Let’s start with a quick by-the-numbers lesson.
The 47 players at Canada’s National Women’s Team Fall Festival have combined for 404 games with Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, 608 with Canada’s
National Women’s Development Team, 75 appearances at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, and 27 at the Canada Winter Games.
Katelyn Gosling accounts for absolutely zero of that.
The 22-year-old defenceman is getting her first-ever Team Canada experience at the highest level of the women’s game, sharing the ice in Calgary, Alta.,
this week with 13 Olympic gold medallists.
“I looked up to all these girls when I watched them growing up, so even to be here beside them is a huge honour,” Gosling says. “I came here knowing I was
going to learn a lot, but it has been so much more than I thought.”
Gosling has certainly earned her spot at camp, despite a lack of previous national program experience.
In four seasons at the University of Western Ontario, the London, Ont., native has been a CIS First Team All-Canadian (2012-13) and Second Team
All-Canadian (2014-15), and took a spot on the OUA First All-Star Team in both those seasons. Last year, she co-captained the Mustangs to their first CIS
“We saw her play during the last couple seasons,” Melody Davidson, general manager of national women’s team programs with Hockey Canada, said of Gosling’s
path to Fall Festival. “Definitely the CIS nationals here [in Calgary] last year, seeing her against [schools] where we have benchmarks of players that we
follow, really helped.
“We work hard to try and find these kids as early as possible, but for whatever reason she either slipped through the cracks or was a late-bloomer, and I
think the best part is that she’s here and she’s getting this opportunity, and it’s totally in her hands.”
For Gosling, it’s her success, both individually and with her team, that she believes has led her to Calgary.
“I know I put in the effort myself, but back home, the team we had, how well we did last year and the support I had behind my back [all helped],” she says.
“Obviously you look better if you have better players around you, so that really helped me out and I owe [my teammates] a lot of thanks.”
Entering her senior year at Western, Gosling admits thinking her chance at representing her country had passed. She was content with the silver medal she
won with Canada at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, which isn’t a Hockey Canada event.
But an email arrived in mid-August, inviting her to the Fall Festival.
“There’s definitely a part of me that didn’t think it was possible; I thought my time was done,” she says. “I was shocked at first. I had to read [the
email] over a bunch of times to make sure it was real. To get that email really opened up my eyes to the fact that I still had a shot.”
The email invitation was her first eye-opener. Her second? Arriving in Calgary for camp.
The first two days included headshots, media interviews, medicals, equipment fitting, coach meetings and off-ice testing. For the 46 players who had been
through it before? No problem. For Gosling?
“Extremely overwhelming,” she says. “When I first got here I was lost. I didn’t know up from down, but the girls here have been helping me out, getting me
into the routine. It was overwhelming at first, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of things.”
To help “get the hang of things,” Gosling is rooming with two-time Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Johnston; in fact, staff has matched veterans with young
players as roommates as much as possible.
“I feel like if you spoke to any of our veterans, they would talk about the people before them they roomed with, and things they learned, so we definitely
expect that now,” Davidson says. “Katelyn has a great sounding board with Rebecca, and that should hopefully help her settle down and be comfortable.”
When camp ends, it’s back to London for Gosling, who will be an on-ice and off-ice leader as a fifth-year senior for the Mustangs when they open the OUA
season on Oct. 3 against the University of Guelph.
Already among the best defencemen in Canadian university hockey, the Fall Festival experience is only going to add to what is a stand-out skill set, and
potentially lead to more time in the red and white of Team Canada.
“There’s definitely a lot here that I can take back and work on when I go back home, and I can see here exactly what I need to work on,” she says. “Being
here with players that do this all the time, and know things that I don’t know … being able to take that and add it to my game is something that will boost