“I gained a lot of confidence through the sport,” she said. “I was able to grow.”
But one area of that development, she said, lacked growth.
“We would have older girls come on the ice and help out, and oftentimes they were great, (but) it was just harder sometimes, I think, because they didn’t look like me,” she said. “Oftentimes, the teams you were playing against didn’t have anybody that looked like (me), either.”
She doesn’t play competitive hockey anymore, so when Lundgren heard the Lino Lakes-based BIPOC Play It Forward was collecting donated hockey gear to give to more under-represented groups to explore the sport she loved, she reached out to founder Erik Jamison-Ekeling.
Jamison-Ekeling, a former Centennial High School Cougars captain and former University of Minnesota club team player, said he started the group to get more BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) people involved in hockey.
“After the George Floyd murder, I knew I wanted to do something that I could bring action to in terms of racial justice,” he said. “I knew I could make immediate impact–in hockey. Hockey’s as white a sport as (possible).”
BIPOC Play it Forward encourages anyone with unused hockey gear to donate, and coming up on May 21, that gear will be distributed at a Hockey is For Everyone Event. The gear will be laid out at Centennial Ice Arena for anyone who wants to pick up some needed gear, and then they’ll have a chance to play on the same ice Lundren and Jamison-Ekeling played on for so many years.
The pair now try to get out the word about the opportunities they and others want to create to get more people involved in the sport that gave them so much.
“Our goal is to lower that high barrier to entry,” said Lundren.