loren gabel feature

New kid on the block

After scoring her way through college, Loren Gabel has burst onto the international scene at the IIHF Women’s World Championship

Katie Brickman
April 11, 2019

Setbacks have never stopped Loren Gabel from achieving her dreams.

The 21-year-old is on the ice at her first IIHF Women’s World Championship in Finland, capping a wild season that saw her make her debut with Canada’s National Women’s Team just six months ago at the 4 Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Sask.

The opportunity is not lost on Gabel, who hasn’t wasted anytime making her mark on the international stage – the Kitchener, Ont., native scored the first goal of the game in Canada’s tournament-opening win over Switzerland, and had two goals and an assist against the host Finns to close out the prelims.

“It is a huge honour to be part of something that is so much bigger than myself,” she says. “To be here is a dream come true and something I’ve worked towards my whole life.”

In 2014, Gabel was passed over for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, and again missed the cut in 2016 with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team. It was those moments that pushed Gabel to continue work on her craft.

“There are going to be ups and downs and it is important to keep pushing, knowing that you have dreams and goals that will come true one day,” says Gabel. “You have to persevere a lot through life. Getting cut a couple of times sent a message and made me work on areas of my game that I had to improve on.”

Gabel never quit believing in herself and worked on and off the ice to become a better player, including taking hundreds of shots using the RapidShot shooting machine at her parents’ business, G&G Skate Training Centre in Kitchener.

Whatever she did, it worked. Gabel turned missed opportunities into motivation to become one of the most prolific goal scorers in women’s hockey, and put together two of most impressive NCAA seasons in recent memory.

On top of winning back-to-back national championships with Clarkson University, Gabel claimed consecutive ECAC Player of the Year awards, was a two-time First Team All-American and led the NCAA in goals this season (40 in 38 games).

She capped off her senior season by becoming just the eighth Canadian to win the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in NCAA women’s hockey, putting her firmly on the radar of Team Canada.

“My four years at Clarkson were an amazing experience and something I will never forget. Winning back-to-back championships was a dream come true,” she says. “My line-mates and teammates pushed me day-in and day-out to become a better player.”

For Matt Desrosiers, Gabel’s head coach at Clarkson and an assistant with Team Canada, it is no surprise she is showing her skills and confidence on the biggest stage in the game.

“She’s worked extremely hard to get to this point. The four years at Clarkson, she made tremendous strides to become a better player,” Desrosiers says. “Everything she is starting to receive now, she has worked hard for and is reaping the benefits.”

Gabel has always had a scoring ability, but was motivated to become a more complete player. Being better in all three zones has created more offensive opportunities, and she has thrived.

“She has always had that ability. I think she has just gotten so much better at it over the years,” Desrosiers says. “When she came in as a freshman at Clarkson, she was an offensively-talented kid and she scored some goals.

“She needed to learn some areas of the defensive game and understand that would help her offensively. She became more of a 200-foot player and that helped her scoring prowess just that much more. Her attitude and willingness to listen and take feedback has helped propel her to be an elite scorer.”

Gabel is humble when called a clutch scorer and passes the accolades onto those around her.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m a clutch goal scorer … things happen, and you are in the right spot at the right time,” she says. “I couldn’t be that goal scorer without my teammates and my linemates. I don’t think there is a clutch player, but I take my chances when I can. I try and get a lot of shots on net and hope that some go in, and that’s what happened this year.”

Scoring is key in a short tournament like the IIHF Women’s World Championship, which is a big reason Gabel made the cut despite having only 12 international games to her name coming in.

But Desrosiers believes – and Canadian hockey fans have seen – that Gabel is up for the challenge.

“Elite scorers are hard to come by. Loren has a bright future ahead of her if she continues to keep progressing and growing like she has,” he says. “If she can do that, she is going to be an elite player for Team Canada for a long time.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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