|Proud champion and mom Becky Kellar, with Colleen Sostorics to her right|
In the same way that hockey fans of the mid-50's to late-70's will always think of legends such as Jean and Henri Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, Jacques Plante, Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, Peter Mahovlich, Steve Shutt, Bob Gainey, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, and Larry Robinson as being "THE Montreal Canadiens" I will always think of players like Kellar, Kingsbury, MacLeod, and Sostorics as being "THE Canadian women's hockey team." You see, I'm sure that when young boys used to sit in front of the TV back in the days of the Montreal dynasty teams it was through watching those games that a love of hockey was kindled. It was during those moments of listening to the legendary Danny Gallivan call the games that these young boys would have closed their eyes and pictured themselves out there with their heroes. And that is how the spirit of hockey was born and maintained in the next generation of young Canadians.
For me and for so many other young girls all over the country, Cassie Campbell, Danielle Goyette, Vicky Sunohara, Geraldine Heaney, Sami Jo Small, and the four newest retirees of the national team are our Richards, our Beliveaus, our Lafleurs, and our Drydens. Even though these players are not the first women to don skates and a helmet, to me they will always be the "founding mothers" of my sport. It was them who I watched on TV at the Olympics, them who made me realize that women can play this male-dominated sport at a high level, and them who kindled my love for the game and my belief in my own passion. It is with a great deal of pride that we bid them farewell.
Becky Kellar leaves the national team after being a member for 13 years. She is one of four players to have participated in all four Olympics Games thus far (1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010). Along with her four Olympic medals (three gold and one silver), Kellar also won four World Championship gold medals in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2004. While Kellar is leaving the national team she will continue to play for her club team - the Burlington Barracudas of the CWHL. A former Brown University student, Kellar is the mom of two sons Owen and Zach, not to mention all the players she parented and mentored during her career!
Carla MacLeod spent 7 years with the national program from 2003-2010. She was cut from both the '03 and '04 World Championships roster but showed incredible resiliency and made the team in 2005. Like Kingsbury, MacLeod was a proud member of both the 2006 and 2010 gold medal winning Olympic teams. She also won gold at the Worlds in 2007. MacLeod has been named to the media all-star team twice in international hockey - at the 2006 Olympics and 2007 Worlds. She is already serving as an assistant coach with the Mount Royal University female hockey program and she may even try her hand at broadcasting in the future!
Becky Kellar, Gina Kingsbury, Carla MacLeod, and Colleen Sostorics leave the national team with more gold than an East Indian bride! Their accomplishments will leave behind some very large shoes to fill and their legacies will live on forever. But, despite this, it is not without a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the women who, as the Vancouver 2010 theme song says, stood tall and made the world proud. Farewell ladies. On behalf of a proud country, I wish each of you all the luck, success, and happiness in the future. Thank you for representing the red and white with pride.