and would let the world know how much she loved hockey. Rink Threads is me making tees for that kid, and any other person who might feel the same. I don’t believe in gendered clothing. It’s a t-shirt, anyone can wear it. I believe in feeling good in your own skin and sometimes that starts with what goes on your skin.
This is also why I chose to print on premium apparel that I believe is the best feeling I have ever worn.
I want you all to feel the comfy, proud feeling I get when wearing Rink Threads. This line of apparel was made for all of you as much as it was for my past self.
I’m still based in Windsor, ON and still living the hockey dream. With Rink Threads, you can too!