With Canada’s women set to go for Olympic gold against the rival United States, hockeycanada.ca sat down with a pair of women’s hockey legends to look back at their Olympic experiences and their careers in the red and white of Team Canada.
Cassie Campbell-Pascall was Canada’s leader during the early part of the 2000s, leading the Canadians to a pair of Olympic gold medals in 20 and retiring following the 2006 Games as the only Canadian captain, male or female, to win two Olympic golds.
Danielle Goyette was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the women’s game, retiring in 2008 as the second leading scorer in National Women’s Team history, with two Olympic gold medals and eight IIHF World Women’s Championship gold medals to her name.
1. What was your favourite Olympic moment?
CCP: Walking in to the Opening Ceremony in 1998 (in Nagano). I really had an out-of-body experience – I was the little girl at home watching TV and watching myself go into the stadium. It was such an amazingly powerful moment for me.
DG: Winning the gold medal in Salt Lake City. There was so much adversity we had to face, and to beat the Americans on home ice, and to win that first gold, was such an amazing experience!
2. If you could choose any two women’s players of all-time to play on your line, who would they be?
CCP: Vicky Sunohara and Danielle Goyette. I played with them at my last Olympics and they make people around them better. We were called the Old Dogs and I was happy to finish my career with those two as linemates.
DG: I can’t pick just two – I’d have to say three. Hayley Wickenheiser because she always pushed me to be my best and we had great chemistry together, and Vicky Sunohara and Cassie Campbell because I had a lot of fun with those two Old Dogs.
3. Where do you keep your Olympic medals?
CCP: They are at home, in the leather bag we got with our 2002 gold medal.
DG: I hide them in my house.
4. What was the most important thing you learned as a member of Team Canada?
CCP: Always give back to the game. If the players who played before me never did that our game would not be where it is today. We owe them so much, and we owe it to today’s players, and tomorrow’s players, to do the same.
DG: It's hard to pin point one thing, but what comes to mind was I learned to respect everybody's differences and how you have to work together as a team to reach a common goal.
5. What is it like to play in front of home fans in Canada?
CCP: Playing at home is amazing! Canadian fans are demanding and passionate and expect gold every time you step on the ice, but to feel their energy when you are playing – there is nothing like it!
DG: It's the reason I stayed another year after the Olympics in 2006 (to play in the 2007 Worlds in Winnipeg). It's a chance to play in front of family and friends and in front of a sold-out arena. It is so emotional, you can feed off the crowd's energy and you feel a lot more pride.
6. What does it mean to get to wear the maple leaf on your chest?
CCP: I'll never forget that moment in 1994 when I walked into the dressing room and saw my first Team Canada jersey hanging in my stall. The jersey is a symbol of greatness and I never felt worthy to have it on my chest. It was so inspiring to wear it and it meant everything to me. I also felt privileged to wear a jersey that was worn by so many great female players before me. It is an incredible feeling!
DG: For me, it was like wearing my heart on my jersey and it was a privilege that I never took for granted. It is an opportunity that only a handful of players get each year and that's very special.