Having quietly established herself as a superlative offensive playmaker, the recognition of Rebecca Vint resulted with a well-deserved spot among the competitors at the 3rd CWHL All-Star Game. Measuring in the six-foot range, Vint’s on-ice presence and smooth scoring touch are reminiscent of another towering competitor that once donned the Thunder colors; Gillian Apps.
During her remarkable rookie season, Vint emerged as one of the best picks from the 2015 CWHL Draft class. As a third-round pick, VInt not only emerged as one of the top 20 scorers in the race for the Angela James Bowl, her efforts were a contributing factor towards the Thunder returning to the postseason. Fittingly, her inaugural season culminated as a finalist for the CWHL’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Despite a minor setback attributed to injuries, Vint has not shown any signs of a sophomore slump. Building on the momentum of her strong rookie season, Vint was back among the league’s top 20 scorers, while ranking second on the club in power play goals. Perhaps the most underrated player in the league, Vint is almost a point-a-game player, bringing solid consistency to a team on the rise.
With an impressive offensive attack that features Jess Jones, the co-winner of the 2017 Angela James Bowl and scoring sensation Jamie Lee Rattray, she is a great complement to such forwards. Gaining the privilege of being named to the All-Star Game for the first time in her promising career represents a significant milestone that signifies her arrival as one of the league’s elite scorers.
“I was so excited to hear that I was named for the CWHL All-Star Game. I have had a bit of a tough season injury wise, but it is an honour to be recognized as one of the top players in the league and to be able to play alongside the top players in the league.”
Among the eight members of the Thunder that gained such recognition, she was joined by 2016 first round pick Laura Stacey, who finished second on the club in scoring, as a first-time honoree. Gracing the ice at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (ACC), host site for the All-Star Game, it was an experience that shall serve as one of the defining moments in her hockey career.
Like so many of the other wondrous women that compete in the CWHL, Vint was raised in the Greater Toronto Area, providing a seemingly endless wellspring of hockey talent. Having spent many memorable moments in her youth as a fan in the ACC’s rafters, it cultivated her love of sport, enabling her to dream of greatness.
Getting the opportunity to actually be on the fabled ice of the ACC, it was an experience that Vint absorbed with awe and amazement. Along with jubilant family among the 8,000-plus in attendance for the third CWHL All-Star Game, it only enhanced an amazing day that Vint shall cherish for the remainder of her athletic endeavors.
“Oh, it was amazing!! Growing up not too far North of Toronto, in Bolton, I have been lucky enough to catch a couple games at the ACC – both the Leafs and the Rock (lacrosse).
It is one thing showing up to watch, but showing up to play was a whole new ball game. The initial skate out at warm up, catching a glimpse at what the NHL’ers see, taking it all in – those are some memories I will forever cherish. It was awesome and such an amazing experience!”
Together, Stacey and Vint, both solid cornerstones for the Thunder’s future, would don the Team White jerseys, playing on a line with Winter Games hero Marie-Philip Poulin. They were joined on the Team White roster by Thunder teammates Jess Jones, who would be one of two players to score a hat trick on this day, along with Laura Fortino, who finished her third CWHL season as the scoring leader among blueliners.
The remaining Thunder All-Stars, Courtney Birchard, goaltender Erica Howe, team captain Jocelyne Larocque, and team scoring leader Jamie Lee Rattray were part of Team Blue.
All Thunder players on Team White registered at least one point in what emerged as the highest scoring total in All-Star Game history, a 9-5 triumph over the Blues. Undoubtedly, the opportunity for Stacey and Vint to log their first career All-Star points represented a significant career milestone.
Both would be credited with the assists on a third period goal by Marie-Philip Poulin. Although there was a slight tinge of irony that Poulin scored on Howe, said goal would stand as the game-winning tally, enhancing an already unforgettable experience.
“Well that was just a bonus on top of the entire experience! I had so much fun with all the girls (that) I was so lucky enough to play with, that points was not something on my mind that day. Yet, it was definitely an unreal feeling hearing my name announced through the jumbotron to 8,000 + fans. I was not as lucky as Jess Jones to get a hatty, but hey! I will take what I can get.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Jess Bazal