BRITISH COLUMBIA

'Hockey Wives' Say Their Lives Aren't As Glamorous As You'd Think

03/17/2015 03:05 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT
Corus Entertainment
TORONTO - Emilie Blum is a former intelligence specialist for the U.S. military, Maripier Morin is a TV host in Montreal, and Kodette LaBarbera is a social activist.

They're among the cast members of "Hockey Wives," premiering Wednesday on W Network, and they hope the eight-part series will show that their lives aren't necessarily what fans might expect.

"I thought it was really important to show that not every hockey player makes millions of dollars and there is that kind of fringe player that really struggles and is trying to make it in the NHL," says Blum, who is married to defenceman Jonathon Blum, who has played for the Minnesota Wild but is currently in the minors.

"We have a lot of uncertainty in our lives, we go back and forth between the minor leagues and the NHL, and it's not glamorous. We live out of suitcases and I really wanted to show that it's not about mansions and millions of dollars.

"I'm in it for love, and it's not just a bunch of girls that spend a lot of money. We all have our own aspirations and dreams and there is a struggle there."

Morin, who is dating Montreal Canadiens winger Brandon Prust, notes the two live in a "super tiny" apartment in Montreal.

"I work every day, I have a super busy schedule, so I wanted to show that," she says.

LaBarbera, who is married to Anaheim Ducks goalie Jason LaBarbera, says their eldest son has autism and she was happy to be able to showcase her charity work on the series.

"I just hope that everyone understands that we're all pretty much the same as everyone else," she says.

"Or that we're just relatable, I guess. That we're trying to make it, too."

Seven other women are featured in the show, including Nicole Brown, who's married to Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown, and actress Noureen DeWulf, wife of Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller.

The cast also includes model Martine Forget, a new mom who is engaged to Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier, and choreographer Brijet Whitney, wife of recently retired all-star Ray Whitney.

The roster is rounded out by fashion designer Tiffany Parros, wife of recently retired George Parros; realtor Wendy Tippett, wife of Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett; and athlete and communications expert Jenny Scrivens, wife of Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens.

The WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of the NHL, as they're affectionately referred to in their circles, say they've had to support the players in unique ways while they're on the road.

LaBarbera says she feels "like a single mom" when her husband is away for the whole season, and Blum says she tries to take as much burden as she can off her husband so he can focus on hockey.

"I feel like I'm a maid, a massage therapist, an actual therapist," says Blum.

"We just want to do everything that's possible to make them win," adds Forget.

Says Blum: "Because if they don't win, then you think: 'What could I have done differently to make him score that game or take the burden off of him so that he could have no pressure?'"

Then there's the constant worry of the players getting injured on the ice, or getting traded and having to uproot their families.

"Every day I live in the fear of him being traded," says Morin, co-host of "Menage a trois" on the V French-language network.

The cast members say they were grateful producers simply wanted to document their lives and not put a catty spin on the show, a la "The Real Housewives" franchise.

"I think that's what people are expecting, but that's just not hockey and that's not hockey girls," says LaBarbera, a Nelson, B.C., native.

"There's no drink tossing."

"Hockey Wives" airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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"Hockey Wives" Cast