Men’s hockey in Canada may hog the limelight, but interest in women’s hockey has never been higher. The Role I Played is a memoir of Sami Jo Small’s ten years with Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team. Beginning with her experience as a rookie at the first-ever women’s Olympic hockey tournament in Nagano in 1998 and culminating with Canada’s third straight Olympic gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, the veteran goaltender gives the reader behind-the-scenes insight into one of the most successful teams in sports history.
Small offers insider access, writing with unflinching honesty about the triumphs of her greatest games and the anguish of difficult times. This book honours the individuals who sacrificed so much of their lives to represent Canada on a world stage and celebrates their individual contributions to the team’s glory. While bringing the personalities of her teammates to life, Small takes the reader into the dressing rooms and onto the ice for an up-close glimpse into the ups and downs of athletes pursuing a sport’s highest achievement.
Praise for Sami Jo Small:
“Sami Jo’s story is incredibly compelling as she’s excelled at every level of the game! A track star, a goalie, an Olympian, and a professional GM: Sami has done and seen it all. She was not only an amazing athlete but a selfless teammate and an amazing friend. I looked up to her as a young hockey player and truly appreciate everything she has accomplished in her career. She has inspired countless young athletes and continues to influence the next generation through her positive attitude, her story of mental resiliency, and her ability to tackle hardships head-on. Sami Jo’s story is a must-read for any young athlete or business professional.” — Natalie Spooner, two-time Olympian
“The story of this team is an important story in Canadian history. Sami Jo plays an integral role in the success of not only the National Team but growing female hockey around the globe. She has left an indelible mark on the game and those that play and has always represented her home province of Manitoba and her adopted city of Mississauga with enthusiasm and pride.” — Hazel McCallion, former long-time mayor of Mississauga
“I’ve watched Sami Jo play goal for my wife Cari’s hockey team. Witnessed her outside on Donald Street in Winnipeg as she and her husband, Billy Bridges, cheered on the Jets, without a ticket, just a dream. Stood with the crowd as Sami Jo introduced the Tragically Hip at a party following the Salt Lake Olympics. No matter the setting, Sami Jo owns her space and shares it. I see her role as Magic Ally Hip.” — Ron MacLean, Hockey Night in Canada
“Sami Jo has an energetic personality that shines through with every story in this book. Her genuine charisma makes each chapter entertaining and engaging. Sami’s vivid memory and thoughtful description bring you along with her for every step of the journey. As I read the book, I laughed, I cried, and I sincerely enjoyed the adventure of the role she played. I had the privilege to live some of these moments with Sami Jo, and as I read through the chapters, I was always intrigued to discover what would happen next!” — Jennifer Botterill, four-time Olympian
Sami Jo Small is a three-time Canadian Olympic ice hockey goalie (two golds and one silver) and a five-time World Champion. A graduate of Stanford University in mechanical engineering, she now works as a certified speaking professional, delivering messages on how to build successful teams as well as successful teammates. From Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives in Mississauga, Ontario.
“The Role I Played is a bold and deeply personal testament to the game’s importance, giving fans the good, the bad, and the ugly of competition, while also providing a thorough document of women’s hockey in this country. But more than anything, it highlights the intense emotion, uncertainty, and self-sacrifice inherent to a life of athletic pursuit.” — Quill & Quire
“Glimpses of her childhood and life outside of hockey come into view, but the main focus is the roller-coaster ride of striving to compete at the sport’s top level.” — Library Journal
“While many hockey fans will recognize the contributions to the women’s game by American and Canadian stars such as Cammi Granato, Katie King, Haley Wickenheiser and Danielle Goyette, the contributions of players like Sami Jo Small should be recognized as well and this book will bring a lot of information and enjoyment to hockey fans everywhere.” — The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books blog
“The Role I Played is worth it to two kinds of people — hockey buffs and those who yearn for inspiration.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“The Role I Played is important as both a history book and an autobiography, but more than this Small’s book is simply a great book and a great read. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in hockey, women’s hockey, the Olympics, women athletes, or just a good autobiography.” — Hockey in Society blog