Sunday, 29 October 2017

Riveters top Pride in historic game at Prudential Center

Originally Published on Women Talk Sports

Commemorating an exciting partnership with the New Jersey Devils, things started off in grand fashion as the Metropolitan Riveters hosted the Boston Pride at the Prudential Center. Considering that this was the first NWHL game contested in an NHL arena, it contributed to the sense of achievement that defined this new chapter in league lore.

Heading into the historic contest, there was no shortage of intrigue. Of note, this match provided Janine Weber with a sense of homecoming. The first-ever player signed in league history with the Riveters back in 2015, Weber joined the Boston Pride in the off-season. Making her regular season debut with the Pride in such a landmark match against her former team, with the number 26 adorned on the back of her jersey, it brought Weber's career full circle.

With 11 players, including Winter Games silver medalist Erika Lawler, making their NWHL debuts in this game, there were several other unique plotlines. In addition to Jillian Dempsey, switching her traditional number 3 in favor of 14, being named Pride captain for 2017-18, there were a pair of Riveters making their mark this season.

Kelsey Koelzer, the only African-American player taken first overall in a professional ice hockey draft, was making her regular season debut with the Riveters. Having made her first appearance in the 2017 edition of the NWHL playoffs, wearing number 11, she had a respectable preseason. Having adopted the number 55, she paced all players on the club with seven shots on goal.

Coming out of retirement, Harrison Browne, who captured an Isobel Cup championship with the Buffalo Beauts, signed with the Riveters as a free agent. Providing the Riveters with strong leadership and the big game experience that may help the franchise capture its first title next spring, Browne made a strong statement against the Pride.

At the 8:28 mark of the first period, Browne scored a short-handed goal, unassisted, for the first-ever NWHL goal scored in an NHL arena. On the opposite end of this historic goal was Brittany Ott, the league's first-ever Goaltender of the Year Award winner, and a 2016 Clarkson Cup champion.

Before the period would expire, Miye D'Oench would add to the Riveters lead as Alexa Gruschow, an alum of RPI, and Koelzer earned the assists, resulting in Koezler's first regular season point. In the second period, D'Oench would reciprocate, gaining the assist on a goal by Gruschow, with less than three minutes remaining in the period. The other assist was credited to Browne, as the Riveters boasted a 3-0 lead.

Although the Pride peppered Riveters goaltender Katie Fitzgerald with 22 shots over the first two periods, she displayed the skills that made her the league's Goaltender of the Year in 2017, refusing to be intimidated by the defending regular season champions.

The third period would see the Pride spoil Fitzgerald's efforts for a shutout as Meagan Mangene recorded the Pride's first goal of the regular season. One of four free agents from the Connecticut Whale that signed with the Pride, Mangene's goal was assisted by Heather Schwarz and fellow Whale free agent Haley Skarupa.

In spite of the shutout aspirations foiled, Fitzgerald remained a stone wall against a frustrated Pride defense. A little over a minute following Mangene's goal, the Pride enjoyed a power play opportunity as Tatiana Rafter was sent to the penalty box for a hooking call. Successfully nullifying the Pride's power play, Fitzgerald's confidence helped set the tone for the remainder of the period.

With a dejected Pride roster playing with an empty net in the last minute of play, All-Star Rebecca Russo would log the Riveters' fourth goal of the game, putting any hopes of a comeback definitely out of reach, as Fitzgerald became the first goaltender to win an NWHL regular season game in an NHL arena. Stopping 30 of 31 shots for a sparkling .968 save percentage in a 4-1 final, Fitzgerald picked up where she left off last season, providing the Riveters with a goaltender that can transform them into a championship contender.

The next game for the Riveters continued the trend of history, as they challenge the Buffalo Beauts at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex in Rochester, New York on November 4. As the first regular season game to be hosted in a neutral site, Browne faces off against his former team for the first time, while the Beauts feature a trio of Canadian-born free agent talent including Sarah Edney, Jess Jones and Rebecca Vint.

Monday, 23 October 2017

New-look Thunder sweep visiting Kunlun Red Star in key early season series

Originally published on Women Talk Sports

In the aftermath of the CWHL's 10th Anniversary season, the key theme for the 2017-18 season is one defined by change. Welcoming a pair of expansion teams from China, the Kunlun Red Star and the Vanke Rays, there is great potential for the leagues balance of power to experience a seismic shift.

Contributing to the theme of change also involves the relocation of one of the CWHL's charter teams. The Brampton Thunder, who captured the leagues inaugural championship, relocated to the York Region municipality of Markham, Ontario, located north of Toronto.

Abandoning its traditional red and black color scheme in favor of a green motif, it marks a radical departure for the Thunder, truly signifying the beginning of a new era.

Hosting the Kunlun Red Star during its opening weekend, it resulted in history colliding for both franchises. Considering that the Red Star were playing in their first-ever game, simultaneously, their North American debut, it is a roster that features world-class talents such as Shiann Darkangelo, Noora Raty, Kelli Stack, plus Jessica Wong, who was the first overall pick of the 2013 CWHL Draft, selected by the Calgary Inferno.

Undoubtedly, it was a highly anticipated event which would determine whether this collection of talent for Red Star was truly worthy of their preseason status as a Clarkson Cup contender.

With the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening ceremonies at the Thornhill Community Centre, which included OWHA President, and IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame member, Fran Rider, plus Team Canada 1972 legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, a member of the Red Stars Board of Directors, it added a touch of class to a capacity crowd that was on-hand to witness history.

Anticipation was high as to which player would score the first goal in the history of the Red Star, along with the first goal of the Thunder's new era in Markham. Of note, Dania Simmonds, who was raised in the York Region community of Aurora was bestowed the honor of the team captaincy, etching her name in team lore.

The feeling of homecoming was accentuated by the fact that goaltender Liz Knox was given the start for the Thunder. A former member of Canadas national womens ice hockey team, and a Brodrick Trophy winner while competing with the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, she grew up in the neighboring community of Stouffville. The opportunity to start between the pipes for the first professional regular season womens hockey game in Markham accentuated her legacy.

Emotions ran high as a penalty was called before the opening faceoff as Wong and Markhams Devon Skeats, who captured an Isobel Cup in 2017 with Buffalo, were both called for roughing. Unfortunately for Skeats, she would be called for a tripping penalty just 36 seconds after exiting the penalty box, providing the Red Star with the games first power play.

At the 3:14 mark of the first period, it would be Knox that would become intertwined with Red Star history, as she allowed their first-ever goal. Madison (Maddie) Woo, who played her NCAA hockey at the Ivy League level with the Brown Bears (serving as their leading scorer in 2016-17) scored unassisted, providing the Red Star with the games first lead.

After the goal, Woo would be called for a pair of penalties within a time span of less than three minutes. Called for roughing after the whistle at 6:42, she would return to the penalty box at 9:18 for a hooking penalty. Tensions continued as the period progressed, as three players were called for a roughing penalty. With Naixin Zhou gaining the penalty for the Red Star, a pair of Thunder players would also be sent to the penalty box as second year player Jessica Hartwick was joined by the Laura McIntosh, returning to the Thunder after a season spent coaching with the Laurier Golden Hawks.

With a second period involving just one penalty (a cross checking call to Kristen Richards), the tone of the game was emerging as a defensive stalemate, as Raty and Knox were putting on a brilliant display of goaltending. Before the period would expire, Raty would allow the first goal of her CWHL career, as All-Star Jamie Lee Rattray scored Markhams first-ever goal, unassisted, to a roar of approval from the crowd.

Rattray would score again in the third period, with York University alum Kristen Barbara registering the assist for her first career point in CWHL play. In spite of Ratray's heroics, the outcome of the game was far from determined, as more than 15 minutes of tense, scoreless play proceeded. Physical play ensued between Rattray and Kelli Stack at the 16:11 mark, with Stack called for slashing, while Rattray was sent to the penalty box for the Thunders second call of roughing after the whistle.

With Simmonds still in the box for a slashing call, it provided the Red Star with a power play opportunity. Once again, Knox rose to the occasion, nullifying the Red Stars frustrated offense.

Playing with a remarkable sense of determination, eager to not disappoint the friends and family on-hand to see her play, Knox, the local hero, assembled a peerless performance that was the game of her life. Such heroics were affirmed when she denied Rachel Llanes, who has won both the Clarkson and Isobel Cups in her career, on a penalty shot with only 22 seconds remaining in the game.

Fittingly, Howe would be recognized as the First Star of the Game, preserving the 2-1 lead for the first victory in Markham history, handing the Red Star a loss in its debut, while the fans in attendance honored her with a tremendous display of applause. Scoring sensation Rattray was recognized as the Game's Second Star, recording the first game-winning goal in Markham history, while Llanes became the first Red Star player to gain such postgame honors, earning Third Star.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Meghan Duggan represents women’s hockey on ESPY Awards Red Carpet

Although it was comedian, Bill Maher who called the ESPY Awards “the lamest awards show”, the reality of the event is that it goes beyond awards, and serves as a chance to celebrate sport while allowing a rare opportunity for world-class athletes from numerous sports to be gathered under one venue. Among the athletes, on-hand for this star-studded gala in Hollywood included Meghan Duggan.

As the captain of the United States women’s ice hockey team, Duggan is so much more than just the face of its team. She represents a movement that has seen women fight bravely for sporting equality, as evidenced by the national team’s courageous effort in pay equity.

Considering that the struggle of these wondrous female hockey gladiators for fairness, along with the potential boycott of the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan, making international news, the women of the US national team would have been most worthy of the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage in Sport. Although such an honor was not meant to be, ESPN has definitely acknowledged what such a courageous effort meant for these players, and subsequently, the game’s growth.

Not only was it an opportunity for the sporting community to catch up to Duggan and her remarkable heroics, highlighted by her historic standing as the first captain to lead an American team to gold at the IIHF Women’s Worlds on home soil, there was also the dual purpose of recognizing the athletes featured in the 2017 Body Issue. It was one that included a significant women’s hockey presence, as an unprecedented six members of the US national women’s ice hockey team were featured in its pages.

In addition to Duggan, assistant captain Kacey Bellamy, Brianna Decker, who was recognized as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 IIHF Women’s Worlds, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, along with goaltender Alex Rigsby (who captured a Frozen Four title in 2011 at Wisconsin with Duggan and Decker as her teammates) redefined team spirit, providing a unique viewpoint. Donning just their skates and a captivating confidence, this “Spectacular Six” turned the world of women’s hockey on its ear, while reinforcing the message that “Strong is Beautiful”.

Traditionally, the evening before the ESPY Awards, features a Body Issue celebration, in which all featured athletes grace the red carpet flashing both a smile and the photo from the Issue. Although Duggan was the only member of the US team that was present, her presence encompassed the positive message of her teammates, extending what has proven to be an empowering year for women’s ice hockey in the United States.

Following it up with a chance to attend the ESPY Awards, the entire experience was one that shall provide Duggan with a lifetime of memories, while affirming her status as one of America’s sporting heroes. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other female sporting giants such as Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Lindsey Vonn, the feeling of achievement, encouragement and glamor all intersected on the red carpet.

Having also visited the Young Hollywood Studio and the GBK Pre-ESPY Event at Luxe on Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, California, there was another unique facet for Duggan. The night before the ESPY Awards, Duggan ran into New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Although Duggan grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, gaining the opportunity to grace the mound at Fenway Park an amazing three times in her career, the presence of Jeter may provide a very unique omen.

Leading into the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, the training camp for the US national women’s team shall take place in the non-traditional hockey market of Tampa, Florida. Taking into account that the Yankees hold their spring training camp in Tampa, where Legends Field serves as the preseason home for so many of the modern greats of Yankees lore, the Tampa connection may be the element of good luck that propels the US team to its first Winter Games gold medal since 1998, which would provide Duggan with the ultimate milestone that would help enhance the fascinating journey which also included the ESPY Awards.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thunder leaves behind remarkable legacy in Brampton as it moves to Markham

Although the decade-long history of the CWHL has seen teams fold (the most recent were the Burlington Barracudas), there was always a sense of security surrounding the Brampton Thunder. Considering that the history of the Brampton Canadette-Thunder dates back over 50 years (it was one of the first teams Fran Rider played with when she was a teenager), the legacy of the organization was reinforced during the game’s revitalization in the 1990s.

From the Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League to its occupancy in the original NWHL, the Thunder were one of the inaugural franchises in the CWHL. Undoubtedly, most would have perceived it as one of the league’s signature franchises, perhaps its backbone. Of note, the Thunder captured the league’s inaugural championship, as Molly Engstrom scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the Mississauga Warriors (another defunct team). With a championship roster that also featured former softball star Cindy Eadie, CWHL co-founder Allyson Fox, along with Winter Games heroes Lori Dupuis, Jayna Hefford and Vicky Sunohara, it truly lived up to the billing of “dream team”.

Those wondrous women certainly followed an amazing legacy as the competitors who have donned the Thunder colors over the decades reads like a who’s who of women’s hockey. To begin the 2011-12 CWHL season, Angela James, the first Canadian woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame also served as its head coach. A constant fixture at the Esso Women’s Nationals (the predecessor to the Clarkson Cup), the Thunder were part of some of the greatest games contested in the 2000s.

During the days of the original NWHL, goaltender Sami Jo Small (who would later be a founder of the CWHL) once scored a goal as a member of the Thunder. Even Natalie Spooner played in a game with the Thunder, wearing their jersey for a charity fundraiser against NHL alum.

Heading into the 2017-18 CWHL season, it will be very difficult for some hardcore fans to absorb, as it shall mark the first without Brampton on its schedule. Instead, the club shall compete in the York Region community of Markham. The community’s impact still resonates within league annals. Having done a superlative job as host city for three consecutive Clarkson Cup championships (2013-15), it now takes its place as a full-time member of the CWHL’s family of teams.

Of note, this is not the first time York Region has hosted CWHL hockey. Among the CWHL’s charter teams were the Vaughan Flames. In its brief history, the roster featured the likes of Karen Thatcher, Meagan Aarts and a young Jennifer Wakefield. In addition, the second Clarkson Cup was staged in Richmond Hill, Ontario, which saw the Minnesota Whitecaps defeat the Thunder to become the first American-based team to emerge victorious.

While Markham was definitely an ideal choice for an expansion site, it now becomes the site for relocation instead. This transition has resulted in Brampton’s status now part of league history, rather than part of its continuous future. Of note, Montreal has now become the only charter franchise still remaining in its original city. Burlington, Ottawa and Quebec all folded while Mississauga and Vaughan fused into the Toronto Furies.

Undoubtedly, league history is undergoing a rather rapid change as the move from Brampton took place just a few short weeks after the announcement that China’s Kunlun Red Star was granted an expansion franchise. Both unforeseen events, with an almost rancid element of secrecy, it has certainly altered the league’s complexion.

For a decimated fan base in Brampton, it now empathically understands how it felt when the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles, the original Cleveland Browns becoming the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Supersonics transformed into the Oklahoma City Thunder. Also moving with the team shall be Don Simmons, the current announcer of the Thunder and a volunteer with the club for nine seasons. Having also volunteered for Hockey Canada, his dedication to the game is renowned, and his role as announcer not only makes him an institution with the team, it is reminiscent of Vin Scully following the Dodgers to Los Angeles.

Considering that the Thunder have lost the fewest number of players to Canada’s Centralization, in preparation of the Winter Games, there is a strong chance that the club may contend for a Clarkson Cup. For the last three seasons, Lori Dupuis, who moved into the General Manager’s position was very astute in the draft, shrewdly acquiring talent that emerged as gems of the draft. Having revitalized the Thunder organization, the presence of Dupuis marked a great chapter in franchise history, rebuilding a team that had fallen into the doldrums, while also connecting with the women’s ice sledge hockey community.

While the individual that shall inherit the position from Dupuis is not confirmed yet, there is no question that the assiduous efforts of Dupuis have ensured that the future of the franchise remains in good hands. Said future also holds the potential for a makeover as fans can vote online and have their say regarding which color they would like the Thunder to adopt. Choices include green, teal and red.

For all the volunteers who helped make the Thunder such a fun stop on CWHL road trips, and helped to form one of the best team cultures in the CWHL, they are all worthy of a heartfelt thank you.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Kelley Steadman's sterling career embodied the exciting potential of the NWHL

Originally published on Women Talk Sports

In the blooming history of the Buffalo Beauts, the club was blessed by an abundance of superstars, highlighted by the likes of Meghan Duggan, Brianne McLaughlin and Emily Pfalzer, among others. Complemented by the remarkable show of support for Harrison Browne, along with Corinne Buie’s heroics in the march to the Isobel Cup, such stars have enamored a highly loyal fan base.

Perhaps the most fascinating player of this brief yet captivating era was Kelley Steadman. A soft-spoken yet assiduous competitor whose amazing hockey resume included a multitude of championships on both sides of the Atlantic, along with gold at the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championships, her heart of gold and authentic appreciation of fans, teammates and the game alike truly defined the raison d’etre for the NWHL.

Scoring the first goal in Buffalo Beauts history, it was more than just a concrete moment that added to the exhilaration of the NWHL’s opening day. It sparked Steadman’s impact, one that would see her embedded within the Queen City’s sporting mythology.

With Steadman having announced her retirement, that epic goal only enhances her mystique, quantifying a truly magnificent legacy. Joining the likes of recently retired teammates McLauhglin, Browne and Devon Skeats, all still in the primes of their careers, riding off into a sunset far too soon for a jubilant fan base, all that remains is to ponder what if this remarkable collection of talent would have remained for a third season.

Originally penciled in as a practice player, such plans were quickly shattered as Steadman was called into action with a sense of urgency, attributed to unforeseen issues with player visas. Such a move would prove to be a significant element in building the mythology of women’s ice hockey in Buffalo.

Unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, Steadman shone brilliantly, combining grace and a smooth scoring touch in a performance that reached legendary proportion, as the NWHL quickly gained a place of relevance on the sporting map.

As the season progressed, Steadman’s continued heroics at Harbor Centre became a vessel where fans could pour their emotions. No game would prove to be more prevalent there as the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game. The amalgamation of history, home ice advantage and sportsmanship resulted in a perfect storm. Emerging with MVP honors, it only affirmed Steadman’s role as a shining star and a fan favorite.

For Steadman, the NWHL All-Star Game would truly emerge as her lasting legacy. In the 2017 edition of the event, there was a tremendous sense of gravitas. Named as one of the team captains, this heartwarming moment and sense of appreciation was reciprocated with a proud fan base in Pittsburgh, site of the first neutral site event in league history, and the first professional women’s hockey game in the Keystone State.

After a difficult holiday break which resulted in an unfortunate alteration in the salary structure, there were many cynics that saw the league clinging to survival, before slipping into obliteration. With a player of Steadman’s magnitude remaining on the stage, it was a crucial element in a renewed vitality and focus, as the 2017 All-Star Game signified a relevant turning point.

Considering that Steadman, who juggled her playing career with an executive role as part of the Robert Morris Colonials leadership group, along with McLaughlin, a Colonials alum, the coordinates for the All-Star Game provided ample motivation. Both gaining the loudest ovations among the sold-out crowd, it was their finest hour as professionals.

While super rookie Amanda Kessel stole the show, scoring the first hat trick in NWHL All-Star Game history, it was an accompanying plot line to a much more profound narrative which starred Steadman and McLaughlin. This pair of remarkable leaders, trusted with the burden, easing the load and renewing the relevance of a league working to rebuild trust and set things right, their goals were fused, companions of a unified cause.

In the aftermath of this remarkable career milestone, Steadman and McLaughlin continued to set the tone for the Beauts. Their leadership was crucial in helping the club reach the jubilation of the Isobel Cup, gaining redemption after a heartbreaking finals loss in 2016. Providing the Queen City with its first hockey championship since the Buffalo Bisons captured the AHL’s Calder Cup in 1969, it was also part of a unique personal parallel for Steadman.

With a career that has included etching her name on the Clarkson Cup, capturing the College Hockey America (CHA) Player of the Year Award with the Mercyhurst Lakers, and a championship competing in Russia with fellow Clarkson Cup champion Cherie Hendrickson, the Isobel Cup was part of a remarkable feat in 2017. With the Colonials capturing the CHA postseason championship, qualifying for its first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament, Steadman became the first person to win both the Isobel Cup and a CHA title in the same season.

The season to come shall see Steadman take on a full-time coaching capacity in the CHA. Returning to her roots, where she called the likes of Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Jesse Scanzano and fellow American Pamela Zgoda as teammates on a dominant Mercyhurst Lakers team, there is an emotional sense of homecoming. Taking on the role of an assistant coach with the Lakers, her enthusiasm for the game and comforting presence shall foster and encourage an exciting new generation of talent.

While there may be an element of sadness and mourning among the Beauts fan base, aware that Steadman shall no longer don their colors, it should not be approached as a time of sorrow. Instead, it deserves to be celebrated as an amazing time which enriched the experience for all involved.

Steadman was a gifted player, and the opportunity to share those gifts was a blessing, one that truly helped to alter the portentous perception of the Buffalo Sports Curse.

The Beauts may have built the stage, but it was Steadman that wrote the role. An eminent competitor whose legend in Buffalo sports history is destined to go untarnished with the passage of time, she truly mirrored the ambitions of the NWHL to bring an exciting and empowering new chapter for professional women’s ice hockey in the United States.

While she remains part of the game, looking to restore the glory days that she helped establish at Mercyhurst, while developing the next generation of stars that may one day emulate her heroics, the greatest legacy of her career will forever be embedded in Buffalo’s sporting culture.

For a legion of fans in Buffalo, her efforts will always remain in their hearts, forever grateful for the impact of this soft-spoken and stoic superstar, always reflecting on her meaningful Beauts career with a warm sense of nostalgia.

Friday, 30 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women's ice hockey (1-10)

In the spirit of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Fearless, Frozen Females is recognizing 150 Canadian women (and in some cases, groups) who have made their mark in women’s ice hockey. Although this list will also recognize some of the greatest who have ever played, there is also an effort to focus on others who have made other impressions on the game.

Of note, this list does not intend to rank individuals by order of talent or importance. The numeric listing exists just for the sake of categorization. Whether it be through coaching, administrative or online capacities, the objective of the list is to feature a breadth of overall individuals, recognizing those who otherwise may not be given consideration.

Thank you to all these individuals for their amazing collaboration and admirable efforts in helping to make women’s ice hockey an integral component of the Canadian sporting fabric #Canada150

1: Hayley Wickenheiser Player

2: Fran Rider Builder, Order of Hockey in Canada, IIHF Hall of Fame

3: Hilda Ranscombe and the Preston Rivulettes Player

4: Angela James Hockey Hall of Fame

5: Geraldine Heaney Hockey Hall of Fame

6: Jayna Hefford Winter Games Gold Medalist

7: Caroline Ouellette Winter Games Gold Medalist

8: Marie-Philip Poulin Winter Games Gold Medalist

9: Cassie Campbell Order of Hockey in Canada

10: The Fight for Gender Equity - Justine Blainey Player, Activist

Thursday, 29 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (11-20)

11: Manon Rheaume Goaltender

12: France St. Louis Player, Manager

13: Kim St. Pierre Winter Games Gold Medalist, Clarkson Cup champion

14: Jennifer Botterill Player, Order of Manitoba

15: Danielle Goyette 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee

16: Samantha Holmes Activist, Builder, Player, Manager

17: Charline Labonte Winter Games Gold Medalist, Clarkson Cup champion

18: Sue Scherer Canada’s First Captain

19: Stacy Wilson Captain, 1998 Nagano Winter Games

20: Natalie Spooner Winter Games gold medalist

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (21-30)

21: Melody Davidson Coach, General Manager Since the dawn of the millennium, Melody Davidson is the backbone of Canada’s national women’s team. From coaching Canada to consecutive gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games, she currently serves in the capacity of General Manager of the national team. Having also served in an advisory capacity with the IIHF, she is currently one of the most influential people in hockey. Davidson’s roots in the game date back to the early 1990’s when she served as a volunteer with Team Alberta at the 1991 Canada Winter Games.

22: Abby Hoffman Legend In the 1950s, no female player captured the imagination of sports fans the way Abby Hoffman did. Having cut her hair, pretending to be a boy, in order to play hockey (as girls leagues were non-existent), it was a revolutionary move that challenged social convention. Although coaches eventually discovered that Hoffman was a girl, she raised the idea that girls were capable of playing the game at a high level. When the national women’s ice hockey championships were first contested in 1982, the championship was named in her honor; the Abby Hoffman Cup. For more than two decades, the best players in Canada would play for a chance to hoist the Abby Hoffman Cup, a predecessor to the current-day Clarkson Cup.

23: Daniele Sauvageau Coach, General Manager Following the heartbreak of the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, a dejected Canadian team looked to Sauvageau to lead the way as their new head coach. Responding with three straight IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships (1999-2001), Sauvageau’s leadership set the tone for what would prove to be Canada’s golden generation.

When Canada captured the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, it was Sauvageau who served as head coach, assuring her place in hockey immortality as the first female coach to capture a gold medal in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games. Almost a decade after Salt Lake, the next chapter in Sauvageau’s ice hockey legacy would see her build a dynasty in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. With Les Carabins de Montreal competing in conference play, she would build a program in collaboration with France St. Louis, winning two Golden Path trophies, while capturing the imagination of a hockey mad city.

24: Meghan Agosta Winter Games Gold Medalist, Angela James Bowl winner With three Winter Games gold medals (2006, 2010, 2014), Meghan Agosta is a naturally gifted scorer whose on-ice presence led the way for a new generation of superstars on Canada’s national women’s team. Experiencing a breakthrough performance at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, she became Canada’s sweetheart, fans eagerly anticipating the future that would unfold.

Following Torino 2006, Agosta would compete with the Mercyhurst Lakers in Erie, Pennsylvania, rewriting the program’s record books, while graduating as the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s ice hockey. Although it is surprising to consider that she never won the Patty Kazmaier Award, the highlight of her time with the Lakers was appearing in the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four championship game.

In between Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, Agosta would sandwich in two seasons with the CWHL’s Montreal Stars. As a rookie, she would break the CWHL’s single-season record, previously set by Caroline Ouellette, while gaining the Clarkson Cup, becoming the newest member of the Triple Gold Club. Capturing the Angela James Bowl in back-to-back seasons, Angela James would present her with the honor at the 2013 CWHL Awards.

25: Shannon Miller Coach Serving as Canada’s head coach between 1995 and 1998, Shannon Miller helped to transition a new generation of star players, including the likes of Cassie Campbell, Jayna Hefford, Becky Kellar and Hayley Wickenheiser. The 1995 Pacific Rim Challenge would serve as Miller’s first big test, as she had a roster filled with over a dozen rookies. Capturing the gold medal in a hard-fought win against the United States, it signaled a tremendous milestone for the assiduous Miller. Adding to the jubilation of the gold was the fact that the 1995 Pacific Rim Challenge featured the first all-female coaching staff in Canadian hockey history, as Miller was joined by Daniele Sauvageau and Julie Healy.

26: Laura Schuler Player, Coach Pencilled in as Canada’s head coach for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, it represents a great personal milestone for Laura Schuler. With Pyeongchang 2018 representing the 20th anniversary of the first women’s ice hockey tournament in the Winter Games, it brings Schuler’s career full circle. Of note, Schuler was part of Canada’s roster in a silver medal outcome at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

Although Danielle Goyette was the first member of the Nagano team to serve in a coaching capacity with Canada’s national team, Schuler is the first to take on a head coaching role. With a coaching resume that includes serving on Shannon Miller’s coaching staff at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, along with taking the head coaching reins at Dartmouth University in 2016, Schuler has assembled a solid career.

Regarding Hockey Canada, Schuler also brings significant experience. Part of Canada’s coaching staff for their U22/Development Team at the 2013 Meco Cup, she was also the head coach for Canada’s entry at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds. With a roster that featured Micah Hart and Kassidy Sauve, it was an opportunity for Schuler to groom the talent of the future. As the head coach for Canada’s senior team, it makes her the first woman in the history of the Canadian national women’s team to serve in a coaching capacity with all three of its teams.

27: Vicky Sunohara Winter Games Gold Medalist, Coach Having called Laura Schuler a teammate at Northeastern University, the two would see their careers run parallel as teammates on Canada’s historic roster for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. In a career that also saw Sunohara capture the gold medal at the 1990 IIHF Women’s World Championships, she was one of the sport’s biggest stars throughout the 1990s. Adding another gold medal with a victorious outcome at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Campbell, Jayna Hefford, Becky Kellar and Hayley Wickenheiser. The 1995 Pacific Rim Challenge would serve as Miller’s first big test, as she had a roster filled with over a dozen rookies. Capturing the gold medal in a hard-fought win against the United States, it signaled a tremendous milestone for the assiduous Miller. Adding to the jubilation of the gold was the fact that the 1995 Pacific Rim Challenge featured the first all-female coaching staff in Canadian hockey history, as Miller was joined by Daniele Sauvageau and Julie Healy.

26: Laura Schuler Player, Coach Pencilled in as Canada’s head coach for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, it represents a great personal milestone for Laura Schuler. With Pyeongchang 2018 representing the 20th anniversary of the first women’s ice hockey tournament in the Winter Games, it brings Schuler’s career full circle. Of note, Schuler was part of Canada’s roster in a silver medal outcome at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

Although Danielle Goyette was the first member of the Nagano team to serve in a coaching capacity with Canada’s national team, Schuler is the first to take on a head coaching role. With a coaching resume that includes serving on Shannon Miller’s coaching staff at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, along with taking the head coaching reins at Dartmouth University in 2016, Schuler has assembled a solid career.

Regarding Hockey Canada, Schuler also brings significant experience. Part of Canada’s coaching staff for their U22/Development Team at the 2013 Meco Cup, she was also the head coach for Canada’s entry at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds. With a roster that featured Micah Hart and Kassidy Sauve, it was an opportunity for Schuler to groom the talent of the future. As the head coach for Canada’s senior team, it makes her the first woman in the history of the Canadian national women’s team to serve in a coaching capacity with all three of its teams.

27: Vicky Sunohara Winter Games Gold Medalist, Coach Having called Laura Schuler a teammate at Northeastern University, the two would see their careers run parallel as teammates on Canada’s historic roster for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. In a career that also saw Sunohara capture the gold medal at the 1990 IIHF Women’s World Championships, she was one of the sport’s biggest stars throughout the 1990s. Adding another gold medal with a victorious outcome at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, Sunohara would also serve as captain of the Brampton Thunder. Competing in the inaugural CWHL season, Sunohara was joined by fellow Team Canada stars Lori Dupuis and Jayna Hefford, as they captured the first championship in league annals.

28: Becky Kellar Winter Games Gold Medalist One of the most underrated stars of her generation, Becky Kellar was a defensive stalwart whose ethereal serenity and solid work ethic constantly shut down opposing offenses. Named to Canada’s roster for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, it would mark the first of four consecutive appearances at the Games. Along with Jennifer Botterill, Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser, they constituted the heartbeat of Canada’s leadership through a generation, capturing three Winter Games gold medals and a silver. At club play, Kellar served as the captain of the CWHL’s Burlington Barracudas, leading the team into the 2010 Clarkson Cup playoffs.

29: Cheryl Pounder Winter Games Gold Medalist, Broadcaster

30: Gillian Apps Winter Games Gold Medalist, Coach

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (31-40)

31: Andria Hunter Player, Historian, Builder In the resurgence of women’s hockey, one of the biggest struggles has involved the gathering of information. So much of what took place throughout the 20th Century, especially in the pre-World War II era is sadly lost to time. During the late 1990s, Andria Hunter sought to bring order out of chaos, creating a website that became an invaluable reference for so many in the game, especially novice fans.

Called, it is one of the crowning achievements in Hunter’s career. Of note, it was a career consisting of a remarkable number of on-ice glories. Consistently an offensive leader wherever she played, she scored an astounding 874 goals in five seasons with Otonabee in her youth. At the university level, Hunter would skate on both sides of the border. Competing with the University of New Hampshire, Hunter also gained All-OUA honors as a member of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues program. Among her teammates with the Varsity Blues was Lori Dupuis, who would go on to her own golden glories with Canada’s national team.

Hunter’s abilities as a scoring catalyst gained her an opportunity to don the Maple Leaf. Capturing gold at the 1992 and 1994 IIHF Women’s World Championships, it represented her pinnacle as a player. In 2002, Hunter would experience more golden glories, helping Canada to a triumphant outcome at the FIRS Online Worlds. During the same year, she would also be recognized with the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award.

Remaining a fan favorite, Hunter joined Hockey Hall of Famers Geraldine Heaney and Angela James, plus goaltender Sami Jo Small by making an appearance at the 50th Anniversary of the Brampton Canadettes Female Hockey Tournament in 2017. Two years earlier, Hunter would also stage a comeback on the ice. Competing in the Mimico Dad’s Hockey League, she still had offensive flair, amassing an astonishing 78 points in merely 18 games.

32: Cherie Piper Winter Games Gold Medalist With three Winter Games gold medals (2002, 2006, 2010) to her credit, Cherie Piper was one of the great hockey competitors of the 2000s. In addition to a stellar run with Hockey Canada, Piper enjoyed four fantastic seasons with the Dartmouth Big Green, finishing as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

Having also competed with the Brampton Thunder, calling fellow Team Canada luminaries Gillian Apps, Lori Dupuis and Jayna Hefford as teammates, Piper would appear in the 2012 Clarkson Cup finals. As a side note, when the Honorable Adrienne Clarkson first introduced the coveted Cup, Piper was seated beside her for the unveiling.

Remaining part of the game in an administrative capacity, Piper is part of an exciting generation of hockey heroes giving back, while expanding their already formidable legacies. Working with the OWHA, she has helped organize the 2015 Canadian Under-18 nationals, while also serving as the General Manager for Team Ontario’s entry at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

33: Meaghan Mikkelson Winter Games Gold Medalist Among a rare group of stars to have won both an NCAA Frozen Four title and a Winter Games gold medal, Meaghan Mikkelson is also part of the Triple Gold Club for Women. Capturing the 2015 Clarkson Cup with the Calgary Inferno, it was an opportunity for Mikkelson to tap into her proud hockey roots.

As the 2015 edition of the Clarkson Cup was contested at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, it marked the first time that it was held in an NHL arena. As her father Bill once competed for the NHL’s New York Islanders, and her brother Brendan has suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the CTC was a venue worthy of her brilliance. The postgame celebrations would also result in a feel-good moment as Mikkelson gently placed her infant son, Calder (the name was selected after an online vote by fans) in the coveted Cup.

In addition to an amazing list of hockey achievements, Mikkelson has also emerged into a pop culture icon. Appearing in Sportsnet Magazine’s “Beauty of Sport”, which was photographed in Las Vegas, it propelled her and the other athletes depicted into sex symbol status. Following a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Mikkelson would gain unprecedented popularity, earning fame and reverence for her appearance with Natalie Spooner in The Amazing Race Canada, capturing first place in four episodes, and finishing second overall, while gaining a place in the hearts and minds of hockey fans nationwide.

34: Historic Goaltenders: Lacasse, Maschmeyer and Szabados Canadian national team From the outset, Genevieve Lacasse and Emerance Maschmeyer have a unique shared history among them. They are among a very rare sorority of goaltenders (including Erica Howe and Ann-Renée Desbiens) that have stood between the pipes for Canada’s U18, U22/Developmental and Senior Teams.

In addition, both are part of a unique chapter in Clarkson Cup history. While Liz Knox was the first rookie goaltender to start a Clarkson Cup finals game (in 2012), Lacasse would repeat this feat one year later with the Boston Blades, also capturing the 2013 CWHL Goaltender of the Year Award.

Defeating the Montreal Stars in the Finals, Lacasse became the first rookie goaltender to win the Clarkson Cup. The chance to compete with the Blades was an opportunity for Lacasse to extend her New England hockey legacy. Having competed at the NCAA level with the Providence Friars, she would rewrite the program’s goaltending records while gaining recognition as one of the greatest goaltenders in Hockey East history.

During a brilliant rookie season which saw Maschmeyer appear in the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game, she would become the fourth rookie to start a Clarkson Cup finals game (the third was Boston’s Brittany Ott in 2014). Gracing the ice at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, Maschmeyer played valiantly in a heartbreaking loss.

Prior to joining the Calgary Inferno, Maschmeyer had already established herself as a prominent backstop in Alberta women’s hockey history. As a side note, her sister once played for the legendary Edmonton Chimos club. Leading Team Alberta to the gold medal at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, it represented the first of many proud milestones. Gaining the start for Canada in the gold medal game of the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championships, she would be recognized as Canada’s Player of the Game and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Goaltender.

Shannon Szabados will always hold a treasured place with Canadian hockey fans for her heroics at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, backstopping the team to a pair of gold medals. Equally impressive is her ability to break hockey’s gender barrier at numerous levels of the game.

Starting in Bonnyville, Alberta, where she competed in Midget Boys hockey, she would call future NHL goaltender (and fellow 2014 gold medalist) Carey Price a teammate in the Western Hockey Leauge. In the aftermath of Sochi, Szabados would compete in professional men’s hockey, joining the Columbus Cottonmouths.

35: Rebecca Johnston Winter Games Gold Medalist, Angela James Bowl Winner One of the most offensively gifted superstars of her generation, Rebecca Johnston may be the greatest skater to come from Northern Ontario. Raised in Sudbury, Johnston would don the Team Ontario jersey at the Canada Winter Games, capturing a gold medal.

Competing with the Cornell Big Red at the NCAA level, Johnston was the cornerstone of the program. Capturing ECAC Player of the Year honors in her senior season, she was a key factor in the club qualifying for multiple NCAA tournaments.

After a season (2012-13) spent with the Toronto Furies, where she scored the overtime winning goal in the third place game at the Clarkson Cup playoffs, Johnston made the jump to the Calgary Inferno following the Sochi Winter Games. In her first season (2014-15) with the Inferno, Johnston was brilliant, capturing the scoring title, subsequently, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the Angela James Bowl. With a Clarkson Cup victory defining the following season, it placed Johnston into the Triple Gold Club for Women, assuring her place in hockey immortality.

36: Catherine Ward Winter Games Gold Medalist Perhaps the most accomplished blueliner of the millennium, Catherine Ward truly assembled a once-in-a-lifetime career. From the outset, Ward is a member of the Triple Gold Club, having captured gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Burlington, Vermont, along with the chance to hoist the coveted Clarkson Cup after defeating the Brampton Thunder in the 2012 finals. As a side note, she would be recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Clarkson Cup playoffs.

Such achievements are complemented by a superlative university career. Part of the McGill Martlets dynasty, playing alongside the likes of Charline Labonte, Vinny Davidson and Ann-Sophie Bettez, among others, she would enjoy the jubilation of the Golden Path Trophy. Following the Vancouver Winter Games, Ward joined the Boston University Terriers for the 2010-11 season. Fellow national team competitors Marie-Philip Poulin and Jennifer Wakefield were also part of the Terriers roster. Undoubtedly, Ward’s defensive acumen was crucial in the Terriers reaching the championship game of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four.

37: Lisa Haley Coach

38: Ann-Sophie Bettez BLG Award Winner, Clarkson Cup champion One of the greatest players to don the McGill Martlets jersey, she graduated as the program's all-time leading scorer. Continuing her scoring brilliance with Montreal in the CWHL, she would emerge as one of the most spectacular competitors of the early to mid 2010s. Capturing the Angela James Bowl in 2014, it was an extension of her amazing legacy with the franchise, which sees her part of the 100-point club. The 2016-17 CWHL season would prove to be one filled with numerous milestones for Bettez. In addition to competing in the first-ever CWHL game held at Montreal's Bell Centre, said season would culminate with the first Clarkson Cup championship in her storied career.

39: Sensational Sisters: Bailey and Shelby Bram Mercyhurst Lakers and Canada's U22/Development Team

40: Donna-Lynn Rosa Northeastern Huskies Hall of Fame, Broadcaster Inducted into the Northeastern Huskies Hall of Fame in 2009, Donna-Lynn Rosa was the first female player from Ontario to receive a hockey scholarship to an NCAA school. Joining the Huskies in 1985, the Mississauga, Ontario native was part of an undefeated season in 1987-88, as the Huskies defeated Providence to capture the ECAC championship.

At the 1990 IIHF Women's World Championships, Rosa worked on the broadcast team for TSN with Michael Landsberg and Howie Meeker. Capturing a championship with the Toronto Aeros in the original NWHL, she would also serve as a coach with the Brampton Thunder, winning two league titles. When the Thunder joined the CWHL, Rosa spent several seasons as the General Manager.

Monday, 26 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (41-50)

41: Nathalie Picard IIHF Women’s World Championship Gold Medalist


If France St. Louis was known as the Mario Lemieux of women’s hockey in Quebec, then Nathalie Picard was the complement to Ray Bourque. Known affectionately as “Picou”, she was more than the defensive anchor for Sherbrooke’s Jofa-Titan club, she also served as team manager. The first captain in the history of the Québec provincial women’s team (officially formed in 1993), Picard would also capture the gold medal with Canada’s contingent at the 1994 IIHF Women’s World Championships

42: Lesley Reddon Goaltender, Administration


Photo credit: Crystal Schick Part of numerous Team Canada rosters during the 1990s, Lesley Reddon was one of the most talented goaltenders during the game’s resurgence. Perhaps her greatest victory involved defeating China in a hard-fought 3-2 overtime win in the semifinals of the 1995 Pacific Rim Championships.

Having also made history as the first female goaltender to compete on a men’s team in Canadian university play, achieving the feat with the University of New Brunswick, Reddon would add to that feat almost two decades later. Getting the call to participate as a practice goalie with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, it was the fitting tribute to a groundbreaking career. Remaining involved in the game in the capacity of team manager with Canada’s national women’s team, she was part of gold medal teams at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.

43: Albertine Lapensée Legend

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Known affectionately by the English media as the Miracle Maid, Albertine Lapensée was one of the elite Canadian female hockey stars of the early 20th Century. Raised in Cornwall, Ontario, it is believed that she once scored 15 goals in a 21-0 win. Having also competed in the Eastern Ladies Hockey League, a Montreal based league that formed in December 1915, the configuration was a four-team league with games contested in the city’s east end. A star forward for the Cornwall Victorias, it is believed that the team had a 46-game unbeaten streak in the 1916-17 season, with Lapensée a key factor in the club outscoring teams by a cumulative total of 200 goals during said season.

44: Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux and Sami Jo Small The Remaining Founders

Part of the CWHL’s “Sensational Seven”, the career of Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux is defined by so many other milestones, destined to leave a lasting legacy on the game’s lore in the early 21st Century. The first player to captain a team to championships in both Canadian Interuniversity Sport and the CWHL, Breton-Lebreux’s feat was made more superb by the fact that each championship was an historic first. With the Concordia Stingers, she would win the first national championship in CIS history, while she captained the Montreal Stars to the inaugural Clarkson Cup title in 2009.

The first player to capture three Clarkson Cups (2009, 2011, 2012) as a team captain, she would also hoist the coveted Cup in 2017 as a coach. Subsequently, this made Breton-Lebreux the first competitor in Cup history to win as both a player and a coach. She would also add to her remarkable haul of hockey hardware by capturing the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award, along with recognition as the CWHL Humanitarian of the Year in 2016.
Photo credit: Jess Desjardins

The historic theme in Breton-Lebreux’s career also extends to the CWHL All-Star Game. Having participated with Team Red in the inaugural game in 2014, she would score a goal in the third period, as an ecstatic crowd at Air Canada Centre saw Digit Murphy’s Team Red prevail over Sommer West’s Team White. Three years later, she would serve in the capacity of coach, becoming the first person in CWHL history to attend the All-Star Game as both player and coach.

Equally formidable is Sami Jo Small, another key figure in the "Sensational Seven". Along with Breton-Lebreux, they were the last two of the league's founders to compete. Both reached a captivating apex by competing at the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game. Fittingly, they were the first two picks overall in the Frozen Fantasy Draft that helped stock the rosters for Team Red and Team White at said game.
Photo credit: Brandon Taylor

Having played in both the original NWHL and the CWHL, Small has added to her unique hockey legacy (which includes Winter Games gold) in the role of an entrepreneur. Her presence was crucial in helping to land key corporate sponsors for the CWHL, while she worked tirelessly on a business case for financial support from the NHL. While Small holds the unique distinction of having a scored goal (when she played for the Brampton Thunder during the NWHL years), there was a numerous number of achievements that defined her CWHL legacy.
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Helping to co-found the Toronto Furies (she would be featured on History Television's program "What's In A Name?" to help name the club), she would become a member of the Triple Gold Club for Women in 2014, after capturing the Clarkson Cup. Not only would Small become the first goaltender in league history to 50 wins, she would also be the oldest to win a regular season game. During the 2016-17 season, Small, who returned after a year of maternity leave (she is married to Billy Bridges, the all-time leading scorer in the history of Canada's ice sledge hockey team), defeated the Boston Blades, becoming the first goaltender over 40 years young to win a regular season game.

45: Lori Dupuis Winter Games Gold Medalist, General Manager


Photo credit: Jess Desjardins Part of Canada’s roster that competed at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, the first women’s ice hockey tournament in event history, it assured Lori Dupuis of a place in hockey history. With hockey roots in Cornwall, Ontario, Dupuis would also make her mark at the university level, competing alongside the likes of Andria Hunter with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, capturing the Judy McCaw Cup on multiple occasions.

Having played in the original NWHL, it would mark the beginning of a career with the Brampton Thunder that spanned over two decades. Capturing the inaugural CWHL championship in 2008 (with Molly Engstrom scoring the overtime winning goal), Dupuis would also appear in the 2012 Clarkson Cup finals. Along with Cherie Piper, Dupuis retired from the Thunder following the 2012-13 CWHL season. Having served in the capacity of General Manager with the club since hanging up her skates, she has built a team that qualified for the postseason in back-to-back seasons (2016, 2017), while making shrewd acquisitions in the draft, highlighted by Jamie Lee Rattray, Erica Howe, Laura Fortino, Sarah Edney and Laura Stacey.

46: Jocelyne Larocque Winter Games Gold Medalist, NCAA Frozen Four champion

Following in the footsteps of the first generation of star players from Manitoba such as Shirley Cameron, Sami Jo Small, Susanna Yuen and Jennifer Botterill, defensive stalwart Jocelyne Larocque headlined a new generation. Competing for head coach Shannon Miller with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, she would capture a pair of NCAA Frozen Four titles.

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Having also played with the Calgary Oval X-Treme as a teen phenom, Larocque would join the Manitoba Maple Leafs following her stellar career at UMD. Among the highlights of her team with the Maple Leafs was the chance to call her sister, Chantal Marie, a teammate. The two would also compete for Manitoba’s provincial ball hockey team at the CBHA Nationals. As a side note, Chantal Larocque captured a gold medal for Canada at the 2012 ISBHF Women’s Worlds. Traded in CWHL play for fellow Manitoban Bailey Bram, she was the last team captain in the history of the Brampton Thunder.

47: Kathleen Carson and Elizabeth Hinds Vancouver Amazons
Photo credit: Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

The Vancouver Amazons were one of the most dominant teams in Western Canada during the early 1920’s. Owned by Frank Patrick, who was also the proprietor of the Vancouver Millionaires, the Amazons were like a sister-team. Having qualified for the Alpine Cup Finals at the 1921 Banff Winter Carnival, the most prestigious women’s hockey tournament in the Prairies, a pair of heroes brought redemption for the club one year later.

During the 1922 edition of the Carnival, Elizabeth Hinds became the first woman from British Columbia to score a hat trick in tournament history. Competing against the Calgary Regents for the title, Kathleen Carson would tie the game in the third period, erasing a 1-0 deficit. In overtime, Carson would log the game-winning tally, as the Amazons became the first team from British Columbia to claim the Alpine Cup.

For further reading on the Vancouver Amazons, please visit:

48: Jessica Campbell Player, Hockey Humanitarian

Among one of the most talented players to hail from the province of Saskatchewan, Jessica Campbell is adding to her amazing body of work with an amazing compassion as a Hockey Humanitarian. During four fantastic seasons with the Cornell Big Red, Campbell participated in numerous hockey fundraisers for “Do It for Daron (DIFD).” As a side note, the late Daron Richardson’s older sister, Morgan, was a teammate and friend at Cornell.

Upon graduation from Cornell, the admirable cause of DIFD remained close to Campbell’s heart. Having lost a dear friend as a teenager, Campbell became devoted to mental health research. With the Calgary Inferno, she would organize DIFD fundraisers in 2016 and 2017, with the Inferno sporting nifty purple jerseys, the official color of DIFD. Working in collaboration with the Sheldon Kennedy Advocacy Foundation, such successful fund raisers exemplify a great sense of teamwork. As a side note, several of Campbell’s teammates from Cornell who competed with the NWHL’s Boston Pride also hosted a DIFD fundraiser during the league’s inaugural season.


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A deserving recipient of the CWHL’s 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award, it extends an amazing legacy for Campbell. One that includes a 2015 Clarkson Cup championship, along with a historic appearance at the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game. In a game that saw goaltender Charline Labonte become a captain for the first time in her career with Team Red, Campbell was bestowed the honor of the captaincy for Team White, becoming the first rookie in league history to serve as an All-Star captain.

49: Tessa Bonhomme Winter Games Gold Medalist

One of the most popular players of her generation, Tessa Bonhomme shall always be remembered for the white sunglasses (with the Hockey Canada logo adorning the lenses) that she wore in the post-gold medal game celebration at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Following the Winter Games triumph, Bonhomme would become a media darling, appearing on “Wipeout Canada” and gracing the pages of Sportsnet Magazine’s “The Beauty of Sport” in a one-piece bathing suit.
Photo: Steve Poirier / HHOF-IIHF Images

Remaining humble in spite of such popularity, Bonhomme would make history as the first draft pick in the history of the CWHL Draft, selected by the Toronto Furies. The acquisition would pay immediate dividends, as Bonhomme helped the Furies qualify for the Clarkson Cup finals in her rookie season. Following the 2011-12 season, Bonhomme would experience a pair of milestones. Not only would she help Canada capture the gold at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Burlington, Vermont, she would also appear on the cover of The Hockey News.

The highly charismatic Bonhomme would see her star continue to rise, becoming the first female ice hockey competitor to win CBC television’s “Battle of the Blades”, while also gaining on-air work with “LeafsTV”. Among her highlights with the network included the opportunity to interview Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanikis.

Although Bonhomme was shockingly left off Canada’s roster for women’s ice hockey at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, she remained a devoted fan, finding opportunity to cheer for her team as part of TSN’s broadcast team, working alongside Cheryl Pounder. In the aftermath of Sochi, Bonhomme would return to the rink for what would be her swan song. Capturing the 2014 Clarkson Cup, she would join teammates Natalie Spooner and Sami Jo Small as members of the Triple Gold Club for Women. Following the Cup victory, Bonhomme would join TSN as a member of their broadcast team for “SportsCentre”, emerging as a highly respected personality.

50: Sarah and Amy Potomak Players

With the roster for Canadian Centralization in advance of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, there was a strong sense of history for the four-time defending gold medalists. Hailing from British Columbia, Sarah and Amy Potomak were the first sisters in the history of the program to be named to Centralization.

Having made their debut for Canada’s senior team together, donning the Maple Leaf in a battle of the border in December 2016, as Canada challenged the United States in Sarnia, Ontario and Plymouth, Michigan, it saw the careers of the Potomak sisters grow by a quantum leap. Of note, the two were also teammates with BC’s provincial team on numerous occasions, with Amy named as the Most Outstanding Player at the 2016 Canadian U18 nationals.
Photo credit: Hockey Canada Images

While the season would end with older sister Sarah gaining a silver medal at the 2017 IIHF Women’s Worlds, younger sister Amy was part of Canada’s contingent at the U18 version of the IIHF Women’s Worlds. As Amy has committed to attend the University of Minnesota, where Sarah recently completed her second season, the two are poised for many heroics at Ridder Arena.

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (51-60)

51: Brianne Jenner Winter Games Gold Medalist, Clarkson Cup champion Named the captain of the Calgary Inferno in her rookie season, it was testament to the world-class talent that Brianne Jenner possesses. Capturing the Clarkson Cup during said season, it only added to her growing legend, while placing her in the Triple Gold Club for Women. One of the all-time scoring leaders in the history of the Cornell Big Red, Jenner donned the Team Canada jersey during her time there.

52: Jennifer Wakefield Winter Games Gold Medalist Among the hallmarks of such a distinguished career, Jennifer Wakefield has emerged as an incredible ambassador for the game. Having spent the last three seasons competing in Sweden, Wakefield may be the most popular Canadian to have ever competed in Europe.

Having also spent one season (2012-13) with the CWHL’s Toronto Furies, Wakefield enjoyed a stellar career at the NCAA level. One of the all-time scoring leaders in the history of the Hockey East Conference, the 2010-11 season may have been the most cherished of her collegiate career. Part of a star-studded lineup with the Boston University Terriers, she was joined on the roster by Marie-Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward.

53: Ann-Renée Desbiens Goaltender The first Canadian-born goaltender to win the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, Ann-Renée Desbiens shattered numerous goaltending records in NCAA women’s ice hockey, including Noora Raty’s mark for career shutouts. In 2016, she was recognized as the WCHA Player of the Year. Graduating with a record of 81-12-6, she appeared in the NCAA Frozen Four championship game in her senior year.

Having appeared in the 2012 Clarkson Cup playoffs with the Montreal Stars prior to joining Wisconsin, Desbiens followed in a long line of elite backstops to emerge from Quebec. In 2016, she was the first Canadian taken in the NWHL Draft, claimed by the Boston Pride.

54: Jillian Saulnier Clarkson Cup champion Having called competitors such as Erin Ambrose and Laura Stacey teammates on the PWHL’s Toronto Jr. Aeros, Jillian Saulnier would go on to an incredible career at the NCAA level with the Cornell Big Red.

Capturing the 2016 Clarkson Cup with the Calgary Inferno, Saulnier would add to such jubilation by making her mark at the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game. Becoming the first player in the history of the Game to score a hat trick (Marie-Philip Poulin would also score a hat trick in the game, but Saulnier achieved it first), it signified Saulnier’s arrival as a bona fide superstar.

The first competitor born in Nova Scotia to compete for Canada’s national women’s ice hockey team, Saulnier is proud of a growing number of superstars to hail from the Maritimes, including Inferno teammates such as Blayre Turnbull and Sarah Davis. Named to Canada’s Centralization Roster in anticipation of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, Saulnier is looking to build on her already historic legacy.

55: Cornell's Dazzling Defensive Duo: Laura Fortino and Lauriane Rougeau Winter Games Gold Medalists

56: Tara Watchorn Winter Games Gold Medalist, Clarkson Cup champion The first Canadian-born captain in the history of the Boston Blades, Tara Watchorn is one of the club’s franchise players. Having began her CWHL career with Team Alberta, the alum of Boston University, where she was a Hockey East All-Star selection numerous times, returned to her New England hockey roots following a gold medal performance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Playing for head coach Digit Murphy, Watchorn would capture the coveted Clarkson in her first season (2014-15) with the Blades, as Janine Weber became the first European-born player to score a Cup-winning goal.

57: Danielle Dubé Goaltender A member of Canada’s national women’s ice hockey team during the 1990’s, Dubé earned a gold medal at the 1997 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships. Following her career with Hockey Canada, she would stand between the pipes for the San Diego Gulls, becoming the third female goaltender to compete in professional men’s hockey.

In 2012, Dubé would make an empowering comeback, suiting up for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Earning a spot on the Canada West Conference All-Star Team, Dubé would help the club to the greatest turnaround in Canadian Interuniversity Sport history. Having endured a one win season in 2011-12, the arrival of Dubé was a key factor in the Thunderbirds capturing the Canada West postseason title, and qualifying for a spot at the CIS Nationals.

58: Laura Stacey CWHL Rookie of the Year The great granddaughter of King Clancy, a Hockey Hall of Famer whose career spanned over five decades, Laura Stacey is extending his legacy while carving one of her own. With a hockey resume that includes the 2011 Canada Winter Games and a gold medal with Team Canada’s entry at the 2012 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, Stacey would compete at the NCAA level with the Dartmouth Big Green.

59: Erin Ambrose NCAA Frozen Four champion, CWHL All-Star Appearing on a trading card in Upper Deck’s 2011 “World of Sport” series, it introduced Erin Ambrose to a fan base eager for new superstars. Competing for Team Ontario at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, she would capture a silver medal.

Serving as Canada’s captain in a gold medal effort at the 2012 IIHF U18 Women’s World championships (the second gold of her career), it was the springboard that propelled her into one of Canada’s sporting heroes.

With a career that would also see her compete with Canada’s U22/Developmental and Senior Teams, Ambrose was part of one of the greatest recruiting classes in the history of the Clarkson Golden Knights. Playing alongside the likes of Renata Fast, Erica Howe, Shannon MacAulay and Jamie Lee Rattray, the squad would capture the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four, the first non-WCHA team to achieve this. Selected by the Toronto Furies in the 2016 CWHL Draft, she would call Fast a teammate once again, both part of the same draft class. Of note, both would compete in the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

60: Kim Deschenes Clarkson Cup champion, Golden Path Trophy One of the most underrated players in hockey, Kim Deschenes has assembled a solid series of golden performances in her career. As the captain of Les Carabins de Montreal, she helped transform the program into one of the most dominant in Canada, capturing the Golden Path Trophy, awarded to the CIS national champions.

During her career with Les Carabins, she would also don the Canadian jersey in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Universiade, contributing to the team capturing its third consecutive gold medal at the event. Following graduation, Deschenes would jump to the professional ranks, competing with Les Canadiennes de Montreal. In each season, Deschenes would experience significant milestones.

During her rookie season (2015-16), she competed in the first professional women’s ice hockey outdoor game, as Les Canadiennes challenged the NWHL’s Boston Pride at Gillette Stadium. Not only was this the first game between the two leagues, Deschenes would score the first goal of the game. By season’s end, she would appear in the 2016 Clarkson Cup finals, the first contested in an NHL arena (Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre). Although she emerged from the Finals without the Cup, the following season would bring with it redemption. In a season that saw Deschenes also compete at Montreal’s Bell Centre, the 2017 Clarkson Cup finals would see Deschenes etch her name on the prestigious title, adding another proud championship in her career.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

150 Canadian Greats in women’s ice hockey (61-70)

61: Susan Dalziel PEI Sports Hall of Fame Having volunteered her time in women's ice hockey in Prince Edward Island since the early 1970s, Dalziel also played, competing with the Spudettes since 1973. Capturing eight straight provincial championships, the Spudettes were also Dominion "B" champions in 1976. The CAHA named her to the Committee for the Development of Women's Ice Hockey, and in 1978, she became the first woman to attend a CAHA General Annual Meeting. At the 1991 Canada Winter Games, she was also named Sport Director for Women's Hockey.

62: Glynis Peters Olympic Team Leader 1997-98 A manager for the Canadian Hockey Association women's team since 1990, Peters was also a former player. At the high school level in Niagara Falls, she captured three straight Powder Puff Tournament wins. Later playing for the Canterbury Rebels club team in Ottawa, Peters was an essential component in the rise of women's hockey in the 1990s, serving as Team Leader for Canada in eight different tournaments, including the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

63: Elizabeth Graham Goaltending Pioneer While competing with the Queen's Golden Gaels, Elizabeth Graham would make history by becoming the first goaltender to wear a mask in a game. Achieving this feat in 1927, as a means to protect some dental work recently completed, it had the appearance of a fencing mask. Three years later, Clint Benedict would become the first to wear a mask in an NHL game.

64: Delayne Brian Goaltender Having stood between the pipes for Canada at the inaugural IIHF U18 women's world championships, it marked the beginning of a brilliant career for Delayne Brian. After a collegiate career at Wayne State (where she called future Toronto Furies skater Alyssa Baldin a teammate) and with the Robert Morris Colonials, the arrival of Delayne Brian signified a new era in the history of the Calgary Inferno. Transforming the franchise from doormat to dominant, she was recognized as the 2014 CWHL Goaltender of the Year Award winner, signifying the first time that a member of the Inferno captured a major award. Rewarded for her strong season with a chance to compete for Team White at the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, she would return to the second edition of the All-Star Game, competing with a victorious Team Black.

The following year, Brian would add to her haul of hockey hardware by being named the Most Outstanding Goaltender for Canada at the 2015 ISBHF Women's Worlds in Zug, Switzerland. Her defining moment would take place at the 2016 Clarkson Cup. With the Inferno the underdog against the favored Canadiennes de Montreal, Brian played valiantly. Facing 41 shots in the first Cup Finals contested on NHL ice (at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre), she was recognized as the MVP of the postseason, as the Inferno defeated Montreal by an 8-3 mark for their first-ever Clarkson Cup victory. (Photo credit: Jess Bazal)

65: Jamie Lee Rattray Player Having graduated as the all-time scoring leader in the history of the Clarkson Golden Knights, Rattray was the first player of Native Canadian heritage to have played on all three levels of Canada's national women's hockey team (U18, U22/Developmental, Senior). Appearing on a trading card in Upper Deck's 2011 World of Sport series, she would capture an NCAA Frozen Four title with Clarkson in 2014. During that same year, she would win the CBHA National Ball Hockey Championship with the Vanier Mooseheads. The following year, another CBHA championship would be added to her trophy case, achieving the feat with the Toronto Shamrocks.

66: Camille Leonard Goaltender Having won four consecutive NCAA Division III national women's ice hockey championships with the Plattsburgh Cardinals, Leonard first established herself as a star goalie competing for Bradi Cochrane with the PWHL's Oakville Hornets. Having rewritten the Division III goaltending records, she graduated from SUNY-Plattsburgh with an astounding 72-4-0 won-loss mark. Recording 15 shutouts in her junior season, she is also a two-time All-America selection. (Photo credit: Tim Brule, USCHO Photoshelter)

67: Bobbie Rosenfeld LOHA President Famous as a Track and Field athlete, capturing a gold medal at the 1928 Summer Games, and later a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Bobbie Rosenfeld was also a prominent women's hockey competitor. Competing with the Toronto Patterson Pats, she was considered Ontario's best competitor during the 1931-32 season. Having helped form the Ladies Ontario Hockey Association in 1924, a forebear to the Ontario Women's Hockey Association in the 1970s, she was its President for five years, before Roxy Atkins took the mantle of 1939, one year before the LOHA folded.

68: Karen Hughes Coach Named Team Canada's head coach for the 2002-03 season, she was also part of Daniele Sauvageau's staff that captured gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games. Having spent over 10 seasons as a head coach with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, where she coaches the likes of Lori Dupuis, Andria Hunter and Jayna Hefford, she would capture a CIS national championship in 2000-01.

69: Kay "Cookie" Cartwright Kingston Sports Hall of Fame Having played with the Kingston Red Barons, a team she helped co-found, Kay Cartwright was also a prominent golf competitor, capturing 24 club championships. A key figure in helping to reinstate women's ice hockey at the university level in 1960, she was also part of the steering committee for the OWHA, helping to also draft its constitution. Having also played with the Queen's Golden Gaels, she would help the club capture the first national championship.

70: Dr. Judy McCaw Pioneer A member of the first Guelph Gryphons team to capture the WIAU provincial university championship in 1966-67, Judy McCaw's name would become synonymous with the trophy for generations. In 1972, the University of Guelph would dedicate the trophy in her honor after winning it in 1971-72. Serendipitously, the 50th anniversary of the Gryphons championship team would result in the Gryphons capturing their second straight McCaw Cup, winning on home ice against the Nipissing Lakers.