Ahead of the 2018-19 season, The Ice Garden asked a player from every team the same set of six questions via email. These are their responses.
What do you think your team’s greatest strength is?
Rachel Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): This year we have good depth, every line can contribute and each line offers something different. Our greatest strength is our compete level. We refuse to be out worked.
Lauren Dahm (Blades): Resilience. We go into every game as the underdog and despite adversity on or off the ice, we keep on fighting until the horn sounds. Hopefully, this year, that resiliency results in some more wins!
Blayre Turnbull (Inferno): Our depth. We have a lot of talented players in our lineup with plenty of CWHL and international experience.
Natalie Spooner (Furies): I think its hard to pick just one strength. Every player is different and bring different talents to the team. We are skilled, relentless, hardworking and fast! We are diverse which makes us such a great team!
Emerance Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): The team’s passion, heart and determination motivates us to push boundaries.
Jamie Lee Rattray (Thunder): Our work ethic and identity. We’ve got such an amazing group of girls in the locker room that have one common goal, and have figured out how to work together to achieve that common goal. I think the prime example was last year in how much adversity we went through as a team, and to come through it all and have a run like we did at the end of the season is pretty special. We always kept a positive outlook on what we were doing.
Which new teammate(s) are you most excited to play with and get to know on the ice?
Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): I have a lot of new teammates including the players merged in from last years Vanke Rays’ team. It’s been pretty exciting coming to practice everyday and competing with the talent we have. Everyone wants to get better everyday, seeing the product during this season is what I’m most excited about.
Dahm (Blades): Alexis Miller and Lauren Williams – a speedy and skilled new set of D with some offensive flair who looked really strong in our exhibition series. They have also been super friendly and positive and we hit it off right away on the ice.
Turnbull (Inferno): I’m looking forward to playing with all of them. They are all great players who I know I’ll learn a lot from. Of course I’m a little extra excited to play alongside my former teammates from Wisconsin, Alex Rigsby and Brianna Decker.
Spooner (Furies): There’s lots! Which is exciting because they are all so talented! I’m obviously excited about Sarah Nurse having played with her last season. But we also have 3 solid goalies this season and I’m excited to see them in some games!
Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): The new group of players and the centralized players that are returning are extremely skilled and hardworking. I am excited to get to know all the new members. I can’t wait to be facing Marie-Philip Poulin, Mélodie Daoust, and Hilary Knight’s shots in practice but more importantly, I’m so happy to have them on my team and not be playing against them!
Rattray (Thunder): I’m excited to get to know all the new girls, but I’m excited to see Jess Jones play again in person. She is such a special player and a special human at that too. She just loves the game and loves to be at the rink, it’s so contagious and I love seeing it. She also will look great in green, just like she did in the old Thunder colours!
What is your most memorable moment from your CWHL career to date?
Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): This will be my 4th season playing in the CWHL. The league and the teams have come so far and it’s been great to be a part of it all. My first season with the Boston Blades is definitely the most memorable. I am still very close with some of the girls from that team and we share so many memories from that season of just going through the grind with each other and making a Clarkson Cup run that year and winning it the season after that.
Dahm (Blades): My very first game of my career against Toronto in 2016. There I was, coming back to elite women’s hockey after a 5 year “break” after graduating from Clarkson in 2011. Naturally, it was quite nerve-wracking leading up to my first professional game. Nevermind the fact that I was stepping into the crease previously held by Geneviève Lacasse. Undoubtedly, there were a lot of CWHL fans wondering where the Blades would be without her. Talk about pressure! Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have probably one of the best games of my life. Taking Toronto to overtime and having 54 saves in my pro debut was so validating and gratifying and I feel like it set my CWHL career off on the right foot. That memory will stay with me forever and if I ever start to doubt myself, I can look back and gain confidence from that game.
Turnbull (Inferno): Winning the Clarkson Cup in 2016.
Spooner (Furies): Winning the Clarkson Cup in 2014!
Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): My most memorable moment in the CWHL would have to be playing at the Bell Centre when I was part of the Calgary Inferno in 2016-17. We played against Les Canadiennes and it was quite the goalie battle. The atmosphere and support was incredible and the rivalry was competitive.
Rattray (Thunder): Definitely winning the Clarkson Cup, like I said before that year was a special one and to cap it off with a championship with that group..And in dramatic fashion...could of saved me a couple heart attacks but that makes it all that much sweeter!
Three words to describe your style of play
Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): Fast, gritty, tenacious
Dahm (Blades): Athletic, focused, unorthodox (the occasional 2 pad stack might come out here or there)
Turnbull (Inferno): Gritty, fast, reliable
Spooner (Furies): Fast, competitive, beast mode :) (#24 Marshawn Lynch)
Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): Confident, relentless, fast
Rattray (Thunder): Passionate. Power-forward. Bull-in-a-china-shop-sometimes... (one word haha)
What’s your pump up song
Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): I actually don’t try to get too pumped up right before I get on the ice, I try to stay pretty calm, so if I am listening to music it’s usually Thomas Rhett or Lee Brice
Dahm (Blades): “Call on Me” by Starley or whatever Megan Myers has loaded up in the queue because she never disappoints
Turnbull (Inferno): Whatever Brigette Lacquette has on her playlist.
Spooner (Furies): Unstoppable by Kat Deluna
Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): Anything Hip Hop before games
Rattray (Thunder): Cinderella Man - Eminem
What’s your post game meal
Llanes (KRS Vanke Rays): Nothing specific, protein shake right after games and as long as I have a serving of protein and veggies from whole food sources I’m good.
Dahm (Blades): Usually some chicken and pasta, but really all that matters is that Gino (Nicole Giannino) is there with me because literally no one on this planet enjoys food like she does.
Turnbull (Inferno): Anything with a lot of calories... pizza is a favourite if we don’t have a game the following day!
Spooner (Furies): It’s either leftovers or sometimes our team goes out for post game meal. Normally chicken, salad, rice and veggies.
Maschmeyer (Les Canadiennes): Post-game meal is either leftovers from pre-game meal or a typical protein, veggies and pasta dish.
Rattray (Thunder): Chicken Burrito Bowl from Burrito Boys