Player’s Own Voice podcast: Erin Ambrose’s defence never rests

Player’s Own Voice Podcast host Anastasia Bucsis has caught her breath after an endurance-slash-sprint of conversations with athletes during the Tokyo Olympics.

You may feel like we’re still in the afterglow of the summer Games, but here’s the feast or famine of sports at the moment: we’re already rubbing our hands in anticipation of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Incredibly, those games are just a handful of months away.

In this country, winter Games mean hockey, and we’re hooking up today with an insider of the greatest rivalry in the sport.

Erin Ambrose, pro defender in the PWHPA and member of the Canadian national team, has a decidedly atypical tendency to blow right through the usual scrum clichés, in contrast to most hockey players.

She’s honest about all of it.

Start with Team USA. Ambrose makes no bones about hating them. Is that the word she wants to use? Oh yes. She hates them. She says we should embrace that hate.

And having a brand new IIHF championship gold medal slung around her neck allows Ambrose to visit fresh memories of those emotions.

But she’s not just another hockey star with a gnarly temper. Ambrose’s passion is just as strong on the other side of the emotional spectrum. She is a supremely compassionate advocate for mental health, having grappled with her own feelings of intense anxiety and depression.

Feared on the Ice, Erin Ambrose is welcomed everywhere else because her mental health advocacy is so respected. She is a complicated and fascinating figure.

Something new starts this week after we recently received a message from our deaf audience. Readers of the POV essay series want transcriptions of the podcast. We are happy to provide this, while feeling sheepish that we hadn’t started doing so years ago.

Like the CBC Sports’ Player’s Own Voice essay series, the podcast allows athletes to speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to the entire fourth season of POV podcast, subscribe for free on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you do your other podcast listening.

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