Friday, April 26, 2013

Colleen Sostorics

Talk about an amazing storybook ending. Colleen Sostorics went from impossible dreams in small town Saskatchewan to striking gold on the biggest stage in the world.

Colleen Sostorics, who grew up in the farming community of Kennedy, Saskatchewan, capped her hockey career with an Olympic gold medal on home ice in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games. The 30 year old then left the game at the very top of her profession.

"Having a chance to step on the ice at GM Place in front of the Canadian fans and get that gold medal with my teammates who had fought so hard all year, that's definitely a highlight of my career," she told the Regina Leader-Post.  "But, looking back at it, there have been so many other highlights that weren't necessarily involving gold medals. I think back to my days of playing minor hockey in Kennedy. When we got to that league final in bantam (she was the captain of the boys team), that was a huge deal, and the first time I ever wore the (Canadian) jersey in 1998 with the under-22 team, and my first chance on the senior team in 2001. There's a lot of milestones that are really important and things that I'll cherish and always remember.

"I couldn't ask for anything more. I don't know if you can top that as an athlete," she added. "I knew I was going to try to make this team and hopefully win a gold medal for Canada. Once that was accomplished it took a few months to think about it and decide. Four years is a long time until the next Olympics and I think that was kind of out of the question. Might as well hang 'em up now and see what's next."

"Of course it was a difficult decision but I know it's the right decision," said Sostorics, who retired as the third-highest scoring defender in Team Canada history. "I've had a really rewarding career. Now I'm just looking forward to what comes next, all the adventures and challenges that will go with the second stage of my life."

Sostorics is a three-time Olympic gold medallist (2002, 2006 and 2010) and a three-time world champion (2001, 2004 and 2007). In 139 games with the Canadian national team the defender scored 13 goals and 53 points.

Sostorics has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Calgary. She works the motivational speaking scene and returns to help her parents on the family farm. She plans to stay very involved in hockey and sports (she is a notable fastball and rugby player, too), be it as a coach or administrator.

"That's where my passion lies," said Sostorics. "I think we all know, all of us Canadians, this game gets in your blood. You can't ever leave it for good. It's the game I love and it has played such a major role in my life. I want to stay involved in some capacity and give back to a community that has given so much to me."

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