One-on-one with Laura Stacey ’16, women’s hockey captain
Few people ever have the opportunity to represent their country in international competition. Dartmouth women’s hockey captain, Laura Stacey ’16 cherishes every moment she dons the Maple Leaf jersey while making an impact on the ice for the Canadian National Women’s Development Team.
Her most recent stint with the Canadian National Women’s Development Team included celebrating the New Year honing her skills across Europe in preparation for this year’s Nations Cup. A game against Austria on Dec. 30 featured Stacey finding the back of the net en route to a 5-2 victory for the Canadians. Canada’s National Women’s Development Team won the gold medal the past Nations Cup on Jan. 7, the team’s 11th title in the last 14 years. Stacey was also a part of the team that took home gold at the 2015 Nations Cup last season.
“It is always an honor to put the jersey on and wear the Maple Leaf,” Stacey said. “It is something that I have always dreamed of doing and it is a great feeling and I love it. I have amazing experiences while on the team and it has shaped who I am today.”
Stacey said that her ultimate dream is to make the Olympic team, and she has been getting closer and closer to that goal every year. She added that she is going to keep pushing towards that dream until it does happen.
Although Stacey is the great-granddaughter of former NHL great and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, Francis “King” Clancy, Stacey never felt pushed into hockey by anyone. From an early age, it became clear that Stacey was determined to play hockey. At three years old, Stacey’s parents enrolled her in a “learn-to-skate” program.
“I hated it,” Stacey said. “I hated the fact that I was wearing these figure skates, and hated seeing all the other boys were across the rink playing hockey. I would sit on the ice and cry, and say, ‘I want to be over there. I want to play hockey.’”
Stacey’s “persistance paid off” and soon she started playing hockey.
Stacey’s passion for the sport has always been coupled with an enthusiasm to work hard and improve herself everyday. This lead her to success as a Junior Hockey All-Star player and eventually as a member of the U-18 Canadian National Team. Stacey and her teammates claimed gold at the U-18 World Championships in 2012. This success led to interest from various top-notch hockey programs across the United States. Evaluating her options, Stacey felt like Dartmouth was the right fit for her.
“What drew me to Dartmouth was not only the fact that it was an Ivy League school but also the team,” Stacey said. “When I came on my official visit I spent time with every single girl on the team and they embraced me and made me feel like I was a part of the team. That was something that stuck out to me and I think that sense of family continues to hold true today.”
As a freshman Stacey was outstanding, tallying 22 points and being named to the ECAC All-Rookie team. One of her most memorable moments as a member of the Big Green occurred during her freshman year in a televised game against then-No. 3 Harvard University on Feb. 1, 2013. Stacey scored the tying goal 56 seconds into the second period.
“There was the camera crew up top and we gathered all of our friends to come to the game and it ended up being the biggest crowd I think we have had since I have been here,” Stacey said. “We ended up coming back and tying the game late and it was just an amazing feeling to have the whole community supporting us while we tied a team that was far ahead of us in the national rankings. It is one of those moments that has stuck with me.”
A team leader on and off the ice, Stacey was elected a team captain for the 2015-2016 season.
“She has earned her teammates respect over the last three and a half years,” women’s hockey head coach Mark Hudak said. “Them nominating her as one of our captains demonstrates that respect. I think she has done a great job in that role and has been a positive and focused leader. We are really fortunate to have her on the team.”
It took Laura Stacey only 30 seconds to find the back of the net in just her second game back with the Big Green from her stint with the Canadian National Women’s Development Team. Despite arriving from Germany hours prior to her first game, Stacey showed no rust as she racked up two goals and two assists in her first two games back.
“She will win every race to the puck and any battle in the corner,” Kennedy Ottenbreit ’17 said. “This comes from sheer hard work as one of the hardest and most dedicated athletes I know, as well as a lot of experience and knowledge of the game.”
When asked about his most memorable moment with Stacey, Hudak laughed as he struggled to pick just one.
Hudak said that these past couple of weeks, with Stacey in Germany playing for the Canadian National Women’s Development Team, were pretty memorable. Stacey flew back from Germany Thursday night before the weekend games, arrived on campus Friday at 3:30 p.m. and played that night.
“The first thing I asked her when she got back was, ‘Are you going to be okay to play tonight?’ having just gotten back that afternoon,” Hudak said. “Her answer was, ‘Yeah, can I? I want to.’”
Hudak added that her ability to be ready to go and her focus on playing speaks volumes about her character and leadership.
“We all look up to Stace,” Ottenbreit said. “She is also just a fun person to be around that brings a positive vibe to both the locker room and on ice settings as well as away from the rink. Playing with her for these three years has been an honor.”
Stacey’s work as a teammate and player at Dartmouth has translated to her play on the Canadian National Development Team. She continues to work hard to realize her dream of representing Canada in a future Olympics.