7 Manitoba athletes to compete for Olympic gold in Pyeongchang
Team Manitoba is made up of skaters, more skaters — and 1 curler
There's less than two weeks to go as seven athletes from Manitoba lace up in their quest for Olympic gold.
Five hockey players, one speedskater and one curler from Manitoba will head to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Games. The group includes two repeat Olympians hoping for a second gold medal.
Bailey Bram, Ste. Anne
The 27-year-old forward has been playing hockey since she was three, following her siblings into the sport. Bram was one of the last to be cut from the national team right before the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. She told CBC late last year that she used that disappointment as fuel to propel her further, determined to make it to the 2018 games. She continued to play for the Canadian national women's hockey team, winning three silvers in the past three world championships.
Brigette Lacquette, Mallard
The first Indigenous woman to play on the Olympic women's hockey team says she is honoured to represent her nation. The 25-year-old defenceman credits her father for getting her interested in the sport, saying she spent time with him on her community's outdoor rink. Lacquette's roots extend beyond the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, east to the community of Cote First Nation just north of Yorkton, where her mother grew up. She won the 2015-16 Clarkson Cup with the CWHL Calgary team.
Chay Genoway, Morden
Chay Genoway, 31, from Morden, will also represent Manitoba on the Olympic team. The defenceman played one game for the Minnesota Wild during the 2011-12 season and had an assist in that lone appearance. He's playing in the KHL this year in the Russian city of Tolyatti, which sits on the Volga River, about 1,000 kilometres southeast of Moscow. Because the NHL is not participating in the Olympics this year, players like Genoway get their chance to compete.
Heather McLean, Winnipeg
The province's only competing speedskater, McLean says she grew up dreaming about competing in the Olympics while watching greats like Susan Auch and Cindy Klassen, also from Manitoba. She finished a respectable seventh place at the 2017 World Sprint Championships, the top spot for a Canadian woman. She trains occasionally with Olympic 500-metre champion Lee Sang Hwa of South Korea, whom she calls "a sister." She won her way to the Olympics with a first in the 1,000-metre distance and a second in the 500 earlier this year at Calgary's Olympic Oval. Those races are considered sprints in the world of long-track speedskating.
Jocelyne Larocque, Ste. Anne
Larocque is hoping for a repeat performance at her second Olympics, helping Team Canada bring home gold. A member of the women's national team for 10 years, Laroque, 29, is a key member of the defence. In Sochi, she was the team's top scorer on defence with one goal and one assist, helping the team capture its fourth straight gold medal. She says she started playing hockey when she was five, because she wanted to be just like her older sister.
Kaitlyn Lawes, Winnipeg
Manitoba's lone Olympic curler this year, Lawes is hoping for a gold in Pyeongchang to compliment her gold in Sochi. In 2014, the third was part of skip Jennifer Jones' team that was the first undefeated Olympic curling team. This time, she goes as part of the mixed doubles team, with John Morris, who was born in Winnipeg but moved to Ontario at a young age. She started curling at age four when her family won a bonspiel, and enjoys golf, volleyball, swimming and fishing when she's not hurrying hard on the ice.
Quinton Howden, Oakbank
Part of a hockey-playing family (his brother Brett won World Junior gold), Howden, 26, played five games for the Winnipeg Jets last season and spent six years as part of the Florida Panthers organization. The forward has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, the San Antonio Rampage and is currently in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk.