Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jennifer Botterill

As a huge fan of the World Junior Hockey Championships, Jason Botterill of Team Canada quickly became a favorite of mine. After all, when you set a Team Canada record by winning three consecutive gold medals at the WJC, you must be a pretty special player.

He was, although of 481 games as a professional, only 88 came in the NHL. But his hockey resume is impressive nonetheless - the three gold medals, a scholarship at the University of Michigan, first round NHL draft pick by Dallas in 1994. Concussion problems cut his career short, but he is still in the game, having upgraded his schooling with the goal of one day becoming a NHL general manager.

Impressive, but his hockey resume is not even the most decorated in the family. That title is held by his sister, Jennifer.

Jennifer is a mainstay on the Canadian national women's team. She's won 2 Olympic gold medals and 1 Silver, and is likely to win another medal at the 2010 Olympics. She's been a part of 5 world championship teams, twice being named as the tournament MVP.

She also won a NCAA title with Harvard. She scored at least one point in 106 of her 107 career collegiate games, including in a record 80 consecutive games. Her career totals of 149 goals, 170 assists and 319 points all represent collegiate records. In 2003 she graduated (with honours) in Psychology. Her father Cal is a noted Canadian sports psychologist and has worked with NHL teams and Olympic athletes.

Jennifer will be going for gold in 2010, while her brother Jason will be cheering her on.

"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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