The Canadian Women’s Hockey team is gearing up for another run at the gold at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in February.
Team Canada won gold in Vancouver 2010 and is hard at work preparing for Sochi.Throughout every gym and ice session, the women have a mindset that every game is for the gold.
“The mental preparation is integral. It starts in the pre-game skate and down. It’s a bad habit to take a team lightly or to take a day off,” said veteran defenseman Tessa Bonhomme, in her ninth year with Team Canada and the national team.
“An Olympic season is very long and taxing. The days live long and you feel that you live at the rink.”
The women also have the chance to exact revenge on their main rivals, the United States, after their loss in the 2013 World Championships.
“Always, it doesn’t matter if it’s an exhibition game, Four Nations or the World’s, we want to beat them and get rid of the sour taste in our mouths,” Bonhomme explained.
“We want to show them that it was a hiccup on our part and have the opportunity to throw it back in their faces. It’s our responsibility to make that happen.”
After the team had finished practice on Monday, Oct. 7 at Markin MacPhail arena in Calgary, Bonhomme explained that in the previous two Olympics, 2006 in Turin, Italy and in Vancouver, Team Canada was defeated by the U.S. in the World Championships leading up the Olympics.
But the Canadian women emerged victorious in Olympic competition, began preparations for Sochi in the first week of August and have been at the rink almost every day since then.
“We’ve been through a lot together already and I feel like the season hasn’t even really kicked off yet. The adversity we’ve already endured is a great indicator as to how great we can actually be,” Bonhomme explains.
While the women battle their exhausting schedule, Bonhomme speaks of how important it is for everyone to maintain a proper balance of time on the ice, gym and adequate diets.
Vancouver 2010 saw the emergence of Haley Irwin, and this year, Bonhomme is certain Canada has more budding stars on their roster.
“Oh, for sure, there’s always a diamond in the rough. The girls who are young just have to grab the bull by the horns and show the world what she’s got. So far, I feel that we have two: Melodie Daoust and Jenelle Kohanchuk. They both do the little things right that help the team win the game in the last minute.”
Kohanchuk has been described as an everyday player, one who’s willing to block a shot, no matter the score, or take a big hit to make a play.
“Responsible in all three zones, smart, and I’m glad she’s wearing a Canadian jersey,” said Bonhomme.
Daoust’s calling card is offense, and lots of it.
“She’s a scoring phenom, and I feel she’s ready to do that in the Olympics.”