Bechard wins gold for Canada

In the late 1980’s, Nirvana played Calgary’s Westward Club to a handful of fans and curious onlookers. Years later, thousands of goggle-eyed Calgarian youth would claim to have been there.

In much the same way, thousands of U of C students might boast one day of having attended the U of C with Kelly Bechard.

Unfamiliar with the name? Bechard, a first-year Dinos hockey player and Management student, recently returned to Calgary after helping Team Canada win the gold at the recent world championships in Missisauga.

Such an accomplishment is not lost on Bechard.

"It was an honour," she said. "What can I say? I was pretty confident I’d make the team, [but] there’s so much talent in this country…"

Not only did Bechard make the team, she played on a line with Jayna Hefford and Cassie Campbell, two of the best players in the world.

"It was an experience, for sure," she said of playing with them.

"I learned what it takes to be a player. The whole team was so supportive too, especially to the rookies."

Hefford scored the championship-winning goal on Sunday.

Fans of Dinos hockey will remember Bechard’s season was interrupted frequently by her departure for international tournaments. After ripping it up in the Dinos’ first few games (scoring a hat trick in her first game) Bechard disappeared in November to play in the Three Nations Cup. Bechard returned briefly, only to leave again in February to play in Germany with the under-22 national team.

"It was tough playing with the Dinos, and then [having to leave]," she said. "This semester has been really tough, ’cause I wanted to win nationals."

Bechard, Colleen Sostorics and head coach Julie Healy had the opportunity to play the German and Swiss national teams and the Finnish under-22 team in February.

Bechard said the experience she gained from the trip was invaluable, but she missed playing with the Dinos. And the feeling was undoubtedly mutual. The undermanned Dinos suffered without the offensive fire-power of Sostorics and Bechard, losing in the Canada West finals to the University of Alberta Pandas.

But an opportunity to represent your country, playing on a national stage, doesn’t come along every day, even for an athlete like Bechard.

"It was great," said Bechard of winning the world championship. "It was such an experience. A few thousand more fans [than at Dinos games], but yeah, it was great."

Bechard hopes to play with the Dinos next year. Selfish fans will hope Team Canada can plan around the Dinos schedule a bit better next year so as to allow Bechard to show Canada West the talent she’s already shown the world.

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