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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/pioneer+women+puck/11809360/story.html
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.
Image obtained from: https://twitter.com/boof_campbell/status/837887782748041216
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.
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.
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.