Associated with the sport of hockey since she was a toddler, Shannon Moulson has been very fortunate that individuals have helped her deal with many challenges throughout her athletic, professional and personal careers.
In fact, it has been so gratifying for this Peel District School Board teacher that, knowing her competitive hockey days may be numbered, Moulson is now determined to take her passion for celebrating accomplishments one huge step forward.
"Women in sport means a great deal to me and so getting students physically active, in whatever sport they choose, is very important," said Moulson, teacher at Levi Creek Public School. "I am an example of what active participation can do for a person – it's a huge part of our Canadian culture and can build confidence, social skills, commitment and so many more good and productive things in our lives."
From a multi-sport athlete in grade school to a hockey scholarship that took her to the National Collegiate Athletic Association university game to playing in the professional Canadian Women's Hockey League, Moulson can't say enough about her extra-curricular activities.
"Sometimes a student needs a bit of a push, more encouragement and be shown ways on how to strive to be a leader, have pride and work together," said Moulson, who earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree, focussing on Early Childhood Education at Niagara University. "My job is to teach. It's what I love to do – and I enjoy explaining that discipline and hard work have huge advantages."
Committed to an important career teaching French Immersion, physical and health education, drama and dance at her Mississauga school, an educational institution that has a diverse make-up of students from around the world, Moulson has somehow found time to tack on a commitment to coaching sports.
"I need to get more girls involved in sport," said Moulson. "I'm very lucky to have played sports all my life, and I see how important it is to encourage young people to focus on playing, getting involved and taking advantage of so much to learn.
Two of her students, both in their graduating year, point to Moulson as being a huge influence on their lives.
"When the day comes, it's going to be very hard leaving Miss Moulson and this school," said Siya Sood, a French Immersion student who has also learned to play ringette (a game that resembles hockey and also played on ice) with support from her teacher. "She is a kind person, a great teacher and has been very supportive to me."
Spencer Vaccari likes school – and hockey, too.
"(Miss Moulson) has made me feel more confident in what I do and how I handle things," said Vaccari. "She's very inspirational. She made it as a pro player and there is so much to learn from her."
Chosen, at one time, as an alternate for the provincial under-18 squad before moving on to shine at Niagara, Moulson played for the Toronto Furies in the CWHL and in her first season helped the team to the 2014 Clarkson Cup championship.
"It's painful to think that my competitive hockey days may be coming to an end, but I have had a great career in a high level of competition and made many friends," said Moulson. "Hockey is my life and I wouldn't have reached where I am today if it wasn't for a strong work ethic."
Moulson is now involved in helping boys and girls, in grades 3 to 5 and who had never put on skates, reach a pinnacle in their lives. In just three sessions, they were skating on their own and having fun.
"I watch them, help them, teach them and, in many ways, see myself as a youngster," she said. "It would be amazing if there was a way to have a small rink in our school yard."