Natalie Spooner has very rapidly become the face of women’s hockey in Canada. The Olympic gold medalist has been on a rampage throughout her career with Team Canada, showcasing the best of what women’s hockey is about in the nation.
But for the other three calendar years that don't host an Olympic Winter Games, Spooner proudly calls the Canadian Women’s Hockey League her home, playing for the Toronto Furies.
On the eve of an important game against Les Canadiens, Spooner, a CWHL Most Valuable Player nominee this season, spoke with PPP about the Furies and the state of the league.
Q: You’ve no doubt become one of the faces of the CWHL, does that put extra pressure on you?
A: I don’t think so. It’s more of me putting pressure on myself to perform.
Q: This season hasn’t been the best the Furies have ever seen, sitting in fourth place heading into the Clarkson Cup playoffs. Why?
A: There’ve been a lot of games that just haven’t gone the way we would have liked them to. We definitely could have won more games this season, we have just had some issues bearing down in the third period and playing a full 60 minutes.
Q: It’s been an interesting season for women’s hockey with the inception of the NWHL. Has the CWHL changed at all as a result of the new league?
A: I don’t really think the CWHL has changed a whole lot. Of course the Boston Blades have been affected by the new league, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of changes in the Canadian CWHL teams.
Q: Has there been an uproar in the following of women’s hockey this season?
A: I think there’s been a huge following of the CWHL this season, and it’s definitely gotten better over time. We have lots of returning fans that want to keep coming back to games and we keep selling more and more season's tickets.
Q: The CWHL has said it’d like to pay its players very soon, what would that mean to the players?
A: I think it’d be a huge stress reliever. The goal is to be able to make a career out of hockey and many girls work day jobs, so it’s sometimes hard for them to make it to practices and games when they have to balance their day jobs. I think it’d be huge.
While Natalie Spooner won’t win the Clarkson Cup this season, she’ll have plenty of time to improve with her Toronto Furies as they continue to grow for next season.