Setbacks have never stopped Loren Gabel from achieving her dreams.
The 21-year-old is on the ice at her first IIHF Women’s World Championship
in Finland, capping a wild season that saw her make her debut with Canada’s
National Women’s Team just six months ago at the 4 Nations Cup in
The opportunity is not lost on Gabel, who hasn’t wasted anytime making her
mark on the international stage – the Kitchener, Ont., native scored the
first goal of the game in Canada’s tournament-opening win over Switzerland,
and had two goals and an assist against the host Finns to close out the
“It is a huge honour to be part of something that is so much bigger than
myself,” she says. “To be here is a dream come true and something I’ve
worked towards my whole life.”
In 2014, Gabel was passed over for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team,
and again missed the cut in 2016 with Canada’s National Women’s Development
Team. It was those moments that pushed Gabel to continue work on her craft.
“There are going to be ups and downs and it is important to keep pushing,
knowing that you have dreams and goals that will come true one day,” says
Gabel. “You have to persevere a lot through life. Getting cut a couple of
times sent a message and made me work on areas of my game that I had to
Gabel never quit believing in herself and worked on and off the ice to
become a better player, including taking hundreds of shots using the
RapidShot shooting machine at her parents’ business, G&G Skate Training
Centre in Kitchener.
Whatever she did, it worked. Gabel turned missed opportunities into
motivation to become one of the most prolific goal scorers in women’s
hockey, and put together two of most impressive NCAA seasons in recent
On top of winning back-to-back national championships with Clarkson
University, Gabel claimed consecutive ECAC Player of the Year awards, was a
two-time First Team All-American and led the NCAA in goals this season (40
in 38 games).
She capped off her senior season by becoming just the eighth Canadian to
win the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in NCAA women’s hockey,
putting her firmly on the radar of Team Canada.
“My four years at Clarkson were an amazing experience and something I will
never forget. Winning back-to-back championships was a dream come true,”
she says. “My line-mates and teammates pushed me day-in and day-out to
become a better player.”
For Matt Desrosiers, Gabel’s head coach at Clarkson and an assistant with
Team Canada, it is no surprise she is showing her skills and confidence on
the biggest stage in the game.
“She’s worked extremely hard to get to this point. The four years at
Clarkson, she made tremendous strides to become a better player,”
Desrosiers says. “Everything she is starting to receive now, she has worked
hard for and is reaping the benefits.”
Gabel has always had a scoring ability, but was motivated to become a more
complete player. Being better in all three zones has created more offensive
opportunities, and she has thrived.
“She has always had that ability. I think she has just gotten so much
better at it over the years,” Desrosiers says. “When she came in as a
freshman at Clarkson, she was an offensively-talented kid and she scored
“She needed to learn some areas of the defensive game and understand that
would help her offensively. She became more of a 200-foot player and that
helped her scoring prowess just that much more. Her attitude and
willingness to listen and take feedback has helped propel her to be an
Gabel is humble when called a clutch scorer and passes the accolades onto
those around her.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a clutch goal scorer … things happen, and you are
in the right spot at the right time,” she says. “I couldn’t be that goal
scorer without my teammates and my linemates. I don’t think there is a
clutch player, but I take my chances when I can. I try and get a lot of
shots on net and hope that some go in, and that’s what happened this year.”
Scoring is key in a short tournament like the IIHF Women’s World
Championship, which is a big reason Gabel made the cut despite having only
12 international games to her name coming in.
But Desrosiers believes – and Canadian hockey fans have seen – that Gabel
is up for the challenge.
“Elite scorers are hard to come by. Loren has a bright future ahead of her
if she continues to keep progressing and growing like she has,” he says.
“If she can do that, she is going to be an elite player for Team Canada for
a long time.”