DOING IT RIGHT : The Life of a Hockey Wife NATASHA BELL
There are people in this world who just have “it”. And the best part about it is that the people who have “it” rarely know they have it or would even admit it. So I’m going to say it, this month’s feature hockey wife, has it. Holistic is the perfect word to describe her. Holistic by definition means to deal or treat the whole of something or someone and not just the part. There are many parts to this wonder woman and she has the understanding that each part must work cohesively together to better the whole. Often in the sporting world, there are limitations to what type of opportunity will be available to you, specifically as a spouse…but opportunity works best when you create it for yourself. For my spotlight friend, hockey is just a part. The thing with this one, with this wife…She created opportunity after opportunity with overwhelmingly deserved success, by growing and nurturing a ridiculously beautiful family, supporting her pro hockey player hubby, becoming an entrepreneur and business owner, a health resource mogul, and the most sincere and driven woman you could meet. I was so pleased to be introduced to this woman by many. Although the scope of hockey seems to be wide spread, its actually oddly intimate and small. The families of pro athletes build unintentional connections that always seem to come circle round. As luck would have it, our circles collided and I am so excited to brag about this months ‘Doing it Right: The Life of a Hockey Wife February feature, Natasha Bell.
It is a story that could be unfolded into a film, at least in my opinion. Natasha being from St. Paul’s, Ontario….. met her husband, Mark Bell, when she was 4 years old. In their “village”, she lightly quips about their small town, their families knew each other well, his sister was Natasha’s babysitter, they attended the same school for their childhood and adolescence until hockey called for Mark. Mark moved away to play junior hockey at the age of 15. Their paths didn’t cross until 12 years ago. Mark was playing in for the Chicago Blackhawks and Natasha was living in London pursuing her broadcasting and journalism aspirations. Over the next two years, he persisted to woo this lady, “he put up a good fight including a pretty bold and impressive cold-call at the radio station I was working at.” Each flirtatious gesture was working. The two spent months talking on the phone, long distance. Getting to know each other before meeting face to face. Doesn’t that give you all the feels? Remember talking on the phone for hours? As a writer I relish the moments when stories unfold with eager innocence and nostalgic tales…I fear for the day when a story states…”we texted for about a week, and finally met….” Natasha beams, “I am so grateful that we got to get to know each other this way, totally old school, but awesome.”
Being from what seems like worlds apart, they decided that the off-season was the perfect time for the two long distance sweethearts to get back to their roots. Natasha left her job and moved back to St. Paul’s to give this relationship a real go. Uprightly, she shares, “It was totally risky, but I think we really both had a good feeling about things. Together, they officially became the Bells on July 17, 2010.
“Two small-town-kids that somehow ended up together.” ~N.B.
Speaking holistically, we can’t ignore a part. Hockey. Natasha’s hubby, Mark, played for San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Kloten Flyers (Switzerland) Syracuse/Anaheim Ducks, Iserlohn Roosters (Germany DEL) and Eisbaren Berlin (Germany DEL), since they have been together. And together they would stay. When I asked Natasha if they had lived apart during his career she admits, “the only time we were apart was when we were getting to know each other so I am grateful it didn’t last long.”
Natasha was not always a fan of hockey but soon came to love it. It’s kind of a part of the deal. This year, Natasha’s hubby retired from professional hockey. Life can change drastically upon retirement. I asked Natasha how she felt about his retirement and their ‘hockey life’, “I am so proud of the career that my husband had. As a small town Canadian boy it’s amazing what he was able to accomplish. Over the course, while there were some ups and downs, as we have reflected on all if it. There isn’t anything we would change. I am so proud of him for the man that he is, and for what he accomplished.”
The transition has been smooth for the most part, which is great, especially since Natasha and Mark are mom and dad to two of the sweetest faced children, Sloane (4.5yrs) and Roman (2.5), and baby number 3 on the way (due in April). The kiddos are seasoned travellers. A priviledge of circumstance. What an adventure. Although born in Canada, Germany was home to them during the season. Playing overseas provides a more ‘family-friendly’ schedule in comparison to North America. Natasha was amazed with the schooling provided for them while overseas, “They adapted so well every season and our daughter in 2 short school years when she was 2 and 3 years old picked up the language! Seriously amazing.” Needless to say, the wee ones are “nothing short of amazing” to the retirement transition for dad. And as for Dad himself? Loving his time at home, is an assistant coaching of their local Junior B hockey team, taking online courses, and is near completion of a business degree.
“I know the transition into retirement can be so challenging in
a variety of ways and while ours hasn’t been perfect, we are so
happy to be building a solid foundation at home for our family. “
Speaking of business, its fair to say that Natasha knows a thing or two about that. Remember in our introduction I mentioned a list of skills to her repetoire? Remember when I said there is also limited opportunity availed to spouses out of their country. Well you will be impressed with this household CEO turned, actual CEO. She is building her own little empire, all from St. Paul’s, Ontario Canada. Here we go…Originally she dreamt of a life in journalism and broadcasting from which she graduated from. When life drifted from Journalism, she turned to another passion that always called her name; Natural Nutrition. Natasha is the brains and face behind The Healthy Ginger, (5 years now) named clearly for her holistic lifestyle and gorgeously enflamed locks. The Healthy Ginger aims to help women and moms connect to a more holistic way of being. She shares recipes, pregnancy health tips, THRIVE health programs, a THRIVE Mom Project, and essential oil concoctions. One visit to this site and you would love it. You will love her. You can tell she is oozing with passion for this venture. “I am so committed and passionate about my wellness community and it gives me so much purpose helping to support others on their health journey.”
Are you oily with it? Essential oils have been at a supreme influx lately, but Natasha has been on the scene for a while. Not only does she promote the use of essential oils in the home, she also has invested herself in building her own business centre with Young Living, one of the best essential oil distributors. You know that saying, when you buy from small business, an actual person does a happy dance? True Story. Natasha’s knowledge, passion, and keen business sense are evidentiary to her success.
She’s covered nutrition, exercise, natural solutions, mom help…why not clothing. Surely she can light up the hockey clothing market with positive intent and trend-setting success? Although having her own clothing company was never on her radar…it was an idea that just wouldn’t go away. Meet Little Ice Tribe.
Together with her life-long friend, Becky, they decided to take the plunge into owning their own business. Build it from the ground up. The idea was rooted by Natasha’s daughter Sloane’s obvious obsession with her dad’s hockey jersey, “but I kept thinking, what can she wear that is cute, somewhat gender neutral, of quality and hockey inspired without it being traditional team wear.” Well she nailed it. This boss woman doesn’t settle for just anything…She had some non-negiotiables…”Without any compromise, our clothes had to be premium quality to stand out. But especially being a Canadian hockey inspired company, our products needed to be made in Canada. That was a non-negotiable. Lastly, being a socially-conscious brand was also necessary.”
Giving back is also something that resonates with Natasha. Since hockey is near and dear to her heart, Little Ice Tribe partnered with Right To Play and their youth hockey foundation. 10% of each sale through Little Ice Tribe goes directly into promoting the game of hockey and creating more access to the sport. “We are so grateful for all that hockey has given our family and this felt like a great cause to align with.”
She encompasses the whole and what it means to make a whole. She has the parts and somehow makes it all work. So inquiring minds need to know, I asked her…’How do you do it all? What is your priority with all of your professional avenues? She confesses that, “Sometimes its a juggling act, when I think about it, it can feel like a lot. I try to bring some intuitive mindfulness to my entrepreneurship. There are seasons in all of my businesses and I try to go with the flow, plan and execute as needed, be prepared and use time management in the most effective way possible.” Spoken like a true boss babe. Noted.
But businesses have their ebb and flows so when it comes down to it, the job that she gives priority to is her family. “It’s never perfect but my family is my priority. My husband has always been my number one support system and fan and we make it work. For right now I have felt a lot of energy and flow in Little Ice Tribe especially because it is still so new.”
Some pointers for other momprenuer hopefuls? Be warned that starting up your own business is not for the faint of heart. Natasha believes that, “if you have an idea, you work through it to make sure it’s viable and that there is a market and you are following something you are trulypassionate about – you can do great things!” The reality has been sweet for their transient lifestyle. Her boss babe experiences have been very rewarding. And the best part for her is that, “you do what you love but it gives you the ability to show up as a mom and wife.” Doing what you love to do doesn’t always mean that you can do it all either. Natasha is a firm believer in asking for help where needed and to rely on your support system often. Both in business and in personal circles. Some of her greatest supporters are rooted in women, from hockey families, that understand the importance of chasing a dream. I am one of them.
“I believe if you are passionate and curious enough, you can
absolutely figure it out.”
As a blogger/writer I am inspired by Natasha Bell. Her level of togetherness is supreme, and all the while she admitted adamentally that its not always perfect or easy, she just figures out a way to handle it. She moms and wifes, she creates and builds, she nourishes possibility and diffuses doubt with natural elixir…and she is absolutely stunning on the inside and out. I hope you leave Her Write Peace today with a sense of inspiration and perspective of what it means to just go for it. To be scared in the uncertainty of it all, but also to revel in how much you are actually capable of doing that hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle.
Natasha, you are doing it right.
Thank you my friend.