Girl with a Goal
By Frank B. Edwards
Ottawa has no shortage of remarkable women to celebrate during this month’s International Women’s Day (March 8th). But Able2’s office chat this month also includes the tale of a gutsy one-handed goalie from Edmonton who fulfilled her dream to play ringette for Strike, a team in the city’s U-16 A league.
Fourteen-year-old Callie Bizuk was born missing the lower part of her right arm. A series of protheses through childhood served many needs but when it came to her favourite sport, she needed something truly extraordinary. When a makeshift glove that her parents taped to her arm failed to block shots effectively, Callie found a more sophisticated solution with the help of two amazing women.
A former national ringette goalie, Keely Brown, worked closely with Lisa Peters, co-owner of Northern Alberta Prosthetic and Orthotic Services, on the design of a special right-handed blocking glove/protheses. With a secure glove that was angled properly, Callie started making the saves she needed to win games. (She says she loves the hugs from her teammates at the end of a game.)
When she decided to become a goalie at age nine, some well-intentioned adults suggested it would be too difficult, but Callie persisted. She recently told Edmonton City News that “having a limb difference has caused me to become resilient.”
Meanwhile, Coach Shelley Derewianka is happy to have a solid goaltender between the posts, telling the CBC, “You don’t even know she has a prosthetic on… we have a solid person in the net.”
While there are a few inspiring elements to Callie’s story — a gritty youngster overcoming adversity, technology being successfully matched to personal determination — we particularly like the part where a community of women pooled their talents to help a young girl pursue her dream.
Next year, Callie hopes to rise to the next level of Edmonton’s ringette league and has set her sights on playing for Canada’s national team someday.
You can read more about Callie here.