Wendy Williams leaves wellness facility and says she’s ‘back and better than ever’
This story is part of the CBC Sports Series, It’s Not Just A Game. The series features athletes, coaches and trainers who are at the top of their game and are inspiring others everywhere to get up and get their game up.
This past summer, former NHL player Wendy Williams made a decision so risky that she had to watch it with her mother, Janet Williams.
Williams was at Wellness by Nature in Winnipeg, a facility with a 12-month membership, when she decided to leave. She had just finished working out at a different gym when she knew she needed to change her exercise habits to meet the demands of her career. In one session, the 26-year-old defenceman was pushed too hard. She says she was on the verge of breaking down and had to sit in a room for a while to collect herself.
“I knew right then, on a personal level, I had to start putting a bigger focus on my body, and a lot more emphasis on how I felt and how I felt for it, because if I felt like this, then I wouldn’t believe I could be good at it,” said Williams, who had just turned 32. Now, over the course of her second year as an elite workout instructor on the sidelines of the world’s top hockey events, she’s back and better than ever, having found her groove after her near-disappointing 2014-2015 season.
“I think a lot of people are willing to hear and do a lot in different areas of their lives, but it’s a whole different beast to go into the physical sport side of things,” she said. “It takes a very different mind set and it’s a different focus.”
‘I had to see it my way’
Williams, who grew up in a hockey-playing family on the North Shore of Vancouver Island, was a highly sought-after defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks. She was also a gold medal winner with Canada at the 2002 and 2006 world junior championships and the 2006 world championship. She scored the Cup-winning goal at the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
But she knew from a young age she wanted to be a hockey player.
“I was always the last kid on the island to