Kathy Desjardins, goalie for the Calgary Inferno women’s hockey team proudly showed off the Clarkson Cup at Best Body Fitness last Thursday.
The final game for the Clarkson Cup was held at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on March 13. The Inferno played against the Montreal Canadiens and won 8-3 making them the2016 Canadian Women’s’ Hockey League Clarkson Cup champions.
Winning the Cup has been a dream come true for Desjardins and is a victory she will never forget.
Originally from Quebec City, she has been in western Canada for four years.
During her time with the Calgary Inferno she has played alongside Meagan Mikkelson, Hayley Wickenheiser, Rebecca Johnston and Brianne Jenner.
Desjardins has been a goalie since her early days in minor hockey.
Playing for the Infernos was different this year as she suffered a concussion after her second year on the team.
“It’s a big thing to come back for the cup and to actually win it. It was the dream year,” she said.
She proved a concussion would not stop her from doing what she loved.
When she returned to the team, she wasn’t sure if she would make it. However, in training camp she was told she would be playing alongside her good friend and the team’s other goalie Delayne Brian.
“Deciding to come back was easy because I wanted it so much. I got on the ice for training camp and I was like ‘whoa’ this team is way stronger than when I left, this is another game,” Desjardins said.
She realized she had lost some of her skills and confidence on the ice, but knew she would gain it all back. The question she remembers asking was when she would gain it all back.
“It did come back, the girls supported me 100 percent and knew what I had been through,” Desjardins said.
During the final game against Montreal, Desjardins accepted being the back up goalie something new as she had always been first goalie.
“I came back and I accepted my role as a second goalie and I think that did make a difference in the team,” Desjardins said. “To see that the second goalie is driving from Sylvan Laketo Calgary and is committed to that team like everybody else. The girls see that you’re there for them and they want to play for you.”
The night before the final game the team met up and the players were asked what it meant to be a Calgary Inferno and what it would mean to win the cup.
“The other goalie said I want to win just for Kathy, she has been around for four years,” Desjardins said. “She said ‘I want to win this for her’. Just to know that there are players who would do this for you – we cried.”
Desjardins was on the bench that game, ready and willing to back the other goalie up in case something happened. During the game she felt all the emotion and the game momentum.
She said when they won it was the best feeling she has ever felt.
“When you see all the girls doing this for you it’s the best thing ever,” Desjardins said.
She said in a big game like that one you try to do your job and you don’t think too much about being famous for that game or being the most valuable player. The girls are in it together as a complete team.
“We are the Calgary Inferno family here and in the end you feel like we are all sisters,” Desjardins said. “Everybody has their back, everybody was playing for the girl right beside them and I think that’s what brings us together to win that cup.”
What may surprise people is how even though Desjardins is a professional hockey player she doesn’t get paid to play hockey.
“I have comments about ‘hey now you’re rich’, but we don’t get paid to play hockey,” she said.
The fact that she doesn’t get paid to play hockey doesn’t matter because she says she is helping to pave the path for young girls who want to be just like her.
“We’re building a league now for those little girls that want to be just like us so maybe they will be paid one day,” Desjardins said.
Now that she is retiring from playing on the Calgary Inferno team and from the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, she plans to move back home to Montreal, Quebec.
Even though she is retiring from the league she would still possibly take up an opportunity to play in the U.S.A.
If it turns out this is the end of her hockey career she will be happy as well.
“If I retire and don’t play hockey anymore I will be happy that I finished on a great note,” Desjardins said.