Monday, 6 July 2015

Proud women’s hockey presence at 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Although the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup ended in heartbreak for Canada, there was a proud hockey presence for the host Canadian team. Although Adriana Leon established herself as a world-class athlete in soccer, her athletic roots can be traced back to hockey.

Having played at the forward position at the Bantam AA level with the Vaughan Flames and the Willowdale Red Wings, the King City raised Leon competed with the prestigious Toronto Aeros at the PWHL level. Of note, Leon would experience many glories with the Aeros, a team that featured superstars such as Erin Ambrose, Jillian Saulnier and third generation hockey player Laura Stacey. As a side note, Ambrose and Saulnier would contribute to Canada’s first-ever gold medal at the IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, earning the chance to appear on hockey cards issued by Upper Deck in their 2011 World of Sports set.

In the aftermath of a 2008 tournament hosted by the Furies, the honor of the Future Star award was bestowed upon her. She would follow it up with MVP honors at the 2008 Can Am Challenge Cup Showcase. She would duplicate the MVP success following the 2008 Stoney Creek Midget AA Showcase. Stocked with elite teams from throughout North America, she scored the tournament-winning goal.

Before making the transition to soccer, the speedy Leon had one more exceptional season of hockey left. It proved to be a year of double gold for Leon and the Aeros, as the powerhouse not only captured the PWHL league championship, but the gold at the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial championships.

Having also played competitive rugby, Leon received an offer from Cornell University to play both hockey and soccer. Instead, she had committed to the Canadian Soccer Association youth program, obtaining a soccer scholarship to Notre Dame University. Of note, she would earn her first cap with the senior team in January 2013. Only adding to her two-sport legend was the fact that she scored the game-winning goal in said debut.

Despite Canada being eliminated by eventual third-place winner England in the quarterfinals, young superstars such as Leon prove that a bright future lays ahead for the program. With the 2016 Rio Summer Games approaching, Leon will be eager to make her Summer Games debut while helping Canada improve on its bronze medal from the London 2012 Games.

References: Hockey Canada

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