Despite the gold medals and representing Canada, Bach calls making her PWHL debut the highlight of her career thus far. Pictured: Victoria Bach. Photo Credit: PWHL Toronto on X.
It was a long awaited and much-anticipated women’s professional hockey debut for Victoria Bach.
The recent Brock University graduate had been waiting her whole life for this past Saturday night when she played for the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) Toronto franchise in a 4-1 victory over visiting Minnesota.
Bach has come a long way for someone that didn’t start playing the game until she was eight years old.
“My first hockey memory was going to an outdoor rink with my dad,” said Bach hours before Saturday’s game on the Niagara Sports Report on Newstalk 610 CKTB. “Every year he’d make an outdoor rink in our backyard. They’d have to drag me inside every day after school, and I still remember my first tryout like it was yesterday, being the only one that couldn’t skate and waving to my dad up in the stands.”
Some almost two decades later, Bach is now an Olympic Gold Medallist and World Champion for Canada and actually got the opportunity to skate outside again last Friday as part of the PWHL/NHL All-Star Game festivities in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square.
It was also announced last week that the Toronto PWHL franchise sold out Scotia Bank Arena later this month for a game against Montreal, as upwards of 19,000 fans will be in attendance.
Before making her PWHL debut Saturday night, Bach wanted to finish schooling and earn her teaching certificate at Brock.
“I was one month away from being done, and it was really important for me to get out of the way,” the now 27-year old Bach explained. “I love teaching, it’s a lot like coaching and I love both.”
Bach also spoke about her feelings about making her debut on the ice.
“It’s so special,” said Bach. “For me, sitting out for the first month. I just remember being a young girl and going to watch NHL games, but now realizing for these young girls this is now the reality. For it to finally be here, it’s really emotional. Thinking about all of the years, changing in janitor rooms, to see where we are now, it’s so amazing.”
Despite the gold medals and representing Canada, Bach calls making her PWHL debut the highlight of her career thus far.
And as for her future students, Bach has this message: “Work hard, follow your dreams and believe in yourself.”
Those are words we can all use in everyday life.
On and off the ice, Bach also takes solace in exploring her indigenous roots.
“It’s been incredible,” said Bach. “My grandmother was indigenous, she passed away a couple of years ago now but I think she would be really proud of the work that I’m doing within the indigenous communities.
“Honestly, it’s just really important for me to be a role model. I know growing up I didn’t have very many indigenous role models, especially when it came to hockey, and for young girls and boys to see indigenous representation it’s so important. I’m a big believer, if you can see it you can dream it.”
And Victoria Bach’s dream became reality this past Saturday night.
Rod Mawhood is a lifelong Niagara native who has had the pleasure of working in all three mediums – Radio, Print and TV – for over 20 years. His first announcing gig was with the then St. Catharines Stompers. Since then he’s worked in radio and TV in Toronto, and currently is the announcer for the Niagara IceDogs and Niagara River Lions.
Rod also covers the Buffalo Bills for FOX Sports and the Buffalo Sabres for NBC Sports.