Who is Shannon Szabados?
Shannon Szabados was in goal for the Canadian women’s hockey team in the past two Olympic gold medal games. In each, she was able to close the door on the U.S. women, continuing Canada's Olympic hockey dominance which began back in 2002.
Szabados started playing hockey when she was five years old. She loved to sit with her father and watch hockey on TV, and one day she turned to her dad and asked if she could play. Just a few years into learning her way around the ice, Szabados decided that goaltending was her calling.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated her father, Gary Szabados, called his daughter a “go-getter” on the ice.
Growing up in Edmonton, Szabados idolized NHL all-star and 1990 Conn Smythe winning goalie for the Oilers, Bill Ranford, and even spent her summers at a goalie school run by the two-time Stanley Cup champ.
Since joining the Canadian women’s national team in 2006, Szabados has played in five World Championships – winning silver in four and gold once.
After having to make just 11 saves to blank Finland and advance to the gold medal game against the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, Szabados was selected to start in the final against the Americans.
It was the first time she had backstopped for Canada in any final of a major international tournament, let alone the Olympics, and would do it in front of a raucous home country crowd.
Over 60 minutes, Szabados dashed the gold medal dreams for the U.S. – making 28 saves – as Canada went on to win their third straight Olympic title.
Szabados has honed her goaltending skills by getting the majority of her minutes playing against her male counterparts. As a teenager, Szabados often faced intense scrutiny and insults from players and parents, but she persisted with the full support of her parents, and at 16 became the first woman to play in the WHL.
After getting ample ice time with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL in the preseason, even replacing now-Montreal Canadien goalie Carey Price in her debut, Szabados was released after getting just 20 seconds of play in the regular season.
First woman to play in the SPHL and first woman to record a shutout in league history against Huntsville on December 26, 2015.
First woman to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, named the league’s top goalie after her 2006-07 season.
First woman to play for Northern Alberta Institute of Technology men’s hockey team, winning the first Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference championship in 16 years for the school.
First woman to play in the Western Hockey League.
"As a goalie, I almost have to clean up my game a little bit in the women's game. They go to the net a little bit more and try to create different things than the guys would."
In her first Olympic Games in 2010, Szabados made three starts in front of the home crowd in Vancouver – allowing just one goal on 51 shots – which included the semifinal and gold medal game against the United States. In the final she was a perfect 28-for-28, shutting down the U.S. women to take gold on home soil. Szabados would again appear in 3 games four year later at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, winning gold again, this time in an overtime thriller, 3-2, where she faced 29 shots from the U.S. women, stopping 27.