We’re back shining the spotlight on the amazing women of Oilersnation after a little summer break for me!
This week’s Woman of Oilersnation is Melanie Makowecki, a member of Oilers Twitter, fellow ball hockey player and advocate for women’s sports, and an all around rad woman! Wait until you see how she met her Flames fan husband.
Last month I featured the amazing Krista Gulseth! If you missed it, you can read her feature here!
MEET MELANIE MAKOWECKI
KYLA: Who are you?! What’s your day job, what are your passions, what’s something interesting about you?
MELANIE: Hello! My name is Melanie. I am a mom of two active, awesome kids, a wife to a fLames fan, a huge Star Wars nerd and a caregiver/support person for both of my parents. During the day I am a Forest Management System Customer Service Specialist/Support which is a fancy way of saying forestry consultant and forestry data management.
I have a few things that I am passionate about, first and foremost: my family, football and hockey, the Oilers and Elks and Edmonton Huskies, painting, adventuring and raising awareness for Indigenous values and culture. I was adopted as an infant, so I am Cree and Italian but was raised Ukrainian catholic and didn’t start learning about my Indigenous culture until I was in my 20s. Cheering and supporting women in sports is something I am also trying to do.
KYLA: How did you get into hockey and sports in general?
MELANIE: Through my dad, I’ve listened to hockey and football games on the radio since I can remember. My dad played football growing up and my parents were Oilers fans. When I was young I was part of a Ukrainian dancing group, as were my brother and sister but I also played softball in the spring/summer as a back catcher. My younger brother and sister & I were always playing or building something. We had a basketball hoop in the front of our garage on the farm and after we moved to the city, whenever my brother and his friends were playing street hockey, I joined in. Some of the boys wouldn’t pick me but my brother, who has also supported me, would have me on his team all the time.
Once my kids were old enough to start playing, sports became a huge part of our lives. My son has been playing football since he was seven and now plays for the Edmonton Huskies, he also played hockey for nine seasons. My daughter has played ice hockey as a goalie since she was seven as well, this past year was her last season of minor hockey but she also played football, ball hockey, softball and was involved in school sports too. My husband plays ball hockey and rec hockey and has been a referee for many years.
As a family we watch hockey and football but we are rarely on the same side. Me: Oilers fan. Husband: fLames fan. Son: Sharks fan. Daughter: Bruins fan. For football, I am an Elks and New Orleans Saints fan. My son is a huge Saints fan. My husband cheers for the Patriots and my daughter cheers for the Edmonton Elks.
KYLA: What’s your favourite part of continuing to play hockey as an adult?
MELANIE: After playing with my son’s hockey team as part of their team building/dry land activities, I thought about playing ball hockey. One of my best friends, Kerri-Lynn, contacted WBHE and they were putting in a team of thrown together players. I joined along with our other friend Shannon. I was 37 and what I knew about positioning and playing was mostly from being a hockey mom lol. We’re still playing nine years later and our skills have improved and we’re still having fun. The absolute best part is having my daughter playing alongside me now and the laughs on the bench, dressing room and the floor.
KYLA: Your rock painting is absolutely amazing! How did you get into doing it? Is there a way people can purchase them from you?
MELANIE: Thank you so much. It started as a way to keep my kids entertained when we were camping and there would be a rainy day, we would build rock buddies with the rocks we collected during our walks and fishing attempts. I got back into it during the pandemic as a way of killing time and putting my artistic tendencies to a medium that I liked. A lot of the time, I remember where I picked the rock, which river and what trip. I paint the things that mean a lot to me and get my inspiration from photos I’ve taken and scenery.
KYLA: What’s your favourite Oilers memory?
MELANIE: In no particular order:
- Watching the Oilers dynasty win the cup, especially the last one.
- The ’06 cup run!
- The Battle of Alberta game that happened on April 3, 2013. I made a jersey bet with a Flames fan on Twitter, loser had to wear the opposing team’s jersey. The Oilers won 8-2 and a couple days later I met that Flames fan from Twitter and he had the privilege of wearing my Oilers jersey that afternoon. We’ll be celebrating our third wedding anniversary on August 25th.
- Watching McDavid’s first goal coming back from injury against Columbus. I was sitting in the second tier right above the net when it happened.
- Seeing Ethan Bear wear a name bar with his last name in Cree brought a tear to my eye.
KYLA: What does being a part of the Oilersnation community mean to you?
MELANIE: I love it. Being a part of a community that celebrates and commiserates together is awesome. Knowing you are not alone in the ups and downs of being an Oilers fan is the greatest thing. I have met a lot of people that have turned into great friends because of it.
her Soul Shot shows women how powerful they are through sport by providing resources, community, and inspiration for all women to live their soul’s truth and take their shot in sports.