Ottawa woman makes hockey history in women's pro league
OTTAWA -- The National Women's Hockey League, established in 2015, has a new team this season, The Toronto Six. And one player, who just happens to be from Ottawa, is celebrating a big first.
Lindsay Eastwood scored the first goal in franchise history for the Toronto Six women's hockey team on Jan. 23 vs the Minnesota Whitecaps.
Eastwood was born and raised in Kanata. She has been playing hockey since the age of six and this goal for the Six is one of the biggest in her career.
“Found the back of the net. That’s a play I don’t usually score on, so that was pretty exciting,” says Eastwood.
Six teams make up the NWHL and Toronto is the first Canadian team. The women’s professional league is also the first to pay its players, but they still need full time jobs to supplement what little they make from playing hockey.
“Honestly, in the moment when I scored I was just pumped that we finally had the lead in the game,” says Eastwood. “I didn’t even think about it being the first franchise goal until afterwards when I was on social media. My phone was blowing up and everyone was freaking out for me. And then I realized how big of a goal it was for our franchise, for our team and I guess for the league.”
All six teams are currently in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York, with strict rules due to COVID-19. After the game, celebrating over the phone was the only option.
“I called my parents right away as soon as I could and they were so, so excited for me,” says Eastwood.
Her father, Dave Eastwood, says he could not be more proud.
“I was just going crazy. We jumped out of our seats,” says Dave. “The girl found herself in front of the net and she tucked it under the bar. It was actually a very nice goal.”
Lindsay comes from a hockey family. Her uncle, Mike Eastwood, played in the NHL from 1992 to 2004.
“Yesterday, I didn’t know it was on so early and then I clicked it on and within five minutes she scored that goal. So, the timing was...thank God,” says Mike. “I'm so excited for her and proud of her. You know it was a heck of a shot too, the way she buried it top shelf. It's a goal-scorer's goal right there.”
Lindsay says her ultimate goal is to play in the Olympics, but this is still a wish come true.
“When I was a little girl and I turned eight years old, I blew out the candles and I wished to play in the NHL one day,” says Lindsay, “and my little cousin asked me what I wished for and I said, I’ll tell you when I’m 25. I’m 24 and I’m playing in the NWHL. So I guess its pretty cool how everything worked out. It's been quite the ride.”