The night before the Olympic game, in the race to the gold medal, Sami Jo Small was told that she would not be on the ice. At first, she was devastated and angry, but she chose to rise above those feelings and embrace her new role with enthusiasm. Small became a force of positivity in the dressing room, on the bench, and on the ice, and in doing so ultimately helped the team become champions. A graceful storyteller, Small shows audiences that a “team” needs all of its members ― regardless of their role ― if they are to succeed.
As a goalie for the Canadian Women’s National Hockey Team, Small has won five World Championships, was twice-named championship MVP, and is a three-time Olympian, who played on two gold-medal-winning teams. After a lifetime of training for the “big game” in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Small never got to play in it. “Not playing in the final game in Salt Lake forced me to focus on the accomplishment of the team above my own feelings,” Small said.
Small was one of the founders of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and worked as the general manager of the Toronto Furies until it discontinued operations in 2019. Today, she is a Certified Speaking Professional through the National Speaking Association; the president of the Toronto Six, a women’s professional hockey team; and the owner of a hockey school that runs throughout four provinces. She has previously worked as a hockey analyst for TSN and Sportsnet and was part of the Beijing Olympics broadcasting team.
After 22 years of playing hockey at the highest level, Small published her memoir The Role I Played in September 2020.