We have some amazing young women who have taken the CIS by storm with their talents, and we've seen the likes of Danielle Dubé, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Charlene Labonté emerge from the CIS as top players for Canada. While the NCAA is still the highest amateur level for women to play, the CIS has begun to add international players who will carry the torches for their respective countries. Calgary has Russian Iya Gavrilova on their roster, and she appears to be headed for stardom with her national team. And Manitoba has added its first international recruit this year as they will have an Olympic bronze medalist on their roster!
The woman in the photo above is Finn Venla Hovi. Miss Hovi agreed on May 21 to join the Manitoba Bisons for this upcoming season as she pursues a degree at the University of Manitoba. The 27 year-old has played in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, where she earned a bronze medal with Finland, and at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. The Bisons are getting a player with major international experience under her belt, and it appears that they'll rely on her for scoring and leadership during her CIS career.
She has played for a few teams in Europe as well. She was a member of KalPa Kuopio in Finland for the 2012-13 season where she had 19 goals and 20 assists in 24 games, and suited up in Austria for the EHV Vienna Sabres last season where she recorded four goals and three assists in six games with the Sabres. Her Olympic career has seen her score three goals and add one helper in eleven career games, including the following goal against China in 2010.
There's an Olympian among us. Come see her play.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!