Friday, November 23, 2012

Danielle Goyette

Once called "the Gordie Howe of women’s hockey", Danielle Goyette was a superstar talent on offence who  continued to produce well into her lengthy career. In fact, she had more points in her final Women’s World Championship in 2007 at age 41 (11) than she did in her first 15 years earlier as a 26-year-old (10).

Goyette played in three Olympics and nine IIHF Women’s World Championships, winning gold every time except at the 1998 Olympics and 2005 Worlds when Canada won silver. She has represented Canada at international competitions more than any other hockey player in history – male or female – and has more than 100 goals to her credit in international play. By the time she retired from the national team she was second all-time with 15 goals at the Olympics. At the Women's World Championships she ranked third all time with 37 goals and fourth overall with 68 points.

Goyette grew up in St. Nazaire, Quebec, a village of just 800 people located some three hours north of Quebec City.

With such a small population she had no problem being welcomed on the boys teams. Starting at age four she was out with the boys on an outside rink where she dreamed she was playing with her beloved Montreal Canadiens. She also excelled at Tennis (she was a to junior player in the province) and fastball (she once made Canada's under 21 national team and travelled to the World Championships).

By 1991 she left Quebec for Calgary to join the Canadian national women's hockey team. She could barely speak a word of English. But she was fully fluent in the language of hockey. She slowly learned English and overcame a feeling of isolation to become a Canadian hockey legend. Much of her career she battled the younger Hayley Wickenheiser as Canada's top offensive woman.

For all the Olympic medals and world championships, Goyette's greatest moment as an athlete came in 2006 when she was selected as Canada's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremonies at the Turin Olympics.

Goyette, who suffered 24 shoulder dislocations requiring 3 surgeries, later became head coach at the University of Calgary. She led the Dinos to the school's first national championship in 2012.

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