Our Grace Ambassador Jordan Gray spent some time this past Thursday getting to know Olympic gold medalist Nicole Hensley. Nicole resides in the US, in Minnesota where she trains with her ice hockey team in preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Nicole shared her story and the beginnings of her ice hockey journey. Nicole, who is now 27, has been playing hockey since she was seven years old. She played on boys hockey teams up until she was about halfway through high school, and then began traveling with the Colorado Select Girls Hockey Association. Moving into her latter years of high school, Nicole began to see an elite path for herself in the sport, engaging with colleges in hopes of gaining the opportunity to play at the next level.
Nicole’s college hockey career was followed by professional success at both the 2016 and 2017 World Championships where she and her team won gold medals, and then another gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Nicole’s most recent victory on the ice came just a few weeks ago at the 2021 World Championships where she and her team won silver medals.
Nicole also shared a bit about the origins of her faith
“I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church most Sundays. My sister was an athlete as well, so we had some pretty busy schedules growing up, but we always tried to make it to church on Sundays.” Nicole explained how having bible study and devotions with some of her teammates in college helped her realize her faith as her own as an adult. She expressed how it was at that point in her life that she began to understand that she was “more than just a hockey player” and saw her sport as an opportunity to live out her Chrisitian values.
Later in their conversation, Jordan and Nicole bonded over their passion for female presence in sports and inspiring young girls to pursue sport through representation. Nicole took the opportunity to add that for her, living with heaven in view creates perspective in life here on earth when times get tough. Even at times when she thought her career might be nearing its end and she considered hanging up her skates, it was her faith in God that kept her inching forward into His plan for her life. Her ultimate advice to others? “Show love.” That’s where the true power in sport lies.
Heaven to the Yeah (HTTY) is an online retail start-up with a mission to encourage people to live with heaven in view and spread the hope of heaven globally. HTTY sponsors children and missionaries on four continents through universally recognized non-profit organizations such as Compassion International and Food for the Hungry.