Kennedy, Saskatchewan sits some 200 kilometers east of Regina, and has some 240 inhabitants – on a good
day. Each and every single one of them has a special connection to the Olympic Winter Games: Team Canada
defenceman and sparkplug Colleen
Sostorics, a native of Kennedy who has gone to represent them, and all of Canada, on the biggest
international sporting stage of them all.
Kennedy’s population dropped by one a few years back, when Colleen Sostorics moved to Calgary to train
full-time, and chase her dream of patrolling the blue line for Canada’s National Women’s Team at World
Championships and the Olympics. But Kennedy could always count on her. When she plays, when she speaks, the
town of Kennedy is always in the forefront. And when you drive through Kennedy, you may very well end up on
Colleen Sostorics Way, a street named after her following the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Sostorics’ story is a very Canadian story. Smalltown kid plays minor hockey all the way up, first lacing up
the skates at the age of four. Voted captain of the town’s boys Bantam AA team. And now an Olympic hero.
Except this was a girl playing boy’s hockey. Not that anyone ever brought that to her attention.
“I think that I have the community and the boys that I played with to thank for where I am today. If they
wouldn’t have been supportive of having a girl on the team, and had picked on me or made me feel unwelcome, I
probably never would have kept playing and been able to come to a great thing like the Olympics. I really do
have the community of Kennedy and the guys who I played with growing up to thank for this.”
“Playing in Kennedy, you play with the same group of players growing up all the way from when you’re four
years old. Every year, you’re with the same core group of players. So, to the guys on my team, I was just
another hockey player. Just ‘one of the boys’, if you will. It was really just my friends that I was playing
with, not that I was a girl on a boys team.”
While Sostorics notes that she hasn’t been able to stay in touch with all of her former teammates, she knows
that they are somewhere watching and cheering for their former neighbour, classmate and captain.
“I’m sure they’re all very, very proud, and glued to their tvs. Not only to watch us play but all the
Olympics. I think it really brings Canada together in the small towns in rural Saskatchewan.”
“Everytime that I run into one of them on the street, when I’m home, or in Regina, they’re always saying ‘Do
you remember when?’ and ‘I can’t believe that I used to play with you’. So all the guys are so supportive. I
also get the odd e-mail of support from them as well.”
With only hours left before another ‘most important game of her life’, Sostorics’ focus stays the same. And
the fact that Sweden, a team that Canada has defeated 43 times in their 44 meetings. A team that Canada beat
nine times this year, including a 2-0 exhibition game seven days before the Winter Olympics bgean.
“It hasn’t changed our preparation at all. We’re still into the game, as it’s where we wanted to be, in the
gold medal final. We had a great practice today, we have a pre-game skate tomorrow. And we’ll be ready when
the puck drops at 8:30.”
So will Kennedy.
Sostorics on the advantage of having the experience of playing in an Olympic final in 2002
“Being at a second Olympics, you sort of know what to expect going into that final game. And we know what it
means, so we’re preparing as well as we can so that we have the best game of our lives.”