Sunday, 22 March 2015

CWHL Blueliner of the Year Tara Watchorn one step closer to Triple Gold honors

As the legend of the Clarkson Cup continues to grow, one of the interesting subplots of the event is the growing member of skaters that shall earn Triple Gold status. First conceived by Andrew Podnieks, the Triple Gold Club for Women (which deserves to be recognized by the IIHF) acknowledges those that have claimed Winter Games gold, IIHF World gold and the Clarkson.

Since its inception of the Clarkson Cup in 2009, each year has seen a player from a Cup winning team gain this prestigious accomplishment. Last year, three women earned Triple Gold status, including Natalie Spooner (becoming the first woman to win Winter Games gold and the Clarkson in the same year), Tessa Bonhomme and CWHL co-founder Sami Jo Small.

This year, the honor of Triple Gold status has not yet been bestowed upon any member of the Boston Blades. Newly minted Clarkson Cup champions such as Brianna Decker, Monique Lamoureux and Tara Watchorn are two-thirds of the way there. Of note, Decker and Lamoureux are missing Winter Games gold while Watchorn needs gold at the IIHF Women’s Worlds.

Although Watchorn can hope to gain such status with gold at the 2015 edition of the IIHF Women’s Worlds in Malmo, Sweden, she did emerge from the Clarkson Cup with some extra hardware. Earning the CWHL’s Defenseman of the Year Award, she was joined by Brianna Decker, who gained the CWHL’s Rookie of the Year Award.

In the aftermath of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, had anyone predicted that Team USA’s Brianna Decker and Team Canada’s Tara Watchorn would be teammates at the CWHL level, winning a Clarkson Cup together, it would have seemed impossible. Fast forward a little over one year and the two would not only provide the black and gold with their second title in three seasons, but both would register points in the title game.

A free-agent signing by the Blades, Watchorn would prove to be one of the best signings in the offseason. Of note, Watchorn would led all blueliners in CWHL play with 20 points, as fellow Blades blueliner (and Team USA member at Sochi), Monique Lamoureux logged 18 points, providing a potent one-two punch among its blueline corps.

For Watchorn, signing with the Blades represented a special homecoming. Despite being raised in Newcastle, Ontario, where she played Triple-A hockey alongside future NHLer Matt Duchene in 2000-01 as members of the Central Ontario Wolves, Watchorn established herself as a superstar with the Boston University Terriers.

Earning multiple Hockey East All-Star nods (2010, 2012), along with a Hockey East All-Rookie honor and Division I New England All-Star recognition, she would log 83 career points with the Terriers. In 2010, she rose to icon status by scoring an overtime goal that delivered the Hockey East postseason title.

The chance to assist on the Cup clinching goal for the Blades in 2015 only added to her New England hockey legend. After several seasons at the CWHL level with Team Alberta (now rechristened as the Calgary Inferno), the 2015 edition of the Clarkson Cup represented Watchorn’s first taste of the postseason. Watchorn would not be disappointed as her first postseason resulted in a Clarkson Cup win. Adding to the jubilation of the win is the fact that Watchorn logged an assist on Janine Weber’s Cup-winning goal.

While the next goal is earning her first gold medal in IIHF Women’s World Championship play, Watchorn has certainly earned a special place in the hearts and minds of New England hockey fans, as she only adds to a remarkable sporting legend there. The prestige of Triple Gold would certainly earn the same recognition among proud Canadian hockey fans.

Images obtained from:

1 comment:

  1. Tara has such passion for her team and hockey.
    A very special woman, indeed.