Canadian women's hockey forward Blayre Turnbull turns the page on disappointment

Blayre Turnbull had to make peace with not playing a women's world hockey championship in her home province of Nova Scotia. The forward from Stellarton was going to represent Canada at the world championship in Halifax and Truro in 2020.

28-year-old hails from Nova Scotia, where tournament was originally set to take place

Canada's Blayre Turnbull, right, celebrates with goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens after defeating Finland to kick off the IIHF women's hockey world championship in Calgary. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Blayre Turnbull had to make peace with not playing a women's world hockey championship in her home province of Nova Scotia.

The forward from Stellarton was going to represent Canada at the world championship in Halifax and Truro in 2020.

The championship cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those communities were awarded the tournament again in 2021.

Originally scheduled for April 7-17, the championship was postponed to May 6-16 to allow more time for the pandemic situation to improve.

Turnbull and Halifax teammate Jill Saulnier were in that city wrapping up a Canadian selection camp April 21 when the premier pulled the plug on the championship.

"As soon as we found out about the cancellations in May, it was kind of a turning point for me," Turnbull said Friday in Calgary.

"At that point, I just wanted to play hockey and I didn't really care about where it was going to be played anymore."

Hockey Canada relocated and rescheduled the tournament to Calgary in August in order to have a women's world hockey championship this year.

"It was still quite disappointing as I haven't gotten the chance to play in my home province with the national team," Turnbull said.

"It would have been really special, but nonetheless we're here in Calgary and it still feels pretty amazing."

WATCH | Canada rolls past U.S. to remain perfect at women's hockey worlds:

Canada stays perfect at women's hockey worlds with dominating win over U.S.

2 months ago
Jamie Lee Rattray scores twice as Canada defeats the United States 5-1 at the women's world hockey championship and finishes first in Pool A with a 4-0 record. 1:02

Turnbull is one of the alternate captains on the Canadian team facing Germany in Saturday's quarter-final. The semifinals are Monday followed by the medal games Tuesday.

Hockey Canada didn't provide an update Friday on Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who took a hard shot in the upper chest in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Switzerland.

She didn't play Thursday in Canada's 5-1 victory over the United States. Canada topped Pool A with a 4-0 record.

Canada blanked Germany 5-0 in a quarter-final in 2019, when the world championship field was expanded from eight countries to 10.

Turnbull checks Switzerland's Lena Marie Lutz during Canada's 5-0 victory on Tuesday. (The Canadian Press)

Russia faces Switzerland in Saturday's first quarter-final, followed by the United States versus Japan, Canada's game against Germany and Finland meeting the Czech Republic to cap the round.

The quarter-final losers compete in placement games Sunday to determine pool seeding for the next world championship.

Canada outshot its opposition 196-53 and outscored it 20-5 over four games in the preliminary round.

The Canadians have yet to score a power-play goal in the tournament, and have given up two the 16 times they were short-handed.

Turnbull created fundraiser after Nova Scotia attacks

Turnbull's emotional ties to Nova Scotia made her want to do something to help after a gunman murdered 22 people there April 18-19, 2020, in one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.

Seeing other fundraisers start up and knowing what it felt like to lose a parent at a young age — her mother Margie died of cancer when she was a teenager — Turnbull started one of her own.

Turnbull raised over $20,000 in just one week with her "Hope For Home Helmet Sticker" campaign, and distributed funds among children who lost parents or a parent in the tragedy.

Designed by Karley Gittens, who is Canadian teammate Victoria Bach's aunt, the stickers were produced in New Glasgow, N.S.

The money went to cover registration or equipment fees for sport, music and other activities.

Turnbull wanted to meet recipients in person, but distributed the money via mail because of Nova Scotia's travel restrictions.

Turnbull says "25 or 26" children received funds.

"More than I expected," the 28-year-old said Friday. "I wasn't able to see people face to face, but I was still able to have a bit of an impact on them. They certainly had one on me too."

WATCH | Spooner scores twice in Canada's victory over Switzerland:

Spooner pots two in Canada's 5-0 shutout over Switzerland

2 months ago
Canada recorded an impressive 62 shots en route to a 5-0 win over the Swiss. 2:12

Turnbull is a member of the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA), which is working toward a sustainable women's pro league.

The PWHPA's announcement this week that a two-day showcase is scheduled Nov. 12-13 for Truro pleases her, even though she won't be able to participate.

Turnbull is among 29 players centralized in Calgary this winter to try out for the 2022 Olympic team and prepare for February's Winter Games in Beijing.

"I hope the PWHPA players put on a show and show everybody in Nova Scotia what it's all about, and we can gain some more momentum out east, and continue to push for a league," Turnbull said.

"I'll do my best to try to get as many people out as I know from home in those seats at that rink. Sad to be missing the games myself, but obviously really happy with the circumstances that I'm in too."

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?