Things we did not expect: THAT.
Just over a week after it was announced that Megan Bozek had been unexpectedly cut from Team USA’s final Olympic roster, the Markham Thunder announced that it had signed Bozek.
According to the press release tweeted out by the Thunder, Bozek will play her first game for Markham this Saturday.
The defender is no stranger to the CWHL - Bozek played 22 games for the Toronto Furies in the CWHL during the 2014-15 season before she signed with the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL for the following season. Bozek played with fellow USA teammate Emily Pfalzer for two seasons with the Beauts, winning an Isobel Cup last season.
In the press release, Bozek expressed her excitement at playing on the Thunder:
“I am very excited to get on the ice with the Thunder! When you are given a situation that is unexpected, you feel disappointed, discouraged, angry, sad, mad, and everything in between .But getting the chance to play in Markham with a great group of talented players – a handful that I have played with or against for years – is exciting! They bring energy and grit to every game, and I am looking forward to joining them on the run for the playoffs!”
She also lived in the GTA area before she moved for centralization, so playing for a team close to home had to factor into her decision to sign with Markham.
Bozek is a former Olympian, winning silver in 2014, and a three-time gold-medal winner at the Women’s World Championships. She also has a silver medal at Worlds. She won two national championships with the University of Minnesota in college and has been in the USAH pipeline for about a decade now.
Bozek instantly brings a steadying presence to a Markham team that’s been struggling with injuries and a slight identity crisis this season. The Thunder lost some of their key players to centralization - both Jocelyne Larocque and Laura Fortino will play for Team Canada at the Olympics.
The Thunder are only four points behind the Vanke Rays for the fourth and final playoff spot with half of the season remaining. If Bozek can help hold the fort down until Fortino and Larocque get back from the Olympics (and possibly join her on the Thunder), things may be looking up for the GTA team.