<strong>VALLEY Students learn how Lisa Haley made it to Sochi</strong>

Published on April 9, 2014

VALLEY- Making the right choices today will lead to the fulfillment of personal goals tomorrow.

That was the message Lisa Haley gave to Redcliff Middle School students in Valley on Wednesday. That philosophy was paramount in helping the Canadian women’s hockey team attain Olympic gold in Sochi this winter. Haley was the team’s assistant coach.

People make thousands of decisions everyday, she said, and many of those will affect them in years to come.

“Am I going to hockey today, or stay home and play video

games?” the Westville native asked the crowd of about 200 students who were hanging on her every word. “Am I going to eat those barbecue chips, or eat my veggies?”

Staying home from hockey may seem easy, but it won’t get you anywhere, Haley said.

“It’s about making the right choices, not the easy ones.”

Ever since she was in junior high, Haley knew she wanted to be a part of the Canadian women’s hockey team. Hard work and dedication is what got her there, she said.

“Hockey was a sport I fell in love with everyday.”

The gold medal Haley had brought with her caught the attention of every student in the room. Some asked about its weight, while another asked about its worth.

To see someone who achieved a lofty goal by working hard was inspiring, said Lauren Farrell, student council president at Redcliff.

“I can’t even put it into words, it was amazing,” Farrell said.

Farrell hoped other students would embrace the athlete’s message of determination and success too.

“If you really put yourself into something you can reach success,” Farrell said. “That’s a really important lesson to learn.”

Meanwhile, Liam Atwater, a relative of Haley’s and a student at the school, said it was great to have a relative participate in the Olympics. This was also the first time he had seen a gold medal and heard Haley’s stories from Sochi.

“This was the chance of a lifetime to hear about the Olympics,” said Atwater, who is also a hockey player.

He hopes to one day follow in Haley’s footsteps and make it to the Olympics. Atwater said he’ll take Haley’s message of hard work and making the right choices and apply it to his hockey.

“She knows what it takes to win,” he said. “Now I’ll do what it takes.”

And Haley certainly knew what it would take to get to the Olympics. Haley’s hockey career had been preparing her for Sochi.

“I can’t even describe it,” Haley said of the hard work that led to the achievement and the actual event.

Haley recalled how the Canadian net was open as the American’s fired the puck towards it in the gold medal game; the puck veering slowly towards the post. Nobody moved or breathed on the bench, they just watched the puck glide. Luckily, she said the Americans missed.

“When the puck hit the post and bounced out, that’s when I breathed again,” Haley said. “It was almost as stressful as watching it on TV.”

Haley shared other stories with the students, including how she lost her luggage in Canada, meeting Sydney Crosby, and their accommodations in Sochi.

Haley told the Truro Daily News she enjoyed her time at Redcliff.  When she was the students’ age, she was thrilled to listen to other success stories.

“It’s always inspiring to come see students,” Haley said. “I have all the time in the world to talk to them.”

Haley said she wanted students to walk away from what she said knowing anything is possible with hard work and determination.

“If you set your goal and commit to it, anything is possible.”

Haley stopped at the school on her way to her hometown of Westville. It will be her first time in Westville since arriving home from Sochi and a homecoming was planned on Wednesday night at the Westville Town Hall Gymnasium.