Friday, 19 June 2015

An Olympian Joins

If there's one thing that we, as Canadians, should be shamed for, it's our complete lack of interest and support for our university athletes outside of a few programs. Football, like the NCAA, gets major coverage in the CIS, but we have rinks that sit mostly empty all season long while fantastic hockey players ply their trade in front of rows of empty seats. It's not very Canadian, and it must be frustrating for some of the Olympians who play in the CIS to play in front of a handful of fans every weekend instead of packed houses.

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.
The problem I have found in terms of finding out more information on Miss Hovi is that there is little to no information on the Finnish national team member online. There are a ton of photos thanks to her playing in the Olympics, but there is virtually no information on the Finn anywhere to be found. While I appreciate people's privacy, a little info would be helpful.

So I guess I'll have to take it on myself to interview Miss Hovi and get some information about her for this blog and the readers who appreciate women's hockey. I'm quite certain the 27 year-old forward has some great hockey and life stories to tell, but it's almost as if no one in the hockey world - including in her own country - has taken the time to sit down with Miss Hovi and talk hockey and life with her. I'll bet money that the fans of the University of Bisons women's hockey team will certainly be interested in this new player who will don the brown-and-gold next season, so I'll get some info about Miss Hovi going as soon as she arrives at the university.

There's an Olympian among us. Come see her play.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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