There’s been plenty of changes, on, and off the ice, at the Nottingham Panthers around this, the 2022-23 season, one of those seeing them bring in, late last year, a new media team, to which includes 18-year-old, Sophie Rouse.
It’s been a somewhat meteoric rise for the Bramcote, Social Media Executive because, less than a year ago, she was leaving her job in retail ahead of a girls’ holiday abroad.
With no specific plans as to what she would be doing next, Miss Rouse was surprised to, when in Palma airport readying to head home, receive a phone call from the Panthers, asking if she’d be interested in coming on-board.
Less than eight months later and she is living the dream, for both club, and country, often seen gallivanting the globe with the GB (men, and women alike), set-up.
“I’d done some work at the Women’s Olympic qualifiers (held in Nottingham) last year, then the Men’s worlds,” began Sophie.
“It was whilst with them I got to meet the tournament media teams, and things just progressed from there.
“With the Panthers though, I’d not long left my previous job, in retail, and had gone abroad for a girls’ holiday.”
Changes back home, in Nottingham, meant that that powers-that-be were building a whole new media team, amongst other things, with changes coming both behind-the-scenes, and on the ice.
“I was actually in the airport, about to come home, when the call came from the Panthers,” explained Sophie.
“It’s certainly been fun, interesting, and a big adjustment, the work I do now though, but I wasn’t going to turn it down.
“What we’re doing, it’s a case of bridging the gaps between the club and the players, to our fan-base, through our social media networks.
“I get on well with the platers, and there’s different levels of fun as well – that and I’m also an easy target for them (she laughs).”
The presence of females at clubs, although few-and-far between, at club level, in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), it’s a different scenario on a national/international level.
Although behind-the-scenes (at clubs) there’s an increase in female presence, in the public spotlight, that’s still a little limited, but increasing all the same.
Sophie readily detailing, and delighting in the fact that she has Laura-Jo Bowler (Panthers Physiotherapist) already working there.
“Yes, I’d say that Laura-Jo and I are quite close,” continued Sophie.
“And I guess that, things were made easier for me that, when I came here, I arrived at the same time as some of the players, so I was accepted more/quicker; it’s because of that, they’re all fully on-board with me.
“Overall though, I guess that (not here) you do experience that women aren’t as readily accepted in the sport.
“For me though, I’ve seen this club at different levels, because of my parents; they have let me make my own decisions, and be more independent.
“I know what I’m doing though, and I have my routines, which the players know; I’m comfortable in my surroundings whilst also being aware of the responsibility which goes with the position.”
As for the differences between the male and female stanza within ice hockey, Rouse, although has more dealings, on a day-to-day basis, with men (due to her position with the Panthers), has developed enjoyment in both.
“I was recently in Poland, with the GB teams,” added Rouse.
“And I do enjoy going away with the women’s teams; I have differing roles to ‘play’ with each of the age groups, whether that’s as a mother figure, the little or big sister, it varies depending on where I’m at and who I’m with.
“As for women within the sport overall, at the top of the federation, there’s a lot more involved, whereas there’s times, I’m the only one there.
“It’s interesting though, and the growth (of women in ice hockey) is there; I do get quite a lot of messages from other women say, asking how they’d get into it.
“For me though, everything just fell into place, at the right time, really.”
Keep up-to-date with all things Nottingham Panthers via their Facebook Twitter and website www.panthers.co.uk.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @PanthersImages Sophie Rouse has experience working with Team GB.