Thursday, September 25, 2014

Women's Hockey Legends

Meghan Agosta
Tessa Bonhomme
Jennifer Botterill
Cassie Campbell
Delaney Collins
Judy Diduck
Nancy Drolet
Danielle Goyette
Elizabeth Graham

Jayna Hefford
Abby Hoffman
Angela James
Becky Kellar
Gina Kingsbury
Albertine Lapensee
Carla MacLeod
Cherie Piper
Hilda Ranscombe
Manon Rheaume
Bobbie Rosenfeld
France St. Louis
Kim St. Pierre
Colleen Sostorics
Vicky Sunohara
Isobel Stanley
Sarah Vaillancourt

Karyn Bye-Dietz
Cammi Granato
Katie King
Karen Koch
Shelley Looney
Kathryn Waldo

Pia (Grengman) Sterner

Yoko Kondo
Tamae Satsu

Valentina Bettarini

Jessica Lutz

Jayna Hefford

At 37 years of age Jayna Hefford was the oldest member of the Canadian women's hockey team to win gold at Sochi in 2014.

She’s now pondering her hockey future.

Given her age she knows she is nearing the end, no matter how much she tries to ignore that. And given her status as one of the true legends of the women's game, there is nothing left for her to prove.

Arguably the best female hockey player of her generation, Hefford has achieved what many athletes can only dream of.

Hefford has worn the Maple Leaf at five Olympic Games and in a dozen world women’s championships. The Kingston, Ontario native ranks second all-time for Canada in scoring and games played behind longtime teammate Hayley Wickenheiser. Among her 157 goals in 267 international games was the memorable game-winner in the 2002 Olympic final in Salt Lake City.

“It’s never really been about the accomplishments for me," she told Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press. "If it were, maybe I would have retired after Salt Lake City after I won my first Olympic gold medal.”

“I’m really just trying to find out what I want to do, taking into consideration a lot of things whether that’s my age, my family, my level of motivation, what am I going to do after hockey?” Hefford said.

Meghan Agosta

Meghan Agosta isn't hanging up her skates just yet. But she is pausing her hockey career and getting her next career started.

Normally Agosta, a three time Olympic gold medal champion, would be with her Team Canada teammates as training camp opens. Instead she is at the Justice Institute of British Columbia training to become a police officer.

“I’ve only had two passions in my life and that’s policing and hockey,” Agosta told The Canadian Press from Vancouver. “To be able to fulfill both dreams is pretty amazing.”

Agosta was Canada’s top scorer at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., with nine goals and six assists in five games. She was named the most valuable player of the women’s hockey tournament.

She’s represented Canada in women’s hockey for a decade. Agosta celebrated her 19th birthday with a hat trick against Russia at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

In 2014 she helped Canada win gold in Sochi, Russia, coming from behind by two goals down to beat the United States in overtime.

Agosta says she is not retiring and wants to play in a fourth Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

Tessa Bonhomme

Tessa Bonhomme was a quietly solid defenseman for a decade with Canada's national women's team. Off the ice she was vibrant personality, full of life. It is little surprise that she has left the game to pursue opportunities in television.

Bonhomme made her international debut at the 2004 Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., and finished her career with 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists) in 107 games. She is the fifth-highest-scoring defenceman in the history of Canada’s senior women’s team.

The native of Sudbury, Ontario won gold with Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and at the IIHF World Women’s Championship in 2007 and 2012. She assisted on Caroline Ouellette’s overtime winner in the 2012 gold-medal game.

Bonhomme also won silver at the world championship in 2009, 2011 and 2013. She participated in the Four Nations Cup on eight occasions, winning six gold medals (2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013) and two silver (2008, 2012).

“On behalf of Hockey Canada and Canadian hockey fans everywhere, I want to thank Tessa for what she did not only in bringing Canada success on the ice, but what she did to grow the women’s game off it,” Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, said in a statement. “She will continue to be a tremendous ambassador for the sport, and I have no doubt she will find success wherever her career leads her.”

Bonhomme, who also had a legendary NCAA with the Ohio State Buckeyes, will continue her broadcasting career with TSN as a full-time host and reporter. She will also contribute to the network’s coverage of Hockey Canada events. She also competed in reality shows Wipeout Canada and Battle of the Blades, winning the hockey turned figure skating competition with partner David Pelletier.

Did you know Tessa's uncle Tim Bonhomme has been a keyboardist with the Beach Boys since 1997?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nancy Drolet

Nancy Drolet had a storied career, but I always think of the 1997 world championships when I hear her name.

Canada captured their 4th consecutive world title that year, and they can thank Drolet's hat trick heroics in a gritty overtime game vs. the United States.

Drolet scored twice in regulation and then, at 12:59 of OT, scored the 4-3 game winner.

“I didn't want to say to myself, ‘Can I give more?’ after the game,” Drolet explained afterwards. “I just gave all I got, and I got three goals.”

Drolet did it again in 2000. Her slap shot at 6:10 of overtime hit American goalie Sara de Costa in the shoulder and trickled over the line to give Canada a 3-2 victory and their sixth straight world titles.

Drolet, from Drummondville, Quebec, was also a notable softball player who played on Canada's national team in 1990 and 1991. By 1993 she was named as Canada's junior athlete of the year.

Her career with Canada's national women's team last from 1992 through 2000. She won a silver medal at the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and is a six time world champion.

Nowadays Drolet is an orthotherapist and massage therapist in Drummondville.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Valentina Bettarini

This is Valentina Bettarini. In 2006 she set Olympic hockey history by representing her native Italy at the Torino games. At the age of 15 years and 228 days she became the youngest hockey player - male or female - to participate in an Olympic hockey tournament.

Though the Italian women's hockey team has not been strong enough to qualify for another Olympics, Ms. Bettarini continues to play for the Italian national team as well as a women's club team in Austria.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Geraldine Heaney

On November 11th, 2013 Geraldine Heaney will become just the third female player inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Heaney will join her long time Canadian teammate Angela James and U.S. forward Cammi Granato, both of whom were enshrined in 2010.

Why it took so long to include another female player is a controversial mystery made all the more maddening by Heaney's obvious credentials.

“As a young girl playing hockey, never in my wildest dreams would I ever think I’d be going in the Hall. It shows you where the women’s game as come and how much further it can go.”

Heaney won gold with Canada at the first seven women’s world hockey championships held starting in 1990. The offensive defenceman, often compared to Scott Niedermayer or even Bobby Orr, was named the tournament’s top defenceman in both 1992 and 1994.

She scored a highlight reel goal for Canada in the final of the inaugural world championship in Ottawa. She split the U.S. defence, avoided the goaltender’s attempted poke check and sailed through the air after slipping the puck into the net.

“That very first world championship and scoring the winning goal is something that I always have a chance to see because they play it on TV quite a bit,” Heaney said.

She took silver when women’s hockey made its Olympic debut in 1998 and won gold four years later in Salt Lake City before retiring.

In 2008 Heaney joined James and Granato as the first female inductees in the IIHF Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a girl born in Belfast, Ireland, eh? Her family emigrated to Canada when she was a toddler and she grew up as a rink rat in the Toronto area.

“It was a male game when I played and going down to the Hall of Fame any time, you never saw in any females in there, so you didn’t think this would ever happen,” Heaney said. “I’m so glad that it has.”

Heaney had 27 goals and 66 assists in 125 career games for Canada. The 45-year-old still holds national team records for the world championship games (35) goals (8), assists (28), and points (36) by a defenceman.

Heaney has remained involved in the game as a coach at the University of Waterloo.

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