Selected second overall by the Toronto Furies in the 2014 edition of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft, Megan Bozek has the potential to continue a unique hockey tradition. Following in the legacies of Cammi Granato (Vancouver Griffins), Mandy Cronin, Kathleen Kauth and Molly Engstrom (Brampton Thunder), along with Lexie Hoffmeyer (Furies) and Julie Chu (Montreal Stars), the Illinois-born Bozek has the opportunity to be part of a unique hockey sorority.
Very few American-born women’s hockey players have had the chance to be a hockey hero on both sides of the border. The result has always been one where new fans are gained, while a newfound respect by Canadian fans makes playing north of the border even more rewarding.
While the outcome of the Sochi Winter Games has intensified the rivalry between Canada and the United States, the presence of American-born players in the CWHL only helps to build admiration among the fans, appreciating their love for the game. This autumn, Toronto hockey fans will get the opportunity to witness the world-class hockey skills of blueliner Bozek, a winner on and off the ice.
Considering that Furies players have engaged in such charitable endeavors as Hockey Helps the Homeless and the Furious Hockey Tournament, they have gained a remarkable hockey humanitarian in Bozek. She has volunteered hundreds of hours for groups such as Feed My Starving Children, Amplatz Children’s Hospital and HopeKids.
As a side note, Bozek also holds the rare distinction of having thrown the ceremonial first pitch in baseball twice in the same season. In 2013, she threw the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game on April 16. On May 11, she was invited by the Chicago White Sox to throw the first pitch at their game.
Considering that Brampton selected blueliner Laura Fortino, it was a statement that the club was ready to renew rivalries in the “Battle of Toronto” with the Furies. Countering with Bozek, the Furies are not ready to relinquish their status as the best team in Toronto just yet.
For a Furies team looking to win its second consecutive Clarkson Cup title, Bozek, who helped the Minnesota Golden Gophers to an undefeated season in 2012-13, including the NCAA Frozen Four, understands the pressure that comes with winning, and how to excel. With a Furies defense that includes Tessa Bonhomme (whom Bozek played against at the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds) and Britni Smith, the addition of Bozek is a solid one.
Of note, Bozek is not the only player from the American Midwest with a connection to Toronto. Wisconsin-born Phil Kessel, whose sister Amanda played with Bozek on the Golden Gophers and at Sochi, is one of the most productive players on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Almost a decade ago, John Pohl, whose wife is former US Olympic captain Krissy Wendell, competed with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies franchise. Taking into account that Amanda Kessel is eligible for the 2015 CWHL Draft, Furies fans are already salivating at the idea that Bozek and Kessel could be reunited in Toronto.
For now, Bozek is an exceptional acquisition that adds an exciting new dimension to the blue and white’s blueline corps. While playing with Canadian rivals such as Bonhomme, Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner and Jenn Wakefield may present an adjustment, there is no question that the Furies and their fans are excited to have Bozek on their side.