Interview with Kristin Smith-Zuccala

Today on What On What’s Good with host Jovin Tardif, I present to you, Kristin Smith-Zuccala. Smith-Zuccala is a two-time Ontario Champion and National Bronze Medalist in Women’s Hockey and Team Captain of Queen’s University. Kristen is also a Fight To End Cancer fighter. Fight to End Cancer assist with raising research dollars with a vision of reaching a goal we all share; To Conquer Cancer.


1. Can we discuss your hockey background?  Kristin Smith-Zuccala, can you describe winning the National bronze Medalist in Women’s Hockey?

I started playing hockey at the age of 4 and never looked back. I played on an AA GTHL team until PeeWee. Afterwards, I joined the OWHA. Then the PWHL before being recruited to Queen’s University on a hockey scholarship. During my time at Queen’s, I was a 4-time academic all-star, 2-time OUA Champion, CIS bronze medalist, and Team Captain during my final two seasons.

Our first championship was in 2011, where we were underdogs heading into playoffs and went on a miraculous run winning all games in overtime, including a game that earned us the title of the second-longest collegiate game played to date. This stunning playoff run was then capped off by the OUA championship title and National Bronze Medal in the final chapter of our “Cinderella Story”.

Our second championship season was in 2013 and while I was leading the team for the second straight year as Captain. Raising the OUA Championship Cup in my graduating year is truly an experience I will never forget.

2. Can you describe your workout routine? Is boxing and hockey the same or a different kind of workout routine?

My current workout routine consists of team training at the Kingsway Boxing Club three times per week, as well as individualized workouts at a local gym and monthly hockey tournaments. While there is a lot of transferable skills between hockey and boxing, the workouts themselves look very different. One of the most challenging parts for me so far has been to maintain the staggered stance required in boxing as this greatly differs to the “squaring up” when one-on-one with an opponent in hockey.

In terms of conditioning required for boxing compared to hockey, that again looks different as we have been training for rounds of 3 minutes in boxing which contrasts the typical 40-45 second shift in hockey. Despite the differences in physical training between the sports, the discipline, mental toughness, patience and resiliency skills required in each are very similar.

3. When did you get into boxing, Kristin Smith-Zuccala?

Boxing has always been a sport I wanted to try but the timing was never right due to my busy hockey seasons. Knowing that it was something that I was interested in, my husband sought out a local gym where he could purchase private lessons for me as a Christmas gift. This is how I met Virgil Barrow at Kingsway Boxing Club and first heard of Fight To End Cancer.

As I learned more about the event, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up and decided to try-out for this year’s team. Fortunately, I was selected as one of the 10 charity boxers for the 2020 Fight To End Cancer and have been training with the team for the past 4 months.

4. Can you tell us more about your experience on a bobsled track with an Olympian? Who was the Olympian? How did it happen? Where and when did this happen?

In the summer of 2018, my husband and I were visiting friends in Calgary and decided to go to Canada’s Olympic Park to try out the summer bobsleigh track. We were fortunate at the time that it wasn’t very busy and we ended up having Olympian Heather Paes driving our bobsleigh for us down the track!

5. Just for fun. Kristin Smith-Zuccala, can you tell us your favourite workout music? Go!

I’ll admit that I’m a creature of habit and tend to listen to the same workout playlist all the time. I don’t want to give all my secrets away to my opponent. However, I will share that the following may or may not be on the playlist – Remember The Name (Fort Minor), The Champ (Nelly), and Best of You (Foo Fighters).

6. Can you give us some insight on Fight to End Cancer, Kristin Smith-Zuccala?

Our team has been busy training at the gym regularly, on top of our typical work schedules. We are fundraising to generate more awareness and support for Fight To End Cancer. Through this incredible journey, I am fighting for the loved ones I’ve lost, the loved ones you’ve lost, the ones currently fighting, and the ones who will have to fight. I am fighting for us.

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Tags: Kristin Smith-Zuccala, boxing, Fight To End Cancer

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.