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 whockey.com, 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.

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