CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that three-time Olympic gold medallist Cherie Piper, who also won one women’s world championship, has officially retired from international competition.
“On behalf of Hockey Canada and fans across the country, we thank Cherie for her dedication to Canada’s National Women’s Program, and contributions not only to the team, but to female hockey overall,” Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson said. “We wish Cherie all the best in her future endeavours. ”
CHERIE PIPER, 31, joined Canada’s National Women’s Program in 2001, making her major event debut at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, going on to win three Olympic gold medals and one women’s world championship. Overall, Piper appeared in 111 games for Canada over 12 seasons, amassing 40 goals, 78 assists and 118 points, ranking her as the eighth all-time scorer in the National Women’s program. The Scarborough, Ont. native was also a graduate of the Under-22 program, where she amassed 20 goals in only 16 games.
“I want to take this time to thank everyone that has helped me along the way, from my first minor hockey coaches to the coaches and staff who helped at the national level,” Piper said. “I will definitely miss the camaraderie and competition that came with playing for Team Canada, but I am also excited about the challenges ahead of me, as I embark on a career in teaching.”
CAN’T THEY SPREAD OUT THESE RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS?! We need time to recover!
Kim St-Pierre announces retirement from Canada’s National Women’s Team
KIM ST-PIERRE, 34, joined Canada’s National Women’s Program in 1998, and went on to win three Olympic gold medals and four women’s world championship gold medals. She appeared in a record 83 games for Canada, amassing 64 wins, another Team Canada record, and only 10 losses. Her career goals against average for Team Canada stands at 1.17, with a 0.939 save percentage and 29 career shutouts, also a Team Canada record. St-Pierre also had a storied Canadian Interuniversity Sport career with the McGill University Martlets, playing four seasons with the women’s team, and one season for the men’s team, to become only the second woman to play for a men’s university team in Canada. The Châteauguay, Que., native also played with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Montreal Stars, winning two Clarkson Cups.
Real talk time, everyone. Kim St-Pierre is probably the greatest female goalie in all of hockey as we know it. She has statistics that make NHL goalies jealous. She said she counts as one of her favourite memories the practice she did with the Montreal Canadiens in 2008 replacing Carey Price who was ill because, as she said, it was the closest she ever came to her childhood dream of playing in the NHL. Women don’t get to play in the NHL but she came pretty close. It might not sound like a big deal but when you’re a woman playing hockey, it actually is an unattainable goal.
She also said the greatest moment of her career was when Team Canada won the 2002 Olympic Gold. I remember I was 12 and I watched every game to see the Canadian women play, I had never seen hockey like it before in my life. They were amazing; they were skilled, they were fast. In hockey with “no checking” you have to be physical but you have to win through sheer skill. Want the puck? Can’t just knock over the player with possession, you have to be faster and stronger than her.
So why has the news of Kim St-Pierre’s retirement got me writing a whole speech about women’s hockey? Because I saw Kim St-Pierre and the Canadian team and all the other women’s teams in the 2002 Olympics doing something I’d never seen before. They were doing what was in my eyes the single most hardcore, badass, intense thing you can do; play hockey and play it well. The next year I decided I better try it myself; I had wanted to play hockey for a while but never had much opportunity or courage to go and do it because I was already too old to start but I started anyway. It was hard but I’m glad I did. Seeing these women directly inspired me to go and take up my favourite sport and feel really good about doing so. Sure I’ll never play as well as any of them but I still feel inspired to play a better technical game, to skate faster, to be stronger.
So if you’re a lady and you want to play some hockey, go and do it! You’re never too old! I’ve played with women in their 60s who’ve played their whole lives and I’ve played with women in their 50s who only just started. Hockey is for everyone (no matter the people who’ve told me I’m stealing boys’ ice time, those people don’t know what hockey’s about) it’s about team solidarity and having fun and getting sweaty and drinking beer in the locker room and adventuring to the middle of nowhere to play a game against a stronger team but you do it to get better and have fun.
Michael Jordan rises up for a buzzer-beater to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 playoffs. Jordan hit a jumper with six seconds remaining to give the Bulls a lead, only for the Cavaliers to take it right back with a layup by Craig Ehlo with three seconds left. Jordan, double-teamed on the inbounds play, got just enough separation to receive the ball and get the shot off over Ehlo to win the first-round series in five games. (Manny Millan/SI)
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