Road To The Olympic Games

Hockey

The descendant: Laura Stacey comes from hockey royalty

She never met her famous great-grandfather, but Laura Stacey is playing up to the standard King Clancy set during his Hall of Fame hockey career.

King Clancy's great-granddaughter making an impact on Canadian women's team

Laura Stacey hopes to play up to the lofty standard set by her Hall of Fame great-grandfather, King Clancy. (Kevin Light Photography/CBC)

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Laura Stacey never met her famous great-grandfather. But she sure hopes she can learn from his legend.

According to Francis "King" Clancy's bio on the Hockey Hall of Fame's website, he was a tremendous competitor whose immense contributions on the ice were equalled by his extraordinarily effusive personality off of it during his lifelong association with the game.

Clancy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1958.

"Growing up with a role model like him to look up to definitely gives you motivation," says the 23-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native. "I want to continue his legacy."

Stacey can help her cause by making the Canadian women's Olympic hockey team. The slick right-winger is one of 28 players trying out for Team Canada and competing in the Four Nations Cup in Florida.

Canada, which lost 4-2 to the United States in its second game of the tournament Wednesday after opening with a 9-0 victory against Sweden the night before, next plays Finland on Friday afternoon.

Stacey is determined to make it on her own, but admits having hockey blood running through her veins doesn't hurt.

King Clancy, a small but fierce defenceman, won three Stanley Cups as a player (1923, 1927, 1932) and three more as an assistant manager-coach (1962, 1964, 1967). He was twice named a first-team NHL all-star. He passed away at age 84 in 1986. His son and Stacey's uncle, Terry Clancy, played for the Canadian men's hockey team at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

"I think now that I have gotten to this level, the story of my great-grandfather has grown and I definitely wanted to get to know him more in a sense," Stacey says. "You can Google his information, but I wanted to know more about him. I have done more research and I don't know if my hockey abilities come from him, but I do know the passion and love of the game that was most likely in him, has been instilled in me."

Stacey possesses the speed and power to be "unstoppable," as one of her teammates puts it. (Kevin Light Photography/CBC)

Size and speed

Stacey, who had a goal and an assist in three games at last year's Four Nations Cup, is coming off a strong season with the Brampton Thunder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League in which she scored 10 goals and had 24 points in 20 games.

King Clancy, shown here circa 1960, won three Stanley Cups as a player. (B. Bennett/Getty Images)

"It was an awesome experience playing in the CWHL and I'm looking forward to carrying that momentum and the fun I had last season into this season," Stacey says. "I definitely try to get on the score sheet if I can, but I think I'm a strong power forward. I don't know if I put the puck in the net that much, but I definitely try to create offence if I can."

At 5-foot-10 and 143 pounds, Stacey has the physical ability to be a dominant offensive player for Team Canada.

"I'm a rookie and I definitely need to act like one and fill that role, but I think I also need to play with confidence and show them as best I can what type of a player I am," Stacey says. "They chose all of us to be here for a reason and if we can exemplify our skill set and be who we are, that is why we are here."

Team Canada veteran Natalie Spooner believes Stacey is hitting her stride and has the potential to be an impact player soon. Spooner said Stacey is one of the fastest players in the world.

"She is a big body out there and she has so much speed," Spooner says. "She is fun to watch. She hasn't been at the senior level for that long yet, and just to see how much she has grown in the past three years is huge. When she gets her confidence to use her speed and drive to the net I think she can be unstoppable."

Family ties

Team Canada coach Laura Schuler believes Stacey is on the verge of being an impact player.

"She is a big, strong power forward," Schuler says. "Her size and strength are something that, next to Jennifer Wakefield, we don't have. So when she is in the lineup she is able to put pressure on opponents for us."

Stacey doesn't go around tooting her horn that she is the great-granddaughter of an NHL legend. But she cherishes the relationship.

"People in my generation don't necessarily know who he is," Stacey says. "They might have heard of him. I don't tell people my age or my friends because not everybody knows about him. People who are older than me are always shocked when I tell them who my great-grandfather was.

"I never met him. I have heard a ton of stories about him, though."

About the Author

Veteran journalist Mike Brophy has been covering hockey since 1977. A self-professed junior hockey junkie, he has covered the Petes for 14 season before departing to become the senior writer at The Hockey News and held that position for 17 years. Brophy has written five books including his latest, Unbreakable, 50 Goals In 39 Games – the story of Wayne Gretzky’s greatest record.

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