The word adversity is one Laura Stacey knows all too well.
It was just one year ago she was watching the IIHF Women’s World Championship sitting on her parents couch, unable to even feed herself.
“The very last game of my last season at Dartmouth I was knocked into the boards and broke both my wrists,” said Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont.). “Never being able to play hockey again crossed my mind.”
Fast forward one year and Stacey wrapped up her first season with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Brampton Thunder as the league’s rookie of the year — leading all rookies with 24 points.
“I broke my wrists, was cut a couple of times from the senior national team, things just kept setting me back. But, I had a goal and I set my mind to it and really focused on what I wanted to do — play for the national team,” she said. “It was more of a mental thing for me. I wanted to come back stronger than ever when I stepped back on the ice and get better, no matter what had happened.”
Then the phone rang.
“It was a conference call with the Canadian coaches. I didn’t know what it was going to be about, but they said we made the team. Shivers went down my spine,” said Stacey.
She’s suited up for Canada with the Under-18 team and the Under-22 development squad, but playing for the senior team in the world championship is the ultimate goal for Stacey.
“It’s an absolute honour. Playing that first game against the U.S. and the crowd is roaring, your family is there cheering it is an unforgettable moment,” said Stacey, who is the great granddaughter of Hockey Hall of Fame member King Clancy.
Playing alongside Olympians Meghan Agosta and Haley Irwin has helped Stacey settle into her role as a power forward who has a big shot and uses her size to create havoc for goaltenders.
Just over one year out from suffering from an injury that could have set a player back even further, Stacey is thankful for the opportunities she has been given.
“It definitely has been a great year. I just want to keep building off this national team experience and making sure I can be the best version of myself. I think the things that happened leading up to this kept pushing me to do just that,” said Stacey. “The veteran players have been so welcoming to the rookies and my linemates providing feedback on my play and just emulating how they act is giving me confidence.”
From the time she was eight years old and saw her role model Cassie Campbell at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Stacey has been building and fighting for her moment.
“I dreamed of being just like all of those women, Standing on the blue line with a gold medal around my neck, singing the national anthem.”
The pain, tears and misfortune have all just been ways to show her true colours that match well in a red and white jersey.
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