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Can’t teach experience

Chasing history in PyeongChang, Meghan Agosta is drawing from lessons learned in hockey and as a police officer to get better on and off the ice

Jason La Rose
February 8, 2018

Hayley Wickenheiser. Jayna Hefford. Caroline Ouellette.

The Big Three.

They are, quite literally, the gold standard when it comes to Canada’s National Women’s Team; all three won four Olympic gold medals (the only three to feature on the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 editions of Team Canada), and they rank 1-2-3 in all-time scoring with the national side.

Meghan Agosta is ready to make it a Fab Four.

While she may need another few years to match their offensive exploits (she currently ranks No. 6 in career points), Agosta is on the verge of joining Wickenheiser, Hefford and Ouellette as the only players in history – men or women – with a quartet of Olympic gold medals.

But the journey to PyeongChang has been much different than the ones that led to a Turin triumph in 2006, Vancouver victory in 2010 and Sochi success in 2014.

Agosta began taking steps towards life after hockey four years ago, chasing her lifelong dream of a career in law enforcement. Shortly after winning gold in Russia, the Ruthven, Ont., native joined the Vancouver Police Department, stepping away from the game for a year to attend the police academy.

“This career just kind of fell into my lap,” she says. “It was just a matter of when and where, and I just met the right people. They said ‘Why don’t you apply?’ so I applied, and within three months I was hired. My biggest fear was having to come to Hockey Canada and say ‘Hey, I need to take a year off to pursue my career in policing,’ and [Team Canada general manager] Mel [Davidson] and Hockey Canada were so supportive.”

The move to B.C. presented a host of hockey challenges for Agosta. With no CWHL team in Vancouver, she was forced to find alternatives to keep her at the top of her game, including skating with the Valley West Hawks of the BCMML, working with a skills coach at UBC, and playing games with the VPD staff team, the Centurions.

Agosta returned to Team Canada in the fall of 2015 and played at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in 2016 and 2017 as part of a juggling act between her on- and off-ice careers.

The Olympics, though, are not something to be juggled, and Agosta – with the blessing and full support of the VPD – took a 12-month leave to relocate to Calgary and fully dedicate herself to the centralization process.

“Having to take a year off to move here, live here and be centralized with the girls, I think it was great timing for me to be able to say goodbye to policing for a year and really focus, and be around the girls on a day-to-day basis,” she says. “I love training with them every day, being able to push each other, and I feel like I have gotten a lot stronger off the ice, and a lot better on the ice.”

That’s saying a lot for someone whose career totals include 83 goals and 171 points in 171 games.

But the numbers are just part of the story for Agosta, who has embraced her veteran status. With three Olympics and almost 14 years of international experience, the 30-year-old (she turns 31 on Feb. 12, the day after Canada opens its Olympic schedule) is a sounding board for the young players, and she is relishing the opportunity to mentor the next generation.

“Right now my focus is being here and focusing on how good I can be as a leader,” she says, “bringing out the best in everybody and taking the younger ones under my wing, making them comfortable and confident.”

The experience works both ways. As much as young players like Emily Clark, Laura Stacey and Jill Saulnier are benefitting, Agosta herself is better because of what she has been through with Team Canada, and with the VPD.

“I think with policing you learn that no matter how hard it is you can come out on top. Going into boot camp and centralization, physically it has been draining, but I felt like boot camp, mentally, was one of the easiest I have been to,” Agosta says. “Physically, ya, I was tired, but you just know you have more to give. Going and working the streets, doing shift work, you can never be tired. In both careers, I’ve kept the mentality of ‘I’ve been here, I’ve done that, I’m trained for this and I’m going to come out on top.’”

But for how much longer? With the full-time schedule of a police officer, and the aforementioned challenges faced in Vancouver, few would blame Agosta if she skated off into the sunset with her gold medals.

Instead of serving as a swan song, though, this season has shown her that it’s not quite time to say goodbye.

“I still have so much more to give, and after this year, with the team we have and the bond we have, to see how much I have improved as an individual, and to see where I am at, I can’t see hanging up the skates anytime soon.

“If you’re asking me if I’m going to retire after this Olympics, it’s a no.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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