Denice Pepe: From MMJC to Mattamy

By Erika Pepe

Denice's hometown: London, Ontario

Denice, 24, was the first-ever non-hockey operations staff that was hired for PWHL Toronto.


London, Ont.—The moment six-year-old Denice Pepe saw the puck-drop on a Western Mustangs women's hockey game, her future was never in doubt.

“That one small moment where they took three seconds to sign a mini stick is the reason why I got into sports,” she said of the team who she was introduced to after attending a game.

With her mom working for Western University after immigrating from Indonesia, Denice wanted nothing more than to don the school’s purple and white herself, while also exploring her new-found love for hockey.

While the lack of opportunity for girls to play at the time meant Denice never laced up the skates herself, she found other ways to get involved. Although she wasn’t on the ice to score, she found a passion for telling the story that goes beyond the scoreboard.

The London native developed a seven-year partnership with the London Knights Hockey Club that began in high school. She took on various roles from gameday operations and marketing to working as a content writer.

Fun Fact

Denice learned how to do bird calls after her dad gave her a book about birds and a pair of binoculars to keep her occupied at the cottage. She can do peacock, pigeon, crow, dove and owl calls. She's working on her whip-poor-will call right now.

After her acceptance into Western’s Media, Information & Technoculture (MIT) program in 2018, Denice officially began her long-awaited journey as a ‘Stang.

“Growing up I always said I wanted to go to Western and study writing,” she said. “I fell so hard for the program. I loved the professors and I loved my classmates.”

As Denice finished her undergrad, she heard enthusiastic endorsements for the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication (MMJC) program from past students who emphasized its hands-on approach and close-knit community. Motivated by these testimonials and her passion for storytelling, she chose to continue her academic journey at Western.

“It was the best of both worlds for me. I got to do writing and turn it into a career,” she said.

For the internship portion of MMJC, Denice went back to her hockey roots and worked at Highlight Sports Development. She mentored a team of tween girls who, like her, saw limited pathways for themselves in the sport.

“I still talk to my MMJC classmates almost every day. We have a lot of group chats, and some of them I see at work. It's cool seeing my life intersect in so many ways.“

After graduating from MMJC in 2022, Denice worked at the National Hockey League (NHL) before moving on to do some social media work for Toronto’s Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) team.

While with Toronto’s team, Denice leveraged her MMJC skills to champion a league that's breaking barriers for women—marking a significant stride toward equality in sport.

“Basic photo and video editing skills that we learned is something I do all the time,” she said. “You also need to problem solve a lot, and so knowing how to effectively think critically and communicate is so valuable.”

But above all, Denice finds the most value in using what she learned in MMJC to amplify the stories of female athletes.

“I hope to see more visibility and growth in the sport so women everywhere can not only see it, but be it,” she concluded.

Denice is now looking for her next professional challenge. In a journey that began with the Mustangs and the women’s hockey team that once signed a stick for her, Denice continues to be a trailblazer on the sidelines, paving a path of opportunity for a new generation of girls who fell in love with the sport just like she did.

The MMJC program has allowed many students to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!


Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.