Hockey Wives back for third sea­son

The Observer (Sarnia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - PAT ST. GER­MAIN

Que­be­cois TV star Marip­ier Morin is the se­ries’ fran­chise player, but all six women on W Net­work’s lat­est Hockey Wives ros­ter are MVPs of the home game.

Four rook­ies join Morin and California-based first-sea­son alum Em­i­lie Blum when the third sea­son pre­mieres April 19, and they’re not all stan­dard re­al­ity-fare is­sue.

That’s not to say there’s no drama in Wed­nes­day’s opener — bick­er­sons Morin and fi­ancé Brandon Prust de­liver the goods on that front — but the show piv­ots on sur­pris­ingly can­did glimpses into the women’s strug­gles to strike a bal­ance be­tween stand­ing by their man and find­ing their own feet.

That’s not easy when the ground is con­stantly shift­ing, with abrupt trades and de­mo­tions tak­ing their hus­bands and boyfriends across the coun­try, or across the ocean to Europe.

Blum, mar­ried to for­mer Nashville Preda­tors and Min­nesota Wild de­fence­man Jonathan Blum, is es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble. Last seen telling Jonathan she’d never move to Rus­sia when he joined the KHL, she re­turned to Hockey Wives to show view­ers that it was ac­tu­ally a great ad­ven­ture.

How­ever, first child Jack­son’s birth in De­cem­ber presents a new dilemma on the show, which com­pleted tap­ing in Fe­bru­ary. As the sea­son opens, Blum con­sid­ers hav­ing in­duced labour so Jonathan can be present at the birth, and she feels torn and judged by her fam­ily. Spoiler alert: A timely el­bow in­jury brought him home to California in the nick of time. And we can look for­ward to an aw-shucks mo­ment later in the sea­son, when the baby meets the Blum’s chi­huahua-cross dogs Teddy and Freddy for the first time.

“I was so ner­vous; I didn’t know how they would re­act,” Em­i­lie Blum says. “Small dogs are not usu­ally known to be great with ba­bies and they’re so used to get­ting all the at­ten­tion. But ... there were cam­eras film­ing when we came home from the hos­pi­tal (and) it’s re­ally cool to see how the dogs re­acted, too, to their ‘brother’ com­ing home.”

A for­mer mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst, Blum gave up her ca­reer when she mar­ried Jonathan. But she’s filled the void, fos­ter­ing res­cue dogs and work­ing with a Seat­tle­based or­ga­ni­za­tion to place home­less dogs from California and, more re­cently, from Be­larus, Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan.

“They fly them in to give them an­other chance at find­ing a good life,” she says. “I’ve re­ally thrown my­self into an­i­mal res­cue be­cause it’s a way for me to have my iden­tity back and my pas­sions. And I’ve also found a great new iden­tify with be­ing a mom — I had no idea I would be so ma­ter­nal.”

Blum has also found a great friend and role model in Erica Lund­mark, whose hus­band Jamie Lund­mark has played pro hockey for 18 years, the last five in Europe.

Based in Philadel­phia, Lund­mark man­ages to hold it to­gether with three kids, two dogs, a busy realestate ca­reer and a hus­band who’s ab­sent for half the year.

She was a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales rep when she met Jamie in New York. They mar­ried and bought a house, but she had to move in by her­self when the Rangers traded him to the Phoenix Coy­otes. He was traded to Cal­gary a few months later and, over the next five years, they started a fam­ily and moved to L.A., Toronto, Rus­sia and back to Cal­gary. Ob­vi­ously, con­tin­u­ing her ca­reer was not an op­tion.

“It was dev­as­tat­ing to me be­cause I had worked re­ally hard for that,” she says. “Hon­estly, it drove me crazy. I didn’t go through col­lege and work so hard for ev­ery­thing I had to just not have it any more. So once we had our third baby and I knew that she was our last be­cause she’s our girl — we fi­nally got our girl — and that was it. I said, ‘I’m go­ing back to work,’ and I was ac­tu­ally in the de­liv­ery room with her study­ing for my real-es­tate exam.”

A few weeks later, she launched her own busi­ness, and she’s found a niche help­ing pro­fes­sional ath­letes and their fam­i­lies find homes and get set­tled in the Philadel­phia area.

“I want to make their lives a lit­tle bit eas­ier than it was for me,” Lund­mark says. “I think I’ve been a re­ally good re­source for other young ath­lete fam­i­lies.”

While she’s been through the wringer, Lund­mark makes it work, with fam­ily vis­its to Aus­tria, FaceTime at bed­time and tex­ting at the crack of dawn.

“If he’s happy, I’m happy, and we’re both very sup­port­ive of each other,” she says. “He’s just as sup­port­ive of me as I al­ways have been of him.”

Lund­mark says sev­eral of her friends have ap­peared on Hockey

Wives in the past — she ap­peared briefly to help one of them find a home in sea­son 2 — and she likes that fact that it shows view­ers what a fam­ily goes through be­hind the scenes of a player’s ca­reer, bad and good.

“There’s a lot of re­ally pos­i­tive things,” she says. “I’m so thank­ful for ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment we’ve ever had in the hockey world be­cause we’ve just learned so much and I’ve worked all over the world and my kids have seen the world, and that’s just such a cool ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The lead­ing ladies of Hockey Wives, from left to right: Erica Lund­mark, Em­i­lie Blum, Cather­ine LaFlamme, Marip­ier Morin, Mar­tine Au­clair Vla­sic, Vanessa Van­dal. Sea­son 3 pre­mieres April 19 on W Net­work.

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