Monday, March 14, 2011

Jennifer Botterill


Jennifer Botterill announced her retirement for the Canadian women's national team in March 2011, marking the end of one of the most storied international careers in women's hockey history.

Botterill's trophy case includes 3 Olympic gold medals, 1 Olympic silver medal,  5 World Championship gold medals, and two World Championships MVP awards.

When not starring with Team Canada she educated hockey players at Harvard, where she is the Crimson's all time leading scorer with 65 goals, 109 assists for 174 points in 184 career games. At one time she had a ridiculous 80 game point scoring streak, and she is the only two time winner of the Patty Kazmaier Awards as top female college hockey player in the US. She even managed to find time to earn an honours degree in Psychology while at Harvard.

In what proved to be her final game, Botterill, originally from Winnipeg, set up Marie-Philip Poulin for the game winning goal at the 2010 Olympics gold medal game.

Botterill, by the way, comes from a pretty amazing sports family. Her mother, Doreen, competed as a speedskater for Canada in the 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics. Her father, Cal, is a noted sports psychologist who has worked with NHL teams and Canadian Olympic athletes. Her brother Jason is the only winner of three World Junior Hockey Championships with Team Canada and played in the NHL. He is now an assistant general manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Even her grandfather, Donald Grant McCannell, is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

By the way, here's how brother Jason remembers Jennifer when the two were growing up together.

"She has always been a fairly good skater and an excellent playmaker," says Jason, who will readily admit she was the better skater. Although Jason was not the most agile skater, skating came naturally for the Botterill family. Their mother Doreen was a Canadian Olympic speed skater in 1964 and 1968.

Although the kids played many sports, hockey was their true love.

"We used to play ball hockey in our basement. I knew she was probably going to be a pretty good player when I'd go in net and, when she started out, she'd shoot little softballs at me and they'd be no problem at all.

"Then, as she got going, she'd wind up and take big slappers at me and I'd be darting to get out of the way rather than trying to stop them."

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