Sure, we know the guys behind the game, but after Wednesday night we’re going to know the gals behind those guys too. And judging by the promos for W Network’s incoming reality experiment
Hockey Wives, we’re all going to know them pretty damn
intimately. As a primer ahead of the show’s premiere, The Hockey News asked some of the cast members to fill us in on what to expect when the puck drops Wednesday night at 10 p.m. EST.
THN: What’s the one thing no one knows about being a hockey wife?
Emilie Blum (wife of Minnesota Wild’s Jonathon Blum): My husband is up and down between the AHL and NHL often, so we live out of suitcases most of the season. We spent like 78 nights in hotels last season ... this season has had a little more stability, but I always have to be prepared to pack up our stuff and leave literally at a moment’s notice.
Martine Forget (fiancé of Toronto Maple Leafs Jonathan Bernier): Some people think being a hockey wife is so glamorous, that we spend money all the time, we go shopping, we go to brunch every other day and party. The reality is some of the wives are working full-time – they have their own businesses, others have babies, so they are busy with them. And the ones that are not working most of the time it's because they are from other countries and they don't have a work visa.
Tiffany Parros (married to recently retired Montreal Canadiens’ George Parros): There is a room for wives in every stadium.
Brijet Whitney (married to retired player Ray Whitney): We hold more of a grudge about 'hockey stuff' than our guys do.
Wendy Tippett (wife of Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett): I think the thing no one knows is how much our lives revolve around the game. Winning and losing can dictate the entire family’s mood.
THN: Did you have any hesitations about doing this show?
Martine Forget: English is not my first language so it's not easy for me to do a documentary about our life when you have to talk only in English when usually you speak French. And I was scared that it was going to be drama between the wives/girlfriends like other reality shows we usually see on TV.
Maripier Morin (girlfriend of Montreal Canadiens’ Brandon Prust): Not really because it’s not a reality-show like the Housewives shows… I think the production really wants to show a portrait of what it is to be with a professional athlete, from getting into the league to retiring and everything that happens in the middle.
Brijet Whitney: I had
every hesitation possible about it.
THN: What do you do to stay busy while your husband’s on the road?
Kodette LaBarbera (wife of Anaheim Ducks’ Jason LaBarbera): The usual – go to the gym, wander the aisles of Target, chase garbage trucks, drive around looking at Ryder’s favorite street signs…you’ll see all of it on the show!
Maripier Morin: I work probably 70 hours a week, between my TV show, my drinks line, the restaurant we own, my contract with LOULOU magazine, and all the other projects I work on.
Tiffany Parros: Clean!
Nicole Brown (wife of Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown): My four kids always keep me busy!
THN: Honesty time: did you really like hockey before you met your man?
Emilie Blum: I was like the son my dad never had. He used to take me to games all the time as a kid. But to be honest, I still get a little burnt out on hockey towards the end of the season…going to the games as a wife is a lot less fun than going as a fan!
Kodette LaBarbera: Yes, I liked hockey…but to be really honest, I still don’t understand all the rules!
Martine Forget: No. (Laughs.) I didn't watch hockey at all before I met Jonathan – just sometimes with friends, but it was more a get together for me than watching the game. Now I enjoy watching it, but I still don't know that much about it.
Tiffany Parros: I grew up in a hockey family. Both my younger sisters played very competitively. My sister Krystal actually got offered a full ride to Boston College, but opted for the higher education at Brown. My Brother played Juniors with George in Chicago, which is how we met.
THN: What’s the best thing about being a hockey wife?
Martine Forget: During summer they don't work – they have workouts in the morning and that's it so summer is really fun to be with them and we have more time to be together.
Maripier Morin: I don’t find much good. I love my boyfriend more than anything in the world, but for me, hockey is his work and I just have to deal with our reality.
Noureen DeWulf (married to Vancouver Canucks’s Ryan Miller): My husband is a total stud to all my friends and family!
Brijet Whitney: Besides shoes and handbags? (Kidding.) Getting the chance to live in different cities and making lifelong friends along the way.
Wendy Tippett: The best part about being a hockey wife is the close friends you meet on the teams and being able to live in so many cities. I love starting over in a new city and learning all the secret spots to go. Every city has something that I’m so sad to leave, but then there’s a new one to explore!
THN: Aside from your own, which wife or girlfriend has the cutest husband?
Emilie Blum: I was definitely a bit mesmerized when I met George Parros… especially when he took off his shirt! (Laughs.) Apparently he is shirtless pretty often during this season of Hockey Wives… That’s definitely a good thing!
Maripier Morin: I have to say George Parros.
Tiffany Parros: None of the other guys meet my height requirement.
Brijet Whitney: Tiffany Parros. Hi, George.
THN: Because it’s in the promo, which hubby (aside from you own) looks like he might have the most “stamina?”
Kodette LaBarbera: Ray Whitney. Final answer.
Noureen DeWulf: The goalie is on the ice for the entire time, I think that about answers it.
Brijet Whitney: And…. one more for vote for Greek God, George Parros.
Wendy Tippett: I’m way too old to answer that one!
THN: Has being a Hockey Wife ever turned your world around (specifically)?
Emilie Blum: I was in the Army when I met my husband, but after we got engaged I had to make the decision not to re-enlist because it was too hard to balance my military career and his hockey career. Both require a huge commitment and we did not want to have a long-distance marriage.
Noureen DeWulf: Well, currently I'm in Vancouver and nine months pregnant and usually I’m in Los Angeles on a TV show so I would say so, yes, right now I’m pretty turned around.
Tiffany Parros: I've moved six times in two years. Three states, two countries. So, yeah...
THN: What’s the best thing about being a part of this Hockey Wives support group?
Noureen DeWulf: You don't have to explain yourself all the time.
Tiffany Parros: We understand each other.
Brijet Whitney: The best thing is the “understanding” we have for what's going on in each other’s lives and the fact that we really do become one another's families.
Wendy Tippett: The wives are like sisters to each other. We understand each other in ways that only people sharing an experience can.
THN: The worst?
Emilie Blum: Hockey is such a small world, so you have to play nice or you will get a bad reputation!
Noureen DeWulf: Having to have forced conversations all the time with women who are very different than you.
Nicole Brown: It’s hard to get close to people when they could be traded, sent down, etc., at any time.
THN: Do you ever feel judged?
Maripier Morin: Not judged, but sometimes people seem to question why Brandon and I aren’t engaged or married. It amuses me. We are different and always have been. I like to do things my way, and I come from a place where people don’t really get married anymore. I like my independence, if it has to happen one day, it’s because we’re going to feel like it’s the right thing to do for us, not that people wants us do it.
Kodette LaBarbera: Sometimes. We find ourselves justifying our lives quite often, usually to people who just don’t take the time to understand.
Nicole Brown: Yes! All the time, it’s not a great feeling.
Wendy Tippett: I am too old to let what other people think dictate my life. There will always be “judgers” out there. I’m only in control of how I treat other people, so I try not to judge anyone as I have no idea what their walk has been like.
THN: How do you deal with the haters?
Noureen DeWulf: I pray for them and then I block them.
Tiffany Parros: Every time I think of haters I think of Noureen. She's made it. She's so talented, self-made, and yet she gets them all the time. She just laughs it off and says, “They hate us ‘cause they ain't us.” She says it tongue and cheek, just a reminder not to take them seriously.
Wendy Tippet: I haven’t spent too much time with haters.
THN: “Puck bunny:” cute term or disparaging remark?
Kodette LaBarbera: I actually can't believe that term is still around.
Martine Forget: Oh, you don't want to be called puck bunny, so if people do it's bad for you, girl.
Maripier Morin: Disparaging remark. 100 percent.
Noureen DeWulf: Seems harmless. Bunnies are cute and fluffy, you can’t be mad at that.
Brijet Whitney: I haven't heard that expression for over 20 years! Is it still around?!
Wendy Tippett: Disparaging…but sometimes fitting.
Amber Dowling is a freelance lifestyle/entertainment writer, yoga and wine enthusiast and all-around player of sports. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.