The goaltender for Canada’s women’s hockey team was met by family and fans when she arrived home in Edmonton on Monday evening after helping her teammates capture a silver medal at this month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
“It was awesome,” Shannon Szabados said of her Olympic experience in Pyeongchang. “We were there for a little over a month so a little exhausted but… we had a blast.”
Szabados and her teammates came awfully close to capturing a third-straight Olympic gold medal last week before losing the championship game 3-2 to the Americans. The loss was suffered in heartbreaking fashion as Canada lost the game in a shootout.
Szabados had turned aside 39 of 41 shots in regulation and overtime in her third-straight start for Canada in an Olympic final. Jocelyne Lamoreux-Davidson beat Szabados with the winner — getting the 31-year-old goaltender to move right before sliding the puck under her glove.
But the hockey player is taking the loss in stride.
Szabados was also named the Olympic women’s hockey tournament’s top goalie.
“It’s a small consolation,” she said of the honour. “I’d rather be coming home with a gold medal.”
The born-and-raised Edmontonian joined Canada’s National Women’s Team in 2006. In 2002, the trailblazing hockey player became the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League when she suited up for the Tri-City Americans. She went on to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League before starting her post-secondary career at Grant MacEwan University. Szabados later became the first woman to play for the men’s hockey team at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
Before leaving reporters at Edmonton International Airport on Monday night, Szabados stayed mum on what her future plans are and if she’ll be playing in another Olympics.
“Get some sleep tonight then go from there,” she said, adding she was grateful to the “overwhelming” support she’s received from fans, particularly on social media.
— With a file from The Canadian Press