Marvelously balancing coaching and competition, Laura McIntosh is adding a new chapter to her proud hokey career, as her impact as a rising star in the coaching ranks only continues to grow. In addition to competing with the Brampton Thunder, McIntosh is also part of the coaching staff for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in Canadian Interuniversity Sport play.
Bringing strong consistency to the rink, as both a great teammate with a smooth scoring touch, and in a coaching role, eager to share her skills and bring improvement to her players, it is an amalgam of McIntosh’s already strong teamwork skills. Employing such a strong work ethic, she sets a powerful example that all players can follow.
An alumnus of the Canadian national team, where she played at both the U18 and U22/Development levels, McIntosh brought a highly experienced presence to the Brampton Thunder this season. Despite seeing limited playing time in the 2014-15 campaign, her talent and leadership were crucial for a squad that qualified for a playoff berth, its first since 2013.
Showing strong motivation, McIntosh assembled another solid season during 2015-16. Donning number 17, her best performance took place on November 29, 2015 with a two-assist performance against the Calgary Inferno. Overall, the Thunder enjoyed a 4-3-0 when she logged at least one point. In reflecting on what motivated her to come back and take on a bigger role this season, the coaching experience only strengthened her love of the game,
“I was motivated to come back and play in the CWHL this season because since I have been around hockey so much with coaching and skill development; it really made me miss playing at a high level. I spoke with a few friends on the team as well as Coach Tyler and there was really no way I could turn it down. I am very passionate about the game and love playing alongside these teammates.”
Part of the historic 2012 CWHL Draft class, McIntosh had a very impressive rookie campaign, ranking among more than just the highest scoring rookies in the league, but among the top 20 in the race for the Angela James Bowl. Although McIntosh was not part of the roster during the 2013-14 season, likely due to her coaching commitments, her absence was profound, as the Thunder struggled to score and endured its first-ever finish at the bottom of the league standing, an historic first in franchise history.
During her time with the Laurier Golden Hawks, McIntosh has only seen her already superlative leadership skills improve, while bringing an entire new perspective to the game. Always eager to learn and enhance her knowledge of the game, she could not have asked for a better mentor than Golden Hawks bench boss Rick Osborne.
One of the most accomplished coaches in the history of OUA hockey, the list of star players that have competed for him reads like a who’s who of hockey, including current Thunder player, goaltender Liz Knox, a former recipient of the Brodrick Trophy. During McIntosh’s time there, she has also enjoyed the privilege of mentoring some exceptional players. Among them was Devon Skeats, who would not only win a scoring title in Europe, but would become the first Canadian to score a goal in the history of the NWHL All-Star Game.
There is no question that there will be many more future stars who shall benefit from McIntosh’s tutelage. In addition, McIntosh has shown an entrepreneurial spirit, broadening her career while enhancing her overall awareness and already impressive knowledge of the game. The founder of LMcIntosh Hockey, she has shown a strong commitment to developing female hockey through coaching, consulting and advising, all aspects that can increase any young player’s confidence.
“I am in my third year as an assistant coach with Wilfrid Laurier University and it really has been a great experience. I feel that I have developed as a coach over the years and I have been able to really focus in on details that maybe I did not as a player.
I have learned what happens behind the scenes that players don’t think about. The Laurier team is full of great student-athletes and it is a pleasure to coach them. I have learned a lot from Rick Osborne, the head coach who has had a long and very successful coaching career.”
In March 2015, McIntosh would lace her skates for the Thunder in a game that would prove to be among the most fun in her entire career. Skating against a group of NHL alumni, led by head coach Walter Gretzky, part of an admirable fundraiser for Special Olympics, she was reunited with a former teammate and a cherished friend.
Having played together on Canada’s U18 national team, a highly dominant Team Ontario roster at the Canada Winter Games (McIntosh also played in softball at the Canada Summer Games), along with four fabulous years at Ohio State University, where she graduated as the all-time leading scorer, many of her greatest hockey glories are eternally linked with Natalie Spooner. Although Spooner may be one of the most notable names in hockey, the two were selected by opposing teams in the 2012 CWHL Draft.
While McIntosh suited up for the Thunder, Spooner became part of the rival Toronto Furies, competing against each other in the third place game at the 2013 Clarkson Cup. After so many seasons apart, the March 2015 fundraiser presented a unique moment in Thunder history.
For this one game, Spooner and fellow Furies teammate Kelly Terry were members of the Thunder’s roster, competing against the NHL alums. It also signified the fourth different level of play in which McIntosh and Spooner were teammates, rekindling the magic that made them two of the greatest players in Ohio State history. In reflecting on the chance to play alongside Spooner for one remarkable game, both members of the Thunder, it was the unification of divergent paths, providing a strong yet proud connection to a glorious past,
“It was really great to call Spoons a teammate again. I must say, I would much rather play with her than against her. It is really exciting to see how much she has developed as a player since playing with her at The Ohio State. When we were at school I thought she was as fast, as strong, and as skilled as she could be. She has proved me wrong and it is fun to watch her excel in this sport.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
To learn more about LMcIntosh Hockey, please visit: http://www.lmcintoshhockey.com/home.html
Follow Laura McIntosh on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/lauramcintosh11
Photo credit: Jess Bazal