Australia’s Georgia Moore makes Alberta sporting history twice in one year

One of the most unique aspects of the 2013 CWHL Draft was the fact that Georgia Moore became the first Australian-born player selected. Hoping to crack the roster of the Alberta Hockey Club, an additional bit of history was made with the pick. In addition to her hockey background, Moore spent part of 2013 as a competitor in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. She made her WWCFL debut on June 8 in High River, Alberta as her club competed against expansion cousins the Grande Prairie Northern Anarchy

Moore with the former Strathmore Rockies of the WWHL (Obtained from: http://www.cwhl.ca/view/cwhl/-9735/draft-picks-2)

Moore with the former Strathmore Rockies of the WWHL (Obtained from: http://www.cwhl.ca/view/cwhl/-9735/draft-picks-2)

Of note, Moore was not the only player with experience on the gridiron claimed in the draft. Julie Paetsch, who helped the Saskatoon Valkyries to its third straight WWCFL title, while also contributing to a silver medal at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds, was claimed in the CWHL Draft. Ironically, Paetsch became a member of the Alberta Hockey Club, marking the first time that two women’s football players were selected in the CWHL Draft, let alone with the same franchise.

Evading a tackler from Grande Prairie (Image by Pete Mouland, Obtained from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moulandimages/8990674949/in/set-72157634013762347)

Evading a tackler from Grande Prairie (Image by Pete Mouland, Obtained from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moulandimages/8990674949/in/set-72157634013762347)

While Moore is a member of the Australian national women’s team, she relocated to Calgary, Alberta at the tender age of 18. Like many international players, Moore made the decision to improve her skills and better her game by moving to a region where hockey is highly popular. Although her intention was to stay for three months and go back to Australia, Calgary has become an adopted home for her.

Having lived in Calgary since 2005, she has competed at various levels of hockey. From the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association to the collegiate level with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, complemented by a three year stint with the Strathmore Rockies of the Western Womens’ Hockey League.

Although relocating to Calgary was a significant life decision, she was not alone in making the move. Having also resided in Calgary for several years was Rylie Padjen, a teammate on Australia’s national team.

Having lived in Calgary since 2005, she has competed at various levels of hockey. From the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association to the collegiate level with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, her love of the game was stimulated. This was also complemented by a three year stint with the Strathmore Rockies of the Western Women’s Hockey League.
Moore2

For Moore, the opportunity to compete with the Rockies was a fantastic opportunity. Their formation was a complete rebuttal to the existence of the Calgary Oval X-Treme, which featured only members of the Canadian national women’s team on their roster. The Rockies provided other women in Calgary the opportunity to compete at an elite level hockey.

Formed by player and women’s hockey activist Samantha Holmes, Moore had the opportunity to learn from players such as Delaney Collins, Bobbi-Jo Slusar and Kelsey Webster. Dissolved in 2011, many of the Rockies players had the opportunity to extend their careers with the new Alberta franchise in the CWHL.

Invited to the Alberta training camp in 2011, Moore had not qualified for the final roster. While she continued to compete internationally with the Australian national team (which she joined at age 16), she hungered to continue to play at an elite level in Canada.

The opportunity to play women’s tackle football with the Okotoks Lady Outlawz in 2013 may have been a blessing in disguise. As the biggest challenge for any athlete is to remain in shape throughout the off-season, Moore’s speed and on-ice vision made her a suitable candidate to compete on the gridiron.

Despite the fact that the Lady Outlawz failed to win a game in their inaugural season, Moore was one of many bright spots on a young team. Along with Amber Larson and Christine Szostak, the three form a remarkable backfield. Allison Mouland, an exceptionally talented athlete who is the team’s quarterback is a born leader. Fans can only hope that Moore will return to the WWCFL gridiron in 2014.

Currently, Moore’s challenge is recovering from a back ailment. With the CWHL season approaching in Alberta, this season represents a golden opportunity for Moore. As four members of Alberta are competing for spots with the Canadian women’s team that will compete at Sochi, she has the opportunity to contribute to a franchise looking for its first postseason berth. With the momentum that Moore has since the draft, there is no doubt that she will continue her remarkable athletic sojourn in Alberta sports.

Geraldine Heaney becomes third woman to gain entry into Hockey Hall of Fame

In a hockey off-season filled with the usual stories about free agency, trades and draft picks, one story outshines them all. Women’s hockey legend Geraldine Heaney earns entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Having grown up in nearby Weston, Ontario, it is the culmination of a dream come true. Her body of work on the ice is one that may never be duplicated again. As the defender of the Canadian national women’s team from 1990 to 2002, Heaney helped to not only define the position, but built a legacy that would influence future generations of young girls.

The defining moment of her career came at the 1990 IIHF Women’s World Championships. Scoring the gold-medal winning goal against the United States, said goal was featured on Hockey Night in Canada as one of the best goals of the year.

She would follow that performance by winning the Directorate Award for Best Defender at the 1992 and 1994 IIHF Women’s Worlds. While she would become the first (and only) competitor to win seven consecutive gold medals at the IIHF Women’s Worlds, it merely scratches the surface of her remarkable career.

As a teenager, Heaney joined the Toronto Aeros in 1979, and played with the club well into the 2000’s. Her legacy with the Aeros is undisputed. She would play in 15 consecutive Esso National Women’s Championships (from 1987 to 2001), a mark that no other women’s hockey player in Canada could match.

Of note, the year 1987 would mark another milestone for Heaney. As a member of Team Ontario, she competed in the first women’s world hockey championships. Although the event was not sanctioned by the IIHF, it is the event that proved to the IIHF that a women’s world hockey championship was viable.

At that time, the winner of the Canadian national women’s championships was given the right to represent Team Canada. As the runner-up was the Mississauga Warriors, they would become Team Ontario. While Heaney was not a member of the Warriors, she was allowed to be added to the roster for the tournament.

Worth mentioning, Angela James (the first female visible minority inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame) and Chris Pellerin (who coached the Canadian national ball hockey team) also played with Heaney on Team Ontario. Although Team Ontario settled for the silver medal in the All-Canadian final (as Team Canada claimed gold), it was a landmark moment in her career.

Complementing her sensational career was the fact that she claimed four national championships, in which the winner was awarded the Abby Hoffman Cup. The first came in 1991, followed by triumphs in 1993, 2000 and 2004. In her last Cup win, she would score the Cup-winning goal for a 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Oval X-Treme.

With the induction ceremony taking place on November 11, 2013, it is unique to know that this is not the first Hall of Fame that Heaney shall be a member of. In 2003, she was named to the Ontario Ball Hockey Association Hall of Fame.

That was followed by the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association recognized Heaney for her one season with the Seneca College Scouts. In 2008, she joined Angela James and long-time rival Cammi Granato as the first three women inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. Should the CWHL ever have a Hall of Fame, there is no question that Heaney deserves entry as well.

Although her playing career reached its inevitable end years ago, she is still part of the game. Coaching her young daughter with the Ancaster Avalanche, there is no question that a new generation of girls will benefit from an expertise of the game that is truly Hall of Fame worthy.