In a predominately male sport, Shannon Szabados is breaking barriers and carving her own path. The Edmonton, ALTA native started early, becoming the first female to play in the Western Hockey League when she joined the Tri-City Americans at the age of sixteen Fours years later, Szabados made her international hockey debut when she helped Team Canada to a gold medal in the 2006 4 Nations Cup. Fast forward to May 2017 and she continues to have evolving success.
In the 15 years since she made a splash in men’s hockey, Szabados has trained to be the backbone of Team Canada for ten of those years. In that time, she has appeared in three Air Canada Cups, seven Four Nations Cups, three Women’s World Championships and two Olympics.
In the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Szabados posted a stellar shutout performance against the U.S. Women’s National Team to win gold. Her performance earned her selection to the 2010 Vancouver Media All-Star team, as well as Directorate Award for Best Goaltender. In the 2014 Sochi Games, she was victorious in all three of her starts, including the gold medal rematch against the U.S, which went into overtime. Szabados recorded a .953 save percentage and a 0.96 GAA in 3 GP.
Following her Olympic success, Szabados signed with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League to finish out the 2013-2014 season, becoming the first female to play with an SPHL team. After losing her first game to the Knoxville Ice Bears, she rebounded and became the first female to win a SPHL game when the Cottonmouths defeated the Fayetteville FireAntz 5-4 in overtime on November 21st. She also became the first ever female to record a professional shutout when she made 34 stops against the Huntsville Havoc in 2015.
For most goalies, hockey is more than a hobby - it’s a lifestyle. For Szabados, it has been what has defined her over the past 20 years of her life. When asked what she wants to see accomplished by the end of the camp, she says “the progression everyone makes! It’s incredible to see how far all of the goalies come from the start of the week to the end!”
For this Canadian native, the Toronto Legends Camp is especially exciting, since it is the only camp in Canada, which means “more Tim Horton’s and beer!.” It also provides a place where she can watch each attendee’s progress throughout the week: “With the amazing staff GGSU assembles… it’s no surprise the knowledge the goalies retain from the start of the week… it’s really fun to watch!”