For North Americans, the year 1972 was well-known for two things: the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam and the 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Canada. For one little Calgary girl nestled away in her home and staring in awe at the TV, the latter event inspired a lifetime love affair with a puck and stick.
Leslie Ann Kalman has changed greatly since the day Canada won the series.
She is now a mother of two, treasurer of the Southern Alberta Womens’ Hockey Association, and a retired business expert. But one thing that has never faltered is her passion for hockey.
“Looking back on it, one might think it was rigged but there was so much heart out there it’s hard to believe.” said Kalman about the Summit Series, “it’s what inspired me to play.”
Kalman put her passion for many different sports to use at a young age, with her hockey career beginning in the net.
“I started in goal because the community provided the equipment and I was a catcher in baseball so it was a great mix.”
She is now running the ice as a forward.
“I have played competitive hockey for 40 years and I am the president of the Calgary Raiders women’s hockey team and an active hockey player, currently playing 4-5 times a week.”
This was only the beginning of her cross-training life style, and she has progressed to tackling many other challenges throughout her life.
“I am also an avid runner and I have completed three marathons, several half marathons, and two mini-triathlons.”
With her boyfriend as a training partner she has completed six bike tours in Europe, one in Cuba, and one down the west coast of United States, each averaging 1500 km.
Having grown up playing hockey and fastball in Calgary, she has progressed to coaching a variety of young boys and girls in both sports as well as her daughters in soccer.
Kalman’s Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary and her chartered accountant certificate led to her to her life off the ice, in which she worked as a controller and vice-president in an oil and gas marketing company.
She then worked up to a chief financial officer in the telecommunications sector, before retiring in 2001.
“I have been a volunteer on the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association (SAWHA) board for nine years in various capacities, treasurer, scheduler, director of operations and director of Fairview Facility and League Development.”
Fairview is the association’s home arena.
With 100,000 people now using the facility, the work of Kalman and the Fairview Women’s Hockey Arena Society has allowed the facility to flourish.
In the nine years spent with SAWHA, Kalman has put her knowledge of industry workings and management skills to a cause that is bettering the availability of ice time for minors and supporting local female hockey.
“I like business, I’ve done a lot of start ups and that’s why taking over the arena was ideal for me,” said Kalman.
“I see huge parallels in my business life to that of my team and to SAWHA, and the Fairview Arena.”