No one on the Canadian roster for the 2017 IIHF Women`s World Championship
has played in more women`s worlds than Meghan Agosta, which means no one
has been through more pre-tournament camps.
Through seven trips to the world championship, the weeks leading into the
tournament have been rinse and repeat – reconnect with teammates,
rediscover chemistry, come together as a team, chase a gold medal.
But this year holds a little more significance for Agosta, who is skating
close to home; Leamington, Ont., where the Canadian women have gathered
before they head south to Plymouth, Mich., for worlds, is just minutes from
her hometown of Ruthven.
“It’s not even a five-minute drive,” Agosta says of the journey she made
hundreds of times as a kid. “Just hop on Highway 34 and it brings you right
into Leamington. When I played for the Southpoint Capitals, we played a lot
at the old Leamington barn.”
The return of the local hero – Agosta is a three-time Olympic gold
medallist and two-time world champion – has brought plenty of friends and
family to the Kinsmen Recreation Complex, which has been good and bad.
“It has been great running into people at the rink,” Agosta says. “They’re
there with their kids, and it’s ‘Hey, how’s it going? I haven’t seen you in
forever.’ I feel torn, because I want to stay and talk, but I can’t because
I’m focusing on hockey, and people want to take pictures and get
This week marks the first time in more than two years Agosta has come home;
after winning her third Olympic gold at the 2014 Games in Sochi, she headed
west to join the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), and all the vacation
she has goes towards Team Canada.
So it has been an extra special few days, bringing her back to her
small-town roots and bringing her closer to the fans who have jammed into
the arena right from the first practice last Friday.
“I mean, who comes to practice? It’s a fun atmosphere,” Agosta says with a
laugh. “We have so many fans, and so much support, it’s been unbelievable.
Leamington is a hockey town, and I’m super lucky to be born and raised
where I’ve had the kind of support I’ve had. Not just my family and
friends, but the community as well.”
That support seemingly reaches from coast to coast for Agosta; with her
duties with the VPD demanding most of her time, she hasn’t played a full
season of club-team hockey since she led the CWHL in scoring with the
Montreal Stars in 2012-13.
But that doesn’t mean she’s not on the ice as much as she can be, and she
has plenty of options in B.C.
“I practice with the Valley West Hawks, a Midget team out of Langley,”
Agosta says, “and those guys are like any other team we play in [an
Olympic] centralization year – stronger, faster, longer reaches; those are
the guys that prepare me to be at my best when it comes to playing at a
“I also play for the Vancouver Centurions (the VPD hockey team), and now
than I’m 30 (she hit the big 3-0 on Feb. 12) I play with my brother’s 30+
team. So when I come here, I really don’t feel out of place. I feel like
I’ve played more games than I’ve practiced, so I’m not really worried about
That’s good news for the Canadian coaches, who lean on Agosta not only on
the ice – she ranks sixth in all-time Team Canada scoring, having posted
155 points in 155 games – but off of it as well.
As the most experienced player on the roster, Agosta is counted on to be a
leader, and to help get the next generation ready. It’s a role she likens
to her work in Vancouver, and is one she doesn’t take lightly.
“With policing I have a lot of responsibility, and I bring that mentality
[to camp],” Agosta says. “I have a lot more experience and knowledge of the
game, so I’m able to be one of those players who can take the younger
players under my wing and make them feel comfortable and confident.”
With almost 13 years of Team Canada hockey in her rearview mirror, Agosta
is hesitant to talk about her future in the game. She knows she wants to
take another run at Olympic gold next year in PyeongChang, but that means
taking a year away from the VPD, a sacrifice she’s willing to make.
For now, though, the focus stays on today, and no further than that.
“I just take each day at a time, and I am very fortunate to still be where
I am at, having a full-time career and playing the game I love so much,”
“I think with the job I have, you never know what you’re going to face
going in to work on a day-to-day basis, putting your life on the line and
things like that, I don’t take anything for granted. Just coming to the
rink and getting excited to put your skates on and wear that jersey … it
never gets old, it really doesn’t.”