2014 Clarkson Cup to make women’s hockey history with 2014 Olympic gold medallists on ice
As one of the signature events in women’s hockey, the Clarkson Cup brings with it a level of excitement, anticipation and intensity that is part of its hallmark. Heading into the 2014 edition of the Cup, an added element makes it a must-see for women’s hockey fans.
In the history of the Clarkson Cup, no player has ever claimed both Olympic Winter Games gold and the Clarkson Cup in the same year. Four years ago, the victorious Minnesota Whitecaps featured a pair of hockey legends that earned the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., Julie Chu and Jenny Potter.
With the Canadian contingent having emerged with a hard-fought gold medal at Sochi 2014, it brings with it the guarantee that an individual shall become the first to grab Olympic gold and the Cup in the same year. This is attributed to the fact that every roster in the CWHL postseason features at least one player from the Canadian team.
Prior to the beginning of the 2013-14 CWHL season; each team placed two to three players on a reserve roster. These were players that went off to their respective nation’s centralization camp, but had committed to return to league play in the aftermath of the Sochi Games.
Montreal’s Caroline Ouellette is one of those players that made such a pledge. Having also engaged in the same commitment to the franchise after Vancouver 2010, her high energy and dedication to the game is remarkable. As a side note, Stars teammate Julie Chu is also in the same rarified air as Ouellette. Having played for the U.S. in Vancouver and in the 2010 edition of the Cup in Richmond Hill, Ont., she is also going to be following her sojourn to Sochi with another Clarkson Cup appearance in 2014. Chu is looking to become the first American to win four Clarkson Cup titles.
Considering that Ouellette was Canada’s captain (the first player born in Quebec to have such an honour) in Sochi, the chance to be the first to achieve such a historic feat would be a remarkable footnote in a sparkling career. She has definitely left a legacy during the nascent history of the Clarkson Cup. After winning the inaugural Cup in 2009, Ouellette and Kim St. Pierre would become the first women to earn Triple Gold status: winning IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship gold, Olympic Winter Games gold and the Clarkson Cup title (something only seven other women have accomplished).
There is no question that there are also Triple Gold Club ramifications for the Olympic competitors on the Toronto Furies and the Calgary Inferno. Canada’s National Women’s Team players such as Natalie Spooner proudly wear the blue and white for the Furies, while Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson and Tara Watchorn are part of a new era in western Canadian women’s hockey as they have played for the newly named Calgary Inferno, formerly the Alberta Hockey Club.
While the aforementioned may have the chance to make history by becoming the first to win Olympic gold and the Clarkson Cup in the same year, the experience would only serve to enhance their career status. Each one of these competitors has already earned IIHF worlds gold and Olympic gold. Therefore, a Cup would make the prestigious Triple Gold a realization.
Furies goaltender (and CWHL co-founder) Sami Jo Small has already earned gold at the IIHF worlds and Olympic levels. While she looks to win the title that has eluded her for so many seasons, not only would she become the oldest goaltender to win a Clarkson Cup, it would allow her to become the second goaltender to earn Triple Gold status.
Another exciting goaltender that will grace the ice during the postseason is sensational CWHL sophomore Geneviève Lacasse of the Boston Blades. She is another vibrant player that cannot be overlooked in this historic event. Since making her debut with Canada’s National Women’s Team in 2012, victory follows the young backstop. With a bright future in hand, Lacasse has already been part of IIHF gold in Burlington in 2012 and Olympic gold with Canada at Sochi 2014.
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