Olivia Muhn grew up in the Burlington Girls Hockey Club (BGHC), catching
the ends of junior games and rubbing shoulders with older players around
The admiration she had for those players and motivation she got from those
experiences are what inspired Muhn and her U22 Barracudas teammates to form
a mentorship program through the BGHC.
The program pairs players from the U22 Barracudas with teams across the
BGHC. A couple of players are assigned to a team for the season, attending
games and practices and setting up team sessions to offer mentorship and
“Growing up, you see the junior team and you get to interact with them,
[which] is a really special feeling when you're that young, so we wanted to
pass that along to them,” says Muhn, 18, who has captained the Barracudas
for the last two seasons.
During the 2019-20 season (before COVID-19 shut down the hockey world),
BGHC teams from U9 to U15 had the opportunity to tour the dressing room and
join the U22 team for on-ice sessions. Off the ice, the program put an
emphasis on anti-bullying education, even working with the Ontario
Provincial Police to host informational sessions.
“We got to really know the younger girls and build those great connections
with them,” Muhn says. “[The program] really gives you someone to look up
to, a role model. Someone that you can follow throughout their hockey
career and say, "I want to [follow] in their footsteps.’
“Personally, I've been able to grow up watching [National Women’s Team
defenceman] Renata Fast. She's from Burlington as well, so being able to
see her go through all these programs and come from the same city as me has
just given me something that I wanted to work towards.”
Muhn followed in Fast’s footsteps this week when she joined 22 other
NextGen (born in 2003) athletes to participate in Canada’s National Women’s
Under-18 Team summer camp. She was part of the U18 camp last summer, but
that was a virtual-only experience thanks to the pandemic.
The NextGen group gathered in Calgary on July 26 as part of the BFL
National Women’s Program Summer Showcase, presented by Sobeys, practicing
and playing a pair of games against the U18 camp teams.
Muhn is no stranger to the big stage; in her 10 seasons with the
Barracudas, she has helped Burlington win Ontario Women’s Hockey
Association (OWHA) provincial titles in 2012 (U9 A), 2016 (U13 AA) and 2018
(U15 AA), and she helped Ontario Blue reach the bronze medal game at the
2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
She also, thanks to her Korean heritage, skated with Korea’s national
women’s team during its preparations for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
This fall, Muhn will head south to begin her college career at Yale
University. While she leaves behind the Barracudas and the mentorship
program, it will continue under the leadership of the incoming players,
with hopes that in a few seasons, teams across the OWHA can participate.
“I feel like a lot of hockey is about camaraderie and building those
relationships with people around you, whether it be friends, coaches,
referees even,” says Muhn. “This program will allow younger and older
players to bond and build that connection.”