Part of a remarkable rookie crop from the defending Clarkson Cup champion Calgary Inferno, which also features Iya Gavrilova and Emerance Maschmeyer, blueliner Katelyn Gosling is proving to be more than just a significant part of the franchise’s future. She is quickly emerging as one of the league’s most promising stars at the blueline position, which is highlighted by her selection to the third CWHL All-Star Game at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (ACC).
Combining a fundamentally sound game on defense, along with the proficiency for offensive flair, Gosling logged at least one point in 10 regular season games, while logging a respectable plus/minus rating of +16. Showing highly disciplined play by compiling merely four penalty minutes, it was a trend that continued in the postseason, as she did not spend one minute in the penalty box during the series against the Toronto Furies.
Making her regular season debut on October 9, which also kicked off the CWHL’s 10th Anniversary season, she would log an assist for her first point as a member of the Inferno. Such a solid performance continued as she assembled a solid three game scoring streak to launch her professional career.
Gaining the opportunity to participate in the third CWHL All-Star Game only added luster to an already sterling season which also saw Gosling add several international achievements. Among over a dozen CWHL stars that suited up for Canada’s U22 roster at the Nations Cup in Fussen, Germany, she would follow it up with the prestige of serving as Canada’s captain at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Kazakhstan. Emerging with a silver medal in both events, the return to home soil brought with it an exceptional realization.
Having skated prior to the holiday break with the Inferno at Montreal’s Bell Centre, home of the NHL’s Canadiens, the chance to be on NHL ice for the second time brought with it significant emotion. Gaining the chance to skate at the ACC, it brought part of Gosling’s hockey odyssey full circle.
Raised in London, Ontario, she would compete with the PWHL’s London Devilettes and earn All-Canadian status while helping the local University of Western Ontario Mustangs capture a Golden Path Trophy at the CIS Nationals, simultaneously calling her sister Kassidy a teammate. Undoubtedly, the Toronto Maple Leafs was a significant hockey influence during her youth, representing some of her earliest connections to the game.
While the chance for accomplished women to skate at the ACC represents a significant quantum leap for the growing impact of the women’s game, it brought with it a more profound impact for Gosling. Having never visited the ACC prior, it was an opportunity for Gosling to connect with the heroes of her youth, while simultaneously taking on the same role for the enthusiastic youngsters in the stands. Indeed, her inaugural visit to the ACC, complemented by the chance to compete in front of a national television audience, was one that shall provide an eternity of pleasant reminiscing,
“Since I grew up as a hockey fan living in Ontario, the Toronto Maple Leafs was definitely a team that I looked up to and watched constantly. Surprisingly, being at the CWHL All-Star game was the first opportunity I had to go into the ACC arena. Being able to skate on the same ice that many great hockey players have played on was an incredible honour that is hard to put into words.”
Among 11 rookies that competed in the All-Star Game, a league record, Gosling was also one of seven members of the Inferno that graced the ice. As a side note, she was also the only participant whose collegiate background involved performing at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level.
Skating with Team Blue, Gosling was joined by a vast majority of the Inferno’s All-Stars. In the company of a trio of Winter Games gold medalists, including Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner and Meaghan Mikkelson serving as co-captain (the first team in CWHL All-Star history that one team had two captains), she was also joined by fellow Inferno rookie Emerance Maschmeyer, who gained the start between the pipes.
The two remaining Inferno All-Stars, Rebecca Johnston and Jillian Saulnier, became members of Team White, yielding phenomenal dividends. Playing on the opposing blueline, it definitely brought unique perspective on the game for Gosling. Combining for eight points between them, the two were offensive juggernauts, as Team White vanquished the Blues in a 9-5 final.
Despite the loss, Gosling definitely found a whole new appreciation and admiration for the efforts of the Inferno skaters that brought Team White the historic win, an experience that was likely shared by many other participating rookies at the event, who also had to endure a similar predicament.
“It was, for sure, a different feeling and weird seeing them on the opposing team. Yet, I can say (that) I honestly love having them on my team year round, because they are incredibly hard players to play against.”
Following the event, the group remained unified in an effort to bring Calgary its second straight Clarkson Cup, starting on an encouraging note by clinching the Chairman’s Trophy for the first time in franchise history.
With Saulnier and Brampton’s Jess Jones both scoring hat tricks on this day, complemented by a CWHL attendance record, Gosling gained the opportunity to be part of a remarkable chapter in Canadian hockey history, helping to define her inaugural sojourn in the CWHL.
Holding great potential to become a defensive mainstay in this event for several seasons to come, Gosling affably looks back on the event beyond any personal high points. Amiably acknowledging the efforts of the league in helping make this event a significant part of the hockey calendar, the real attainment realized on this day was the chance to celebrate the game while being part of a collective gathering of some of the greatest players in the game today.
“I am thankful for the CWHL for putting on such an incredible event that I was lucky enough to be a part of. Being able to play alongside and against the best players in the CWHL will always be a highlight of mine (when) looking back on the event.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Dave Holland