Jill Cardella finishes strong month as CWHL leading scorer for November

While it comes as no surprise to see the defending Clarkson Cup champion Boston Blades sit atop the CWHL standings, the biggest surprise may be that rookie Jill Cardella has emerged as the league’s leading scorer. Selected 20th overall by the Blades in the 2013 CWHL Draft, she is one of five Blades players among the CWHL’s top ten scorers, Cardella has rode a remarkable wave of momentum.

Her CWHL debut set the tone for a superlative month of November. With the Blades hosting the league’s first game of the season on November 2, Cardella logged a two-point night with one goal and one assist. The following day, she would improve on her performance with a three-point output on the strength of two assists.

Of note, the November 2-3 sweep of the Brampton Thunder saw the Blades outscore the team by a convincing 9-3 combined score. Cardella would keep the hot hand as she would score again in a November 9 victory over the Montreal Stars. Scoring in the third period, it would stand as the game winning tally (the first in her CWHL career) as Brittany Ott made 51 saves in an epic performance.

With Blades head coach DIgit Muprhy on 2013 CWHL Draft Day (Image obtained from Boston CWHL facebook page)

With Blades head coach DIgit Muprhy on 2013 CWHL Draft Day (Image obtained from Boston CWHL facebook page)

With a goal in each of her first three CWHL games, Cardella quickly emerged as the most productive rookie in the early part of the season. Complemented by the performance of other Blades rookies such as Casey Pickett and Jillian Dempsey, ranking second and third in league scoring, the possibility of a second consecutive Clarkson Cup is very real.

The hot November that Cardella, Pickett and Dempsey have logged signifies the first time that the top three scorers in the first month of a CWHL season were American-born, a breakthrough moment in Blades history. Whenever Cardella logs at least one point this season, the Blades have enjoyed a sterling 5-1-0 mark. In games where she has registered multiple points, the Blades are undefeated, sporting a 3-0-0 record.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Cardella’s game is her dedication. Having never missed a game during her storied NCAA career with the Boston University Terriers, she is an iron woman. In her senior season with the BU Terriers, she helped the team capture the Hockey East championship while playing against Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four title game. Also serving as one of the Terriers co-captains, she set career highs in assists and points.

Whether she can retain this momentum throughout the remainder of the season waits to be seen. In the meanwhile, her solid leadership and dedication provides her team with an opportunity to win, which definitely holds as much value if not more than logging points.

National pride for Meghan Duggan as she is named captain of US women’s hockey team

As the United States looks to claim their first gold medal in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games since 1998, the player who shall occupy the captaincy is Meghan Duggan. Following in the proud tradition of Cammi Granato, Krissy Wendell and Natalie Darwitz, Duggan becomes the fourth player to serve as the US captain in Winter Games history. A member of the US National Team since 2007, the native of Danvers, Mass. boasts a remarkable hockey resume.

Having been part of the Clarkson Cup championship team with the Boston Blades in 2013, along with a gold medal at the IIHF Women’s Worlds in Ottawa, the captaincy is another remarkable accomplishment in a storied career. From winning the Bob Allen Award for the Best Women’s Player in USA Hockey to the Patty Kazmaier Award as a senior at Wisconsin, she has assembled a list of awards and honors that are Hall of Fame worthy.

In late October, she would get the opportunity to take part in the US Olympic Committee’s 100 Days to Sochi celebrations at Times Square in New York City. Along with Julie Chu and Hilary Knight (who could have both been captain), the titanic trio provided an ice hockey demonstration for jubilant fans.

Since gaining the captaincy, Duggan has encountered a slight bump in the road to Sochi. Debuting at the Four Nations Cup as team captain, the defending gold medal champions did not meet expectation. While the bronze medal at the 2013 Four Nations Cup was far from the desired outcome, the game that truly counts shall be the gold medal game at Sochi.

Hilary Knight (left) and Duggan at Times Square in New York City (Image obtained from Twitter)

Hilary Knight (left) and Duggan at Times Square in New York City (Image obtained from Twitter)

Should Duggan lead the US to gold, it shall provide her with membership into a very rare hockey club; the Triple Gold Club for Women. Consisting of the Clarkson Cup, IIHF World Gold and Winter Games Gold, she would become the second American woman to gain entry (the first was Jenny Potter). In addition, Duggan has also won an NCAA Frozen Four title (like Potter), which would give her the American Grand Slam in women’s hockey. If Knight qualifies for the final US roster, a gold medal would also provide her with the Grand Slam.

Although competition from an always difficult Canadian squad and highly ambitious squads from Finland and Russia shall make the gold medal a hard-earned one, it is difficult to doubt Duggan. From championships in the CWHL, IIHF and NCAA, she is a proven winner and a remarkable leader. With aspirations to one day become a doctor after her playing days, the Winter Games gold medal is the final piece of the puzzle in defining more than just a hockey hero but a positive influence for young women in sport.

Danielle Boudreau’s first career CWHL goal holds even greater meaning

With Brampton visiting Boston for the first game of the 2013-14 CWHL season, it brought with it a sense of renewed optimism. As both teams have rebuilt through the draft after having lost several superstar members of their rosters for the golden dream of the Sochi Winter Games, fans at ISCC Simsbury Olympic rink were treated to a new generation of stars.

As the frozen perimeter brought with it fresh faces and established snipers at the NCAA level such as Brampton’s first-round pick Jess Jones and Boston’s Casey Pickett, who once played in an outdoor game at Fenway Park, fans were anticipating which player would log the first goal of the season.

Ironically, it would be a stay-at-home defender with great humility and a team-first approach that would log the magical first goal of the season. Danielle Boudreau, selected in the third round, 13th overall by Brampton would bury the puck past Alissa Fromkin. Ironically, the first goal scored in the 2012-13 season was also scored by a rookie, Sara Dagenais of the Montreal Stars.

One of the biggest goals of her life would be scored at the 9:28 mark of the first with assists going to long-time CWHL vet Jennifer Kirk and Kelly Hart. With experience as an alternate captain (with Clarkson), Boudreau has the potential to provide solid leadership for the rebuilding Brampton club. Complemented by shot blocking as the favorite aspect of her game, it may not be the last time this season fans hear her name.

Having carved a solid career at the NCAA level with the Clarkson Golden Knights, the Whitby native won Clarkson’s Ron Frazer Award (presented to a player who has elevated her game in key situations). Having logged 32 points in 150 career games, her last NCAA goal would come on December 3, 2011 versus Union, while her final points were a pair of assists on February 3, 2012 against Brown.

While Jill Cardella and Casey Pickett (also logging her first career CWHL goal in her debut) would score in the second stanza as Boston eventually prevailed, Boudreau’s goal was part of a valiant effort in which Brampton is ready to recapture the glory days of old. With parity being the theme of this new season, every team has an opportunity to surprise and compete for the most coveted prize in women’s hockey. Just like the first goal of the season, the last goal to win the Clarkson may be from the unlikeliest of stars.

Brittany Ott shines in CWHL debut for Boston Blades

After a stellar four-year career with the University of Maine Black Bears, Brittany Ott is graduating to women’s pro hockey. Having rewritten many Black Bears goaltending records, Ott will be essential for the Boston Blades ambitions of repeating as Clarkson Cup champions.

With the absence of backstops Genevieve Lacasse and Molly Schaus to their respective national centralization camps (in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games), the Blades were faced with a significant gap between the pipes. The selection of Ott in the 2013 CWHL Draft may prove to be just the remedy they require.

Ott had her opportunity to start for the Blades in the second game of the 2013-14 Canadian Women’s Hockey League season. A Sunday afternoon tilt on November 3 would signify the first game of her Blades career. Competing against opposing goalie Jamie Miller of the Brampton Thunder at Boss Ice Arena, it would not take long for the Blades to provide Ott with a lead.

At the 2:48 mark of the first frame, Jill Cardella scored to give the black and gold an early lead. Only 13 seconds later, Brampton’s first round pick Jess Jones would become the answer to a trivia question as she scored the first goal on Ott in CWHL play.

After close to 11 minutes of scoreless play, Jessica Koizumi would regain the lead for Boston. With 20 seconds left, rookie Rachel Llanes would score with assists going to Blake Bolden and Ashley Cottrell. Going into intermission, the Blades enjoyed a 3-1 lead as Ott only faced six shots.

The second stanza would find Ott tested for the first time in her CWHL career. With penalties to Koizumi and Maggie Taverna within 31 seconds of each other, Brampton enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Showing great poise in the crease, Ott nullified the advantage as Brampton went scoreless.

While Brampton outshot Boston by a 9-8 count in the second, it was Boston that would continue to place the biscuit in the basket. Goals by rookie Casey Pickett and first round pick Jillian Dempsey showed that a bright future is ahead for these two promising stars.

Although Lindsay Vine would manage to score on Ott in the final frame, the Blades cruised to a 7-2 victory. With Boston having peppered Miller with 43 shots, Ott only had to face 21 shots from the beleaguered Brampton squad. Despite the Blades having lost over a dozen players due to centralization or retirement, Ott and fellow rookie Alissa Fromkin have the goaltending situation in good hands.

Growth of women’s hockey leads to remarkable contributions from female photographers

As the sport of women’s hockey has grown by a quantum leap since the introduction of women’s hockey at the 1998 Nagano Winter games, one of the areas where women have started to break through is in the traditionally male dominated field of sports photography.

While the budding Canadian Women’s Hockey League has seen male photographers such as Dave Holland, Richard Scott, Pasquale Stalteri and Brandon Taylor contribute some remarkable shots; there is also a group of women that have helped to capture the grit and determination of the fearless, frozen females of the rink.

(Left to right) CJ Ireland, Lyne Landry, Jessica Moffatt and Mandi Duhamel represent a former era of Ottawa women's hockey captured by Krista Windsor

(Left to right) CJ Ireland, Lyne Landry, Jessica Moffatt and Mandi Duhamel represent a former era of Ottawa women’s hockey captured by Krista Windsor

Among them was Ottawa’s Krista Windsor. One of the first women to contribute superlative photos of the CWHL’s finest in action, her work helped to provide the now defunct Ottawa Lady Senators with a pictorial history of its contribution to sport in Canada’s capital region.

Monica Dupuis releases a wrist shot while Brampton's Bobbi-Jo Slusar tries to defend at Ottawa's Carleton Ice House. Photo by: Krista Windsor

Monica Dupuis releases a wrist shot while Brampton’s Bobbi-Jo Slusar tries to defend at Ottawa’s Carleton Ice House. Photo by: Krista Windsor

Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the game, the opportunity to contribute with the Ottawa Senators was a labor of love. Having also taken nature and wildlife shots, Windsor has a keen eye for detail.

Windsor’s shots are an invaluable archive which helped to commemorate an era of women’s hockey in Ottawa that was gone too soon. The efforts of Lady Senators such as Kendra Antony, Robyn Rittmaster, and Danika Smith are captured masterfully through the lens of Windsor. For a generation of women that worked towards establishing a new era of women’s hockey in Ottawa, Windsor’s superlative photos are the ones these hockey pioneers shall likely show their grandchildren one day.

Based out of Montreal, Jess Desjardins’ work behind the lens is helping to only enhance the status of the CWHL’s Montreal Stars as one of the world’s finest women’s hockey franchises. Adding a major league feel to the contests at Etienne-Desmarteau Arena, Jess Desjardins is establishing herself as one of the finest women’s hockey photographers.

Jess Desjardins at the 2013 Clarkson Cup (Image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jess-Desjardins-Film-Photo/117476751726656)

Jess Desjardins at the 2013 Clarkson Cup (Image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jess-Desjardins-Film-Photo/117476751726656)

Of note, she was also part of two remarkable hockey events in 2013; the Clarkson Cup in Markham, Ontario, known as the Stanley Cup of women’s hockey and the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Ottawa. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that one of her photos was selected to be the cover of the Clarkson Cup souvenir program. To have an image selected for a magazine cover is certainly one of the finest compliments that a photographer can have.

Caroline Ouellette (left) and Dangerous Dominique Thibault were photographed by Desjardins. The image would make the cover of the 2013 Clarkson Cup program.

Caroline Ouellette (left) and Dangerous Dominique Thibault were photographed by Desjardins. The image would make the cover of the 2013 Clarkson Cup program.

Having grown up in Montreal, Desjardins is also a filmmaker contributing to videography with the Stars as well. With a past as an instructor and technician at Recording Arts Canada, she has also done freelance work as a sound recordist. Fluent in English, French and Spanish, she has certainly found her niche immortalizing the action which features the wondrous women that compete for the Stars.

Quickly emerging as the definitive photographer for hockey in New England, Melissa Wade captures more than just the excitement of women’s hockey. Seeing the frozen perimeter of the rink through her lens, she has also become a fixture at National Hockey League and American Hockey League contests.

Having covered both NCAA men’s and women’s competition, along with the CWHL’s Boston Blades, her presence adds a feeling of importance. For generations of collegiate hockey players, her images capture a moment in time in which the highly conditioned athletes gracing the ice have a feeling of indestructibility and an ambition to excel at the game with a pure love for the game.

Boston College captains Corinne Boyles (left) and Meagan Mangene celebrate a 5-1 home win over  the Maine Black Bears on October 6, 2013,  their Hockey East season opener at Kelley Rink. Photo by Melissa Wade

Boston College captains Corinne Boyles (left) and Meagan Mangene celebrate a 5-1 home win over the Maine Black Bears on October 6, 2013, their Hockey East season opener at Kelley Rink. Photo by Melissa Wade

Originally from Memphis, Wade calls Boston home. Her first exposure to photographing hockey came at the New Jersey Devils training camp several autumns ago. Motivated by the fact that early online searches resulted in less than a dozen or so photos of her favorite players, Wade began a website and fulfilled the need to accommodate other fans looking for photos also.

Employing a style that covers everyone on the ice and not just superstars, it has resulted in a terrific database which provides fans of all levels of hockey a unique view of the game. With the advent of social media, it has served as a remarkable tool for others to appreciate her devotion to the game.

With an archive of over 25,000 photos, Wade has created a visual diary, a time capsule that shall be treasured in the years to come. For fans of ECAC Hockey and Hockey East women’s hockey, she is the premier authority when it comes to capturing their glorious actions on ice.

Having revolutionized women’s hockey through the concept of a charitable pin-up calendar, the Vancouver Ice-O-Topes became an international sensation, while using proceeds to assist less fortunate teenagers in East Vancouver. Conceived by Topes member and fantastic photographer Rebecca Blissett, her unique vision and talent shone in the inaugural edition of the calendar.

Employed as a professional photographer, Blissett has had her work featured in Elle magazine, People, Spin, Metal Hammer, Peace, The Globe and Mail and the National Post. In addition, Vancouver-based entertainment magazine the Georgia Straight features many of her photos as she captures the zeitgeist of the Vancouver music scene.

Through the lens of Blissett, Ice-O-Topes player Tara Loseth recreates Paul Henderson’s goal against Russia in the Summit Series, one of the most iconic moments in hockey history. (Photo credit: Rebecca Blissett)

Through the lens of Blissett, Ice-O-Topes player Tara Loseth recreates Paul Henderson’s goal against Russia in the Summit Series, one of the most iconic moments in hockey history. (Photo credit: Rebecca Blissett)

Of note, her earliest experiences photographing hockey came while she sat in the penalty box shooting Junior A hockey. With a specialization in creative portraiture along with promotional shots for musicians and CD artwork, Blissett was the key to creating a set of tasteful yet powerful pin-up portraits that captured women’s hockey players in an unprecedented fashion.

Released in 2010, the first edition of the calendar sold out quickly, resulting in television appearances, including a popular talk show in Brazil. Other releases would follow annually up to 2013.

Creativity was a strong element in every edition of the Topes groundbreaking calendars. For the 2013 edition, classic hockey moments were reproduced with the Topes unique style. Throughout, Blissett has emerged as the creative genius bringing the worlds of glamour, athleticism and art into an amalgam of visual perfection.

Jaclyn Hawkins goes home again to help rebuild Connecticut Huskies hockey

As the Connecticut Huskies prepare for another season of NCAA women’s hockey, the program welcomes back one of its greatest stars; Jaclyn Hawkins. The all-time leading scorer in Huskies history, she helped give the program national exposure during her storied career.

Joining the new-look Huskies coaching staff, Hawkins will be the only female member. This is a radical change for the program, as Heather Linstad was the previous head coach. Having played for and coached with Linstad, there is no question that Hawkins bleeds Huskies blue. While Hawkins will likely be thrust into the role of a big sister for many of the newer faces on the team, her generosity and compassion makes her a valued member of this new-look program.

While this is actually Hawkins’ second tenure as a member of the Huskies staff (she was a coach for one season before she resumed her playing career in Europe), it is a wiser and more experienced Hawkins that shall return. Having also played for the likes of Erin Whitten and Digit Murphy, she has gained an even greater vision of the game, and it is one that should yield remarkable dividends this season.

Sadly, her playing career was cut prematurely. Having suffered from a wrist injury, she was sidelined early in the 2012-13 CWHL season. Having competed with the Boston Blades, her presence helped to give professional women’s hockey in New England a stronger voice. Although the CWHL has lost one of its greatest ambassadors in Jaclyn Hawkins, she remains an integral part of women’s hockey.

In addition to her coaching duties, she is also the founder and president of the website Women’s Hockey Life. A forum for fans, players, coaches and administrators to share their views on the game, while other sections are dedicated to reviews on equipment and finding a team to play for, it is quite possibly the most important site on women’s hockey in the world.

While CWHL fans will no longer have the opportunity to see one of the true builders of the female game grace the ice, they need to consider that this is not an end, but the beginning of another great chapter. Her chance to return to Connecticut and rebuild the Huskies is a tremendous opportunity.

She is one of the true role models in women’s hockey and her legacy with the Huskies is one that shall instill confidence in the players, while providing them with the motivation to pursue their dreams.

Blake Bolden emerges as the Jackie Robinson of the CWHL Draft

Looking to defend its Clarkson Cup title, the Boston Blades have made a great move by selecting Blake Bolden with their first-round pick. The first-ever African American selected in the first round of the CWHL Draft, Bolden has the potential to become a defensive stalwart for the elite club. She was joined by three other BC Eagles players that became Boston Blades draft picks in 2013; Maggie Taverna and Dru Burns. Other Eagles alumnae on the Blades from their 2012-13 championship season included Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack.

About to release a powerful shot versus the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo credit by Tim Brule, Obtained from: http://uscho.photoshelter.com/image/I0000HoTLRE_rHC4)

About to release a powerful shot versus the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo credit by Tim Brule, Obtained from: http://uscho.photoshelter.com/image/I0000HoTLRE_rHC4)

Her tenure with the BC Eagles was one that saw Bolden enter on tremendous momentum. In 2008 and 2009, she helped the US National Team capture gold in the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships. Of note, current Blades player Kelley Steadman was her teammate on the US team.

As a freshman with the Eagles, she would lead all Hockey East rookie defenders in scoring. The following season, she would follow it up by leading the Eagles in power play goals.

The 2011-12 season, her junior campaign, would be her coming out party. Named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, along with a New England All-Star nod, she logged a 21-point effort. Ranking in the top ten in practically every statistical category with BC, her contributions helped the program rebound from the graduation of superstar Kelli Stack in 2011.

In her senior season with BC, she appeared in every game, proudly donning the C on her sweater. A sparkling 29 point season made her a nominee for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award was highlighted by a Halloween night performance against rival Boston University where she logged a career-best four assists. Having graduated second all-time among BC defenders in points, her final year ended with several accolades – a New England Women’s All-Star team nod and a Second-Team All-America honor.

With the retirement of team captain Caitlin Cahow, Bolden is a remarkable replacement on the blue line. As the Blades rebuild following the retirements of Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Jaclyn Hawkins and Karen Thatcher, Bolden shall emerge as one of the building blocks towards their ambitious championship goals for 2014.

One of the key advantages in the selection of Bolden is the fact that she has competed for the United States National Team. As the black and gold face the loss of nine players (including scoring sensations Hilary Knight and Kelli Stack) to the United States centralization camp, in anticipation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Bolden brings the experience of competing at the international level to the squad.

From playing for Winter Games gold medalist Katie King Crowley at BC, to joining the Blades, led by Digit Murphy, the first NCAA women’s coach to win 200 and 300 games, she is surrounded by strong women with remarkable acumen for the game. With an offensive flair and a skill quarterbacking the power play, Bolden may emerge as the premier defensive player selected in the draft. With every draft pick in 2013 being crucial for a Boston squad facing a huge loss of talent, Bolden may be what is needed to remain on top of the league standings.

Sporting world to catch up with women’s hockey star Hilary Knight

Quite possibly the finest American-born women’s hockey player competing today, the year 2013 has brought with it a year of great milestones. The first three months saw Knight carve a great legacy within the ranks of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Although Knight finished third in the CWHL scoring race, and second among rookie scorers, she did manage to lead all American-born players in scoring. Perhaps more impressive, Knight, a CWHL rookie no less, became the first American to win the CWHL Most Valuable Player Award.

Knight becomes first American born player to win CWHL MVP Award. Photo credit: Brandon Taylor

Knight becomes first American born player to win CWHL MVP Award. Photo credit: Brandon Taylor

She would follow up the accolade by leading all players in scoring during the Clarkson Cup playoffs. Her scoring touch helped her club team, the Boston Blades, prevent the Montreal Stars from claiming their third consecutive Cup.

Knight celebrating the Clarkson Cup win with Meaghan Duggan. This dynamic duo has also won the NCAA Frozen Four and IIHF Women’s Worlds as teammates too. (Photo by Brandon Taylor)

Knight celebrating the Clarkson Cup win with Meaghan Duggan. This dynamic duo has also won the NCAA Frozen Four and IIHF Women’s Worlds as teammates too. (Photo by Brandon Taylor)

A few weeks after her Cup win, she would duplicate the feat with the US National Team at the 2013 IIHF World Championships in Ottawa, Canada. Facing an undefeated Canadian rival in the gold medal game (who had never lost a gold medal game on home soil), Knight helped the US contingent to its fourth gold medal in the last five IIHF Women’s Worlds.

While Knight has left an incredible legacy in women’s hockey, she also has an affinity for the great summer pastime of baseball. Two great baseball moments would help define Knight’s off-season.

Despite rainy conditions, Knight proudly joined her Blades teammates as part of a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park in Boston. Recognizing the Blades’ Clarkson Cup victory, the team was allowed onto the hallowed field for a pre-game ceremony.

Photo credit: Harry How at Getty Images

Photo credit: Harry How at Getty Images

A second baseball event would follow a few weeks after the Fenway ceremony. Back in her home state of California, Knight caught a game at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Joining her were four USA Hockey teammates; team captain Julie Chu (who played against Knight in the Clarkson Cup finals), Amanda Kessel and the Lamoureux Twins, Jocelyne and Monique.

These five fantastic hockey players were in Hollywood with Harry How, a photographer for Getty Images. As part of a photo shoot to help promote the efforts of the United States Olympic Committee at the 2014 Sochi Games, Knight and her teammates proudly represented the growing game of women’s hockey.

Even in the warm sun of California, Knight cannot escape hockey. Along with a baseball game at Dodger Stadium, Knight and her teammates were welcomed to Staples Center to catch a postseason sporting event. With the NHL Conference Semi-Finals underway, they had the opportunity to catch the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in a playoff tussle. In addition, Knight had the opportunity to be featured on the NBC Sports Network talk show, The Crossover with Michelle Beadle.

Taking in an LA Kings playoff game with USA teammates the Lamoureux twins (Jocelyne and Monique) along with Amanda Kessel

Taking in an LA Kings playoff game with USA teammates the Lamoureux twins (Jocelyne and Monique) along with Amanda Kessel

While Knight will be looking help end the United States gold-medal draught in women’s hockey at the Winter Games, she will also be part of another unique way to promote the Sochi Games. Following on the success of their trading card series which recognized athletes competing at London 2012, the Topps trading card company (known for their baseball cards) has immortalized Knight on cardboard.

Along with Lamoureux twins, the three shall be featured on their own trading cards in said set. Other Winter Games hopefuls and heroes that shall appear in the Sochi trading card set include Gracie Gold, Julia Mancuso and autographed cards of Mike Eruzione.

Quickly becoming the face of US women’s hockey (following in the steps of other legends like Cammi Granato and Angela Ruggiero), a gold medal would help to transform Knight into an American sporting hero.

Having already won a Clarkson Cup, IIHF Gold and an NCAA Frozen Four, Winter Games gold would provide her with a unique grand slam. Of note, the only other woman to have won all four was Jenny Schmidgall-Potter.

While the sporting world is catching up to the greatness that is Hilary Knight, she may become more than just a household name, but a glowing example of women proving that they too can become sporting heroes. After Sochi, there is no question that the next generation of young female hockey players may grow up wanting to be like Knight.