Understanding what goaltender Shannon Szabados has accomplished in the past year is an exercise in mythbusting.
She’s broken new ground for female hockey players. She’s flourished in the all-male Southern Professional Hockey League after joining last year on the heels of her second Olympic gold medal for Canada. It’s tempting, though, to tell her story a certain romantic way: she overcomes insurmountable odds, endures hardship and abuse from teammates and opponents, and she triumphs.
That cliched idea belongs in Mulan. Toss it in the trash. There’s nothing conventional about Shannon Szabados’ journey. Her tale is not one of fighting to survive in the male game. It’s about growing up in the male game and earning a spot she’s worked toward her entire life. This is Szabados’ inspiring true story. And it’s nowhere near finished.
When Natalie Spooner was young, her goal was to play in the NHL. Years later, she has done the next best thing: made a career for herself in the CWHL and as a member of Canada’s national team. However, she wants to make sure the next generation of women’s hockey stars can focus solely on being professional athletes.
“There’s more challenges as I’m getting older,” Spooner told thn.com. “When I was young, I was just playing the game. Now, getting older and having to realize where my future is and wondering if I can work, I think that’s the biggest barrier that can hopefully be broken in the future – that having women’s sports, or women’s hockey, be a fulltime job or being a career. Because right now it’s not.” Read more
At every major women’s tournament it seems like an inevitability – the United States taking on Canada for the gold medal and the game becoming one of the highlights of the hockey season. The gold medal contest at the 2015 Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden was no different.
What will be most memorable about the gold medal contest, aside from continued dominance at the World Championships by the American squad, is Canada’s three-goal comeback in a span of little more than two minutes. The Canadian squad fought back from a 3-0 deficit to enter the first intermission down 4-2 before a Haley Skarupa marker put the Americans ahead 5-2.
Over the next 2:03, Canada rallied with three straight goals. First, Brigette Lacquette scored on a blast from the blueline. Rebecca Johnston followed that up with a goal from the slot. Then, with American goaltender Alex Rigsby replacing the rattled Jessie Vetter, Caroline Outlette produced the game-tying goal on a deflection of a Lacquette point shot. The Canadian effort set up for a furious finish in the third. Read more
Goaltenders have used mask art to pay tribute to troops, they’ve shown their love for family and friends and in some cases the legends who came before them. For Russia’s Maria Sorokina, her mask for the Women’s World Championship honors the life of Alexei Cherepanov.
Cherepanov, you may recall, was drafted 17th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2007 draft. While playing in the KHL for Avangard Omsk in 2008, Cherepanov tragically passed away at the age of 19. During an October 2008 contest against Vityaz Chekhov, Cherepanov returned to the bench following a shift, collapsed and was later pronounced dead. His death shocked the hockey world. Read more
Less than three weeks after the CWHL handed out the Clarkson Cup to the Boston Blades, news comes that next season they’ll have to compete with a rival women’s league… and a rival league that can pay its players.
Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale reported this afternoon the league, spawned by Dani Rylan and former Team USA superstar Angela Ruggiero, will begin its inaugural season in 2015-16. With four teams spread across the Northeastern United States, the four team league hopes it can coincide with the CWHL while giving women’s players another option, one that will offer them pay and takes the onus off of its players to find time, money and resources to compete in the league. Read more
A dream season for Shannon Szabados keeps getting better. With wins over Huntsville and Knoxville, Szabados was named the SPHL Player of the Week for the second time this season.
In her two victories, Szabados, who plays for the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths, posted a 1.00 goals-against average and monster .970 save percentage. In Tuesday game against Huntsville, Szabados stopped 34 of the 35 shots she faced and turned aside 16 of 17 attempts Friday against Knoxville. Read more
In thrilling news for elite women’s hockey and young women playing the game at all levels, the Montreal Canadiens strengthened the NHL’s connection to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Thursday by announcing a partnership with the league’s most successful team, the Montreal Stars.
“With the growing popularity of women’s hockey over the last decade, I think this is the right time to concretely support women who play professional hockey, and, at the same time, promote the sport among up-and-coming players,” Canadiens president Geoff Molson said in a news release. Read more
Through her play on the ice and her commitment to her community off of it, women’s hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser has inspired millions of hockey-playing women and Canadians from all backgrounds. But Wednesday she took time on her website to write a beautiful tribute to a brave young girl who recently passed away after battling cancer.
Wickenheiser initially met the youngster, Grace Bowen, through her cousin at a fitness event approximately a year ago, and was moved by her story, developing a close friendship with the young girl and her family and visiting her in hospital. When Wickenheiser attended Canada’s Walk Of Fame ceremonies in October, she took Bowen along as her guest.
And after she learned of Bowen’s passing, Wickenheiser poured her heart out in a glorious celebration of who the youngster was: a fighter until the very end, when terminal cancer claimed her body March 13; a beautiful and resilient daughter and sister; and a true source of inspiration who will be remembered by anyone who either knew her or knew her story: Read more