Morgan Bell grew up watching the Olympics. Now, she’s at them.
The Charlottetown native, who is a communications manager with Hockey Canada, is with the women’s hockey team in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Olympics.
“I am definitely one of those people who set my alarm when it was in Russia or Nagano,” she said. “I remember watching all the Winter Olympics, that’s always been my favourite.”
Many people will remember Bell for her golfing career, but she also was a figure skater and attended the 2003 Canada Games in Bathurst-Campbellton,
N.B., with P.E.I.’s alpine ski team.
She joined Hockey Canada in October 2014 and found out in May she would be travelling with the women’s team for the 2017-18 season, including the Olympics journey.
“I’ve been working with the team really for the last year and a half in hopes that I would earn that spot and be able to go and work with the girls that really inspire me every day,” she said. “They work so hard and they’re really an inspiration to myself and I hope a lot of other females across the country.”
The team has been together since August but has been preparing for the Olympic moment for the past four years.
They begin play on Sunday against the Russians.
“All I want to do is be able to support them and hopefully enable them to perform at their best,” Bell said. “At the end of the day, I am just here to help them along their way. I am just one tiny piece of the puzzle.”
The roster is full of names that hockey observers will recognize like Natalie Spooner, Marie-Philip Poulin and Shannon Szabados, as well as more that will become household names during the next couple of weeks.
“Everybody has such a unique story to tell,” Bell said. “They’ve all come from different places, and it’s really been a privilege to hear their stories and hear them open up about some of the obstacle they’ve overcome.
“It’s incredible to see females in sport succeed so much and excel on such a positive level.”
The roster also includes a pair of Atlantic Canadians. Blayre Turnbull of Stellarton, N.S., and Halifax’s Jillian Saulnier are both forwards with the club.
“As a fellow East Coaster, obviously, I have a great sense of pride in where I come from. I know our communities are smaller, and sometimes it’s harder to get recognized and you have to work extra hard,” Bell said. “It’s inspiring to see what they’ve done to get here.”
While in Pyeongchang, Bell will be managing all the on-site media demands for the team.
“When you see those athletes on TV, when you see them appear anywhere in a newspaper, that’s me that was there to coordinate that with them,” Bell explained.
She said it is a balancing act with the demands high on the Canadian athletes.
“We want to tell their stories across the country, but at the same time we have to, obviously, look out for their health and wellbeing because we want them to win a gold medal,” she said.
Bell said she is grateful for the opportunity Hockey Canada has provided her, but she hasn’t done it alone.
“I couldn’t thank my own parents and husband enough. I have barely been home this year,” she said.
“I know they’re really proud and they really supported me through the journey.”