Shannon Szabados isn’t turning the page on her remarkable hockey career just yet, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist is writing another chapter.
Szabados authored and illustrated a children’s book called Every Bunny Loves to Play.
“The drawing was much harder than the writing — I’m no Picasso,” Szabados said.
“The words kind of came easy because I knew what kind of message I wanted to send.”
Szabados married Carl Nielsen, a former college and minor pro defenceman, last year. She announced she was pregnant in March, and her daughter Shaylyn is now a little over three months old.
The idea for the book came to the 34-year-old after receiving some books during her pregnancy.
“They were cute, they rhymed, but not a lot of them had learning opportunities that I wanted to read to my daughter.”
Szabados said the book is about a little bunny who loves to play hockey, but faces scrutiny from outsiders on their path to success: “It’s kind of the bunny’s journey along the way.”
The born-and-raised Edmontonian was Team Canada’s starting goaltender in the last three women’s Olympic hockey finals, winning gold in 2010 and 2014 and silver in 2018.
So what’s next for Szabados?
“For me, hockey has been my life and it will always be my life — I mean, as you can see in the book it’s a lot of hockey,” she said, adding what form that takes is yet to be determined.
“I think I’ll always play no matter what — whether it’s professionally or maybe just beer league.”