Olympian Meghan Agosta pauses hockey career to join Vancouver police
|Montreal Gazette 22 Sep 2014 at 18:33|
When her teammates arrive Monday in Calgary for training camp, Meghan Agosta will instead report to the Justice Institute of British Columbia with her badge and gun.
The three-time Olympic gold medallist in women s hockey is training to be a police officer in the city where she earned one of those gold medals. Agosta was among the recruits sworn in by the Vancouver Police Department last week.
Agosta is a probationary constable with the V.P.D. until she completes her nine months of academy training. Her first day at the academy is Monday.
"I ve only had two passions in my life and that s policing and hockey," Agosta told The Canadian Press from Vancouver. "To be able to fulfil both dreams is pretty amazing."
The 27-year-old from Ruthven, Ont., was Canada s top scorer at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., with nine goals and six assists in five games. Agosta was named the most valuable player of the women s hockey tournament.
She s represented Canada in women s hockey for a decade. Agosta celebrated her 19th birthday with a hat trick against Russia at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
In February, she and her teammates won gold in jaw-dropping fashion in Sochi, Russia. Canada came back from two goals down to beat the United States in overtime.
Agosta isn t retiring from the national team, but is on hiatus this winter as she pursues policing. She intends to keep her hockey skills sharp with the police department s Centurions hockey team.
Agosta wants to play in a fourth Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.
"I m not retiring whatsoever," she said. "I m only 27 years old. I still want to be a part of Team Canada at least until South Korea and I guess we ll see after that."
The women s hockey team trains full time together in Calgary the winter prior to a Winter Games. In non-Olympic years, they get together for camps and international tournaments.
Fifty-eight players have been invited to this week s training camp in Calgary. Canada will participate in the Four Nations tournament in Kamloops, B.C., in November followed by the 2015 women s world championship next April in Malmo, Sweden.
Hockey Canada s general manager of women s teams was prepared for Agosta s absence this winter.
"She definitely has said she wants to play and wants to play in the future," Melody Davidson said.
Agosta completed a criminal justice degree with a minor in criminal psychology while playing NCAA hockey for Mercyhurst.
She has stated several times her ambition is to work with a police department s canine unit, but she s open to other avenues of policing.
"Definitely canine is still on my mind," Agosta said. "Right now, I want to just become the best police officer I can and help make a difference in the community.
"I want to become this constable and figure out what it is I actually love. I ll go out on many different calls to many different things where I ll be able to tell what I m interested in."
She believed recruits will be on the shooting range as early as this week. One of Agosta s hobbies is trapshooting.
"I ve never shot a handgun," she said. "The biggest challenge for me will be to learn the laws. We re going to studying every single day.
"It s definitely not going to be easy and to be a police officer, you are going to be in stressful situations. Playing hockey you re in stressful situations. Going into an Olympic final, that s pretty crazy."
Agosta moved to Vancouver earlier this month. Her husband Marco Marciano is the video coach for the American Hockey League s Hamilton Bulldogs.
Agosta isn t the only women s team veteran getting a pass from this week s camp. Five-time Olympians veterans Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, captain Caroline Ouellette, Gillian Apps, Meaghan Mikkelson and goaltenders Shannon Szabados and Charline Labonte will not attend.
"None of those veterans needed to come to a September camp," Davidson said. "They ve been to a lot of September camps."
But 10 players who won gold in Sochi, including overtime heroine Marie-Philip Poulin, will mix with players from Canada s under-22 and under-18 teams. After physical testing and skills testing, they ll play intra-squad games starting Wednesday.
"We want to see what we have in terms of the future," Davidson said. "We wanted a nice mix of people who have experience, who have been at the Olympics, so we have the standard where we wanted it.
"We also wanted to open the door for anybody and everybody that we felt like we needed to see and let them showcase to us where they re at."
Davidson wants players such as Poulin, Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield, who are attending camp, to mentor the prospects and demonstrate what it takes to win Olympic gold.
"We wanted to make sure that generation of players had some opportunities to show what they can do leadership-wise," Davidson said.