Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler Interview

The Q And A With Miss Virginia: The Coolest Hockey Goalie You'll Ever Meet

3/12/09 in NHL   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

Was there a particular goalie that you looked up to as you moved up through hockey?

I always looked up to Manon Rhéaume, she was the Canadian Olympic team goalie and she also played exhibition games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. She was the type of woman who was very strong but she was feminine too at the same time and I always thought that was a cool balance.

Do you think a woman goalie could ever play in the NHL in non-exhibition style games?

Oh absolutely, I’ve seen some girls who are just phenomenal and I’ve played ice hockey with girls who were some of the best on the men’s team. So I don’t see it as out of reach for a woman to some day be able to play in the NHL and be an incredible asset to a team.

How often do you still play?

I try to get on the ice as often as I can, especially since I’m doing all these charity shootouts and I don’t want to go out there and look like a fool in front of some professional hockey players. I have tried to play incognito before, and was recognized. I’m looking for a paint sponsor for my mask to maybe put the Miss Virginia crown and airbrush it on the hockey mask, then I’ll definitely be recognized every time I play pickup. But I think it would be funny for the charity shootouts.

How do you combine your hockey background with your pageant background?

One of my big goals this year was to break down the negative stereotypes that surround pageants and I thought a great way to do that would be to combine hockey and pageantry and I thought it would be a great way to raise money for charity. I’ve done 4 shootouts, 3 of them were charity to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and the "Cheetas" hockey program for disabled children. One was with Virginia Tech, one was with the Norfolk Admirals, and one was with high school All-Stars and they were both incredibly successful and I’d love to continue doing that for the next few years, however much longer I can play hockey. But I think it was just a cool way to get a new group of people excited about pageants and seeing us in a different light and get them excited about charities like the Children’s Miracle Network and Cheetas too, and it raised money for two great causes. I've also partnered with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money for pediatric cancer research. My goal is to raise $500,000 by April 11th and if I do, I'll shave my head.
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