Stacey ’16 competes for Canadian developmental squad

by Blaze Joel | 9/16/14 5:43pm

In late August, while most of her peers were in the library preparing for finals, Laura Stacey ’16 packed her bags for Calgary, ready to undergo another sort of test. She was one of 22 Canadians named to the country’s women’s development team and competed against the U.S. team, losing all three matches.

Though Stacey was on the team when it won gold at the 2013 Meco Cup in Füssen, Germany, she said she was nervous entering the locker room as she waited for the verdict.

“It’s always a really nerve-racking experience,” she said, explaining that athletes are told at 7 a.m. whether they are getting on a plane to play. “Each time you make it, it’s just like the first time, that rush of excitement when they tell you you’ve made it.”

Stacey’s latest journey began in May with a strength and conditioning off-ice camp in Toronto. Forty-one women were selected from that group to attend the mid-August development camp, which consisted of testing, scrimmages and practices. The junior from Kleinburg, Ontario, emerged from the camp thanks to hard work and dedication, head coach Mark Hudak said.

The selection, he said, marks Stacey as “one of the better players in the world.”

“It also speaks to the amount of work she’s put in to stay in shape and stay the top of her game,” he said. “She works very hard and is very dedicated to her athletic endeavors. To do that while in school also says a lot about her work ethic.”

With camp in hand, Stacey suited up to take on the Americans in a three-game series Aug. 21-24 at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Canada dropped all three contests to its southern foes, falling 2-1, 6-0 and 3-2 in a shootout.

“It’s always an unbelievable experience to put that jersey over your head with a maple leaf on it,” she said. “I can bring back my experiences and what I learned from some of the older girls to share with my teammates. But since we lost all three games, it definitely makes me want to perform well here so I can be better the next time I go up to Calgary and play for my country.”

In three games, Stacey was blanked on the scoresheet except for two penalties in her team’s 6-0 defeat, a first period minor for high sticking and a roughing call in the second.

“Obviously it’s tough when you lose to the U.S.,” she said. “It’s such a big rivalry, so it’s always rough losing to a country like that. We definitely gave it our all and it’s frustrating, but we can take some positives from it. We can beat them for sure.”

The Canadian team has representatives from across the hockey landscape, including four different ECAC schools. The individual team rivalries tend to fall away in the face of national pride, Harvard University and Canadian goalie Emerance Maschmeyer said.

“Everyone definitely jokes around about it a little bit, but when we’re all at camp, we’re all on the same page and competing for the same thing,” Maschmeyer said. “We tend to leave our school teams behind and come together as a team.”

Stacey’s time in Calgary was not all about hockey. The sophomore still had to worry about her summer sociology and philosophy classes. She credits Dartmouth’s approach to student athletes as a key in her success and ability to travel to Calgary this summer.

Now that she is back on campus for a new hockey season, Stacey is working with her team to improve.

Last season, the Big Green snuck into the playoffs with a thrilling four-point final weekend, beating Brown University and Yale University on the road. The team, however, failed to find the net in its two playoff games, falling in a sweep at Clarkson University. Stacey was second on the team in points with 16, led the squad in assists with 12 and pitched in four tallies of her own to tie for third in goals.

“We definitely struggled last year, especially putting the puck in the net,” Stacey said. “We definitely still have a young team, but the freshmen we have coming in are really good and everyone else has that extra year. We have a good amount of skill, but we have the ability to work together, play as a team and have a lot of heart.”

Hudak said that Stacey’s time on team Canada will help his team on and off the ice.

“Bringing that level of competitiveness and work back will hopefully transition to other players,” he said.

Stacey and the rest of the women’s hockey team will hit the ice on Oct. 18 for a scrimmage at home against McGill University. The regular season begins Oct. 26 with a home game against the University of New Hampshire.