Some think that “hockey wives” are spoiled, done-up trophies that have little to worry about other than booking nail appointments and cheering loudly at hockey games. The reality is, for all of the perks, it can also be lonely and identity sucking.
Nobody knows this better than the stars of W Network’s Hockey Wives. The show’s third season premiered on April 19 – and if you’ve caught any of it then you’ll know that it’s difficult not to feel for the wives (yes, I’m being serious).
Erica Lundmark is essentially a single mom to her three kids while her husband Jamie Lundmark plays in Austria. She also runs a successful real estate business. “Dealing with a full-time career and children is extremely difficult when my husband is away. But I think to myself that it could always be worse. Some women whose husbands are in the military, for example, don’t even know if their husband will ever make it home safely,” says Lundmark. “When I think about the sacrifice that those women make, it reminds me that I can handle my husband being away for nine months.”
Naturally, Hockey Wives exposes the good, bad and ugly moments of relationships. “We are two intense people and the show presents some of the most stressful moments we have to deal with, so it’s strange to see it from an outside perspective, but it is also interesting to go back and compare it to where we are now,” said Vanessa Vandal, the girlfriend of David Perron, of the St. Louis Blues.
Emilie Blum went through her pregnancy in front of the camera and wasn’t even sure that her husband – Jonathan Blum of the KHL Russian League – would be able to make it home for their son’s birth. “It was pretty awkward having cameras around sometimes, especially the day I gave birth (I was super huge, uncomfortable and nervous), but we considered it a great way to document the pregnancy,” said Blum. “We can look back on the experience later in life with our son.”
Being a hockey wife means compromising your own career for your husband’s. “I hate when people think that many wives of professional athletes don’t have careers because they are lazy or freeloaders. I miss my career and wish I could still work,” says Blum. “It’s hard to find an employer that is flexible enough with the crazy hockey lifestyle – moving all the time, flying back and forth between two countries.”
Vandal kissed her dream career in marketing goodbye upon graduation. “Sometimes I think of what my life would be like if I decided to work instead of leaving everything behind to try with David just after six months of being in a relationship,” she says. “But the hockey life is intense and you have to make a choice and ultimately make a sacrifice for the good of the family.” She opted for interior design because it gives her flexibility.
“My schedule is dictated by David’s,” says Vandal. “They have practice, meetings, physical treatment, travel, games, charities and events – plus they have to rest their body, so there’s not much time for anything else.”
There’s also a lot of pressure on the wives as supporters. “I had major guilt when Jonathan took a puck to his face and shattered his cheekbone this season and I wasn’t able to fly there to take care of him after his surgery,” said Blum. “The wives play a big role in their emotional and physical well-being. At the end of every season, I always wonder what could I have done differently to let my husband focus more on hockey and being the best player that he can be.”
So, you may want to think twice the next time you go and judge a hockey wife.
Do you still think being a hockey wife is easy? What do you think of the Hockey Wives season so far? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.