In the next few years, which women will follow in the footsteps of Cassie Campbell and have the honour of the Order of Hockey in Canada bestowed upon them? While current players such as Gillian Apps, Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser are assured of their spot, there are many worthy choices to choose from in the near future.
Considering their induction into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, Angela James and Geraldine Heaney must be locks for 2013 and 2014, respectively. Both played on the first Women’s World Championship Team in 1990, and were in anonymity for many years despite raising Canada to a world power in women’s ice hockey.
After that, the field widens as there are many worthy recipients. Vicky Sunohara was another leader and elite performer during the early years of modern women’s ice hockey. She was another member of the 1990 World Championship team, and played in the Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League, the predecessor to the NWHL and CWHL. Before participating at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, Sunohara made a name for herself with the Northeastern Huskies, along with fellow Nagano teammates Laura Schuler and Karen Nystrom. With a career that spanned nearly two decades, Sunohara was a role model to an entire generation of girls learning that they too had a place on the ice.
The contributions of French Canadian players to women’s ice hockey in Canada read as a veritable who’s who of hockey. If the government of Quebec ever wanted to establish an Order of Hockey in Quebec, the following would have to be the first six women to claim the honour. They were part of the growth of women’s ice hockey in Quebec during the 1990’s; Manon Rheaume, France St. Louis, Nancy Drolet, Nathalie Picard, Daniele Sauvageau, and Nathalie Picard. Every one of them participated in the League Regionale du Hockey Feminin au Quebec, and Drolet even managed her team while playing as well. All six are worthy of the Order of Hockey in Canada, as Quebec (along with Alberta and Ontario) provided many of the first heroes in modern women’s ice hockey.
Danielle Goyette is probably making an even greater contribution as a head coach than she did as an elite hockey player. A former member of the Canadian National Team that spent many years in anonymity, Goyette is sharing her knowledge of the game as a coach in various capacities. She led the Calgary Dinos to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in 2012. Her name helps lend a lot of credibility to the quality of women’s ice hockey in the CIS, while recruiting top talent such as Hayley Wickenheiser and Iya Gavrilova to play for her. In addition, she served as an assistant coach on the women’s team that won the gold at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey championships. She is proving that her leadership skills extend beyond her playing abilities. (As a side note, the only other players from the 1998 Nagano team that have made the transition into coaching include Stacy Wilson, Geraldine Heaney, Laura Schuler, and Karen Nystrom).
TO BE CONTINUED