Injuries shortened the promising career of Canada's Sarah Vaillancourt
Vaillancourt was an amazing story in her college career at Harvard University. As a freshman she openly admitted that she was a lesbian, and that she would leave if anyone had a problem with that. Fortunately none of her coaches or teammates did, because she went on to become one of the top players in the Ivy League school's history.
As a junior in 2008 she was awarded the Patty Kazmaier award as the nation’s top college player in 2008. She was a top ten finalist in her sophomore year, too. As a senior she was named ECAC player of the year. Somehow she also found tie to earn a psychology degree from Harvard, too!
Vaillancourt, from Sherbrooke, Quebec, was a mainstay on the Canadian national team during that time. She won Olympic Gold Medals in 2006 and 2010. She also played in six World Championships, winning Gold in 2007. All told, Sarah contributed 98 points (45 goals, 53 assists) in her 107 game career with Canada.
A hip injury and a series of sports hernias have not allowed her to play a full season since 2010. The hip injury required surgery.
She will be missed in Sochi, as she plays a nice grinder's role for the national team. The Canadian Press' Donna Spencer described Vaillancourt as "Vaillancourt’s game is skill and sandpaper. She has the vision and quick hands of a playmaker, but is also a burr under the saddle of the opposition."
While Vaillancourt retired from the Canadian national team at age 27, she continues to play and be a role model for young women everywhere. She is playing for the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League while pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Sherbrooke.