Schuler goes from wearing Maple Leaf to coaching it in women’s world hockey (Canada)
Women’s hockey isn’t old enough to have many full-circle moments, but Laura Schuler?closed a significant one.
She played for Canada in the first women’s world hockey championship in 1990 and also in the first Olympic women’s tournament in 1998.
The 45-year-old from Toronto is?the first alumnus to be Canada’s head coach at a?world championship.
Suffering through a?head?cold in the preliminary round, Schuler?navigated?the host country to a 2-1 record?and a berth in Sunday’s?semifinals.
Another circle Schuler?wants to?complete is standing?behind Canada’s bench at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“This would be my dream to continue on,” Schuler said.
It’s been Hockey Canada’s practice to name the head coach of the women’s Olympic team two years out from the Winter Games.
But there was an abrupt coaching change?just eight?weeks from the 2014 Sochi Games. Dan Church left, citing a lack of confidence in his coaching abilities.
Kevin Dineen, who was between NHL jobs at the time,?was the stop-gap hire?under whom the women defended the gold medal. Schuler wants the Olympic job despite that drama.
“I would still want to be a part of that because I know how good it can be,” Schuler said.
The forward was?named to Canada’s team in 1998 when women’s hockey made its Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan. Schuler’s future mentor Shannon Miller coached Canada to a silver medal, as the team fell 3-1 to the U.S. in the final.
“It still hurts,” Schuler said. “The defining moment was when we were awarded our medals and hoisted our flowers up above our head to recognize the fans and the support of the fans, the whole building kind of erupted.
“At that moment I knew, even though we didn’t win the gold that day, it was still a golden moment for all of women’s hockey.”
Schuler?won world championship gold in 1990, 1992 and 1997.
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