Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/14/14 at 09:32 AM ET
from Karen Crouse of the New York Times,
At the Columbus Cottonmouths’ morning skate on Thursday, Brad Prefontaine, the assistant coach, opened the door to the practice rink for Shannon Szabados, who squeezed through in her goaltending gear. “This is the last time I’m going to do that for you,” he said, jokingly.
Fresh off her gold-medal-winning stint with Canada at the Sochi Games, Szabados, 27, opened another door for women when she signed with the Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League, a regional men’s senior league.
When Szabados, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, makes her expected pro debut this weekend, she will become the first woman to play in the 10-year-old S.P.H.L., a rung or two below the midlevel ECHL on the National Hockey League ladder. It is the latest stop in Szabados’s trailblazing career. She was the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League in 2002 at age 16, and she played on the men’s team at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
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