Wickenheiser still going strong, Knights win second straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy, top players from KHL’s first round and the ninth Scotty Bowman Showcase

One of the most well-known female hockey players in the world, Hayley Wickenheiser is not yet ready stop playing. Scott Mitchell of the Calgary Sun updated on the 34-year-old who is currently working towards a medical degree while skating for the University of Calgary Dinos who begin their defense of their Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s hockey championship which begins today at the University of Toronto. She will represent Canada in her fifth Olympic games next season in Sochi and even has an eye on the 2016 Olympics in South Korea.

Wickenheiser is a pioneer of women’s hockey and her list of firsts and accomplishments is extensive:

  • Canadian national team player since age 15.
  • Three golds and one silver at the Olympics with 46 points in 21 games.
  • Seven gold medals at the world championships.
  • Twice invited to the Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp.
  • Along with Angela Ruggiero, the first woman to be featured in a hockey video game (NHL ’13).
  • Played in men’s leagues in Sweden and Finland.
Hayley Wickenheiser is one of the most accomplished female hockey players in history. (VancityAllie.com/Wikimedia Commons)

Hayley Wickenheiser is one of the most accomplished female hockey players in history. (VancityAllie.com/Wikimedia Commons)

She receives constant praise for her work ethic and determination and is a role model for all young women who want to play hockey. From Mitchell, here’s what her coach Danielle Goyette has to say about her:

“She did so much for the game. She opened so many doors. She played with the men in Finland. She’s played on the national team since she was (15 years old). To be able to last that long on the national team is pretty amazing. When you only have 20 spots and you have 85,000 girls that want your spot, you have to do something special to be able to stay around that long.

“When I think about Hayley, I think about the way she competes. No one competes harder than Wick, on and off the ice. I never have to worry about if she’s going to show up for a game.”

Goyette knows Wickenheiser won’t play next season as she spends the year with the Canadian national team, but is hoping she remains with the team as the 2015 CIS Nationals are in Calgary. If she does, she can likely increase the awareness and participation in the CIS rather than having top women players head to the United States to play in the NCAA. More from Mitchell:

“It’s been an adventure,” said Wickenheiser, who was named a first-team all-Canadian Wednesday night for the second time in her three seasons with the Dinos. “It’s been some of the most enjoyable time in my career. This type of hockey is definitely the hardest type of hockey I’ve ever played, because you have to find ways to make the players around you better and successful and lift the level of play of everyone you’re playing with. And at the same time, there’s quite a few things off the ice that were difficult and challenging and you have to work your way through.

“I hope maybe it’ll help attract more players to stay in the CIS, rather than go south to the States, because the top programs up here can compete with the top programs in the NCAA, no problem.”

*     *     *

The London Knights have secured their second consecutive Hamilton Spectator Trophy as regular season champions in the Ontario League with five games remaining in their season as they defeated the Owen Sound Attack in a shootout on Wednesday night.

The Knights currently sport a 47-12-2-2 record for 98 points; the next closest teams are the Belleville Bulls and Plymouth Whalers, both with 85 points. It was a much closer race last season as the Knight finished just two points ahead of the Niagara IceDogs and Whalers. They are hoping to parlay their regular season championship into more playoff success as they won the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL champions last year and fell one win shy of winning the Memorial Cup, falling to the Quebec Major Junior League’s Shawinigan Cataractes in overtime in the final game.

This is the sixth Hamilton Spectator Trophy won by the Knights in their history. They also won it four seasons in a row between 2003-04 and 2006-07, averaging 53 wins and 109 points in that span. Players from those teams include Corey Perry, Dennis Wideman, Dave Bolland, Dan Girardi, Patrick Kane, Sergei Kostitsyn and Steve Mason. The Knights won the J. Ross Robertson and Memorial Cups in the 2004-05 season and went at least as far as the conference final all four years.

*     *     *

The Kontinental League announced its top players from the first round of the playoffs.

Karri Ramo of the Avangard Omsk Region was named the top goaltender. He had three shutouts with a 1.41 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in a seven-game win over the Sibir Novosibirsk.

The best defenseman was Kristian Kudroc of Novosibirsk who recorded three goals and four points with a plus-3 in the loss.

Nigel Dawes was named the best attacker as he put up seven goals and nine points for the Barys Astana in their seven-game loss to Traktor Chelyabinsk, including four goals in a 5-3 victory in Game 2.

Chelyabinsk forward Maxim Karpov was named best rookie as he posted two goals and four points in the series against Astana.

*     *     *

The ninth Scotty Bowman Showcase will take place on Monday, April 15 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The showcase consists of three games between players from Buffalo facing off against representatives from Rochester.

The first game, starting at 6:00 p.m., will feature high school juniors competing for the Tim Horton Memorial Cup which was won by the squad from Buffalo last year. Tim Horton spent 24 years in the NHL, his final two in Buffalo.

High school seniors will play at 7:30 for the Scotty Bowman Cup which was won last year by Rochester. Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history with a 1,244-573-314-10 record with nine Stanley Cups and two Jack Adams awards will be on hand to present the trophy to the victor.

Finally, junior and senior prep school players will skate at 9:00 for the Rick Martin Memorial Cup, named for the Sabres sniper who spent 10 years with the team and is second all-time in goals for the franchise with 382 including two consecutive 50-goal seasons in 1973-74 and’74-75. His .561 career goals-per-game average ranks 11th all-time in the NHL.

Admission is $5 and all three games consist of two 22-minute halves.

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