Female goalie Szabados signing with men’s team
Canadian women’s goalie Shannon Szabados has agreed to a contract with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
The two-time Olympic champion announced Friday on Twitter that she will play for the Georgia men’s team.
The 27-year-old Szabados was in the news this week when she filled in at practice for the Edmonton Oilers while the NHL team waited for Viktor Fasth to arrive after a trade with the Anaheim Ducks.
Szabados was the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League and will become the first in the SPHL. She played provincial college hockey at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with current Cottonmouths players Jordan Draper, Andy Willigar and Kyle Johnson.
— Shannon Szabados (@ShannonSzabados) March 7, 2014
"When I got home from Sochi, I thought I’d be hanging my stuff up for the summer," Szabados relayed to the Canadian Press on Friday, adding that Draper, Willigar and Johnson have been "bugging me for a couple of years" to come over.
"I had never talked to their head coach and he called me yesterday," Szabados continued. "Honestly, I thought he was calling to ask me if I would want to go there next year. It happened a little fast, but I’m excited."
That excitement is shared by Cottonmouths coach Jerome Bechard.
"Shannon has won at every level she has played, in women’s hockey or men’s hockey," Bechard said. "She won a championship with NAIT last year alongside Andy Willigar and Jordan Draper, so I know she can compete at this level. We are working on her immigration, and we are looking to sign her officially Thursday, where she will be backing up (Andrew) Loewen. She will play when she feels comfortable and situated."
Szabados, for her part, isn’t sweating the details.
"The older I’ve gotten, the easier the transition has been to a new team," she told the Canadian Press. "I’m honestly not worried at all. They seem like a good group of guys."