Shannon Szabados is standing at the pinnacle of women’s hockey. The Team Canada standout was named the Olympics’ top goalie after leading her team to a silver-medal finish.
But an early chapter of her story was written right here in the Tri-Cities.
As a teenager, Szabados attended two Tri-City Americans training camps and in 2002, at just 16 years old, became the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League.
Now 31, Szabados played three games at the Olympics for Canada, including the gold-medal game against the United States.
Monique Lamoreux-Davidson slid the puck under Szabados’ glove for the Americans’ deciding shootout goal, and a 3-2 win.
In that final game, Szabados stopped 40 of 42 shots, including nine in overtime to keep the Canadians in the game.
After the game, Szabados earned the IIHF Directorate Award as the tournament’s top goaltender, and earned praise from Canadian coach Laura Schuler.
“She really helped control the game,” Schuler told the Canadian Press. “Obviously it was a back and forth hockey game and when the pressure was put on us in the defensive zone, she really helped control the play. Her rebound control was excellent and really helped alleviate some of the pressure we were facing. She has such a calm demeanour about her, and she helped settle our team down.”
Szabados previously had backed Canada to gold medals in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, and in 2014 in Sochi.
After battling injuries leading up to this year’s Games, she hasn’t said if this was her final Olympic appearance. She’s played most of her career on men’s teams, including stints in the Southern Professional Hockey League with the Columbus Cottonmouths and the Peoria Rivermen.