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Canadian trailblazers Sarah Nurse, Saroya Tinker reflect on experiences of being Black women in hockey

Sarah Nurse and Saroya Tinker know what it's like to feel different, like an outsider.

The Canadian hockey trailblazers recently sat down with CBC Sports for a one-on-one conversation about what it means to be a Black woman in the sport, and how they are mentoring young girls following in their footsteps.

While their success and presence in the hockey space serves as inspiration for the next generation, Nurse and Tinker are also working directly with Black girls to help them realize the same dreams through various initiatives.

"Seeing the young Black girls in the stands, like I can't even believe it; it blows my mind," Nurse told Tinker. "Every time I see a little girl who looks like me or looked like me when I was a kid, it stops me dead in my tracks and gives me goosebumps.

"It just makes me feel seen almost, and it's just as gratifying for me I think as it is for them."

Nurse, 29, of Hamilton, Ont., helped Canada win Olympic gold in 2022 and currently plays as a forward for Toronto's Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) team.

Tinker, 25, transitioned from the ice to league office as the PWHL's Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives & Community Engagement. The former defender from Oshawa, Ont., retired from playing last November after helping the Toronto Six win the Isobel Cup in the Premier Hockey Federation's final season.

Being a role model has always been important for Tinker, who launched the Canadian chapter of the Black Girl Hockey Club (BGHC) in November 2022. The non-profit's mission is to "inspire and sustain passion for the game within the Black community." Tinker began volunteering on the club's scholarship committee and eventually raised $32,000 to start Black Girl Hockey Club Canada,