Hockey Wives back for third season
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.