Heading into the 2015 IIHF Women’s Worlds, Sarah Davis was the feel-good story of the Canadian team. Having established herself as the first women’s ice hockey superstar to hail from the province of Newfoundland, a sullen silver medal from 2015 cannot take away from the historic milestones that have defined an already distinguished career.
After a successful rookie campaign with the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which also saw her play in the league’s inaugural All-Star Game, the native of Paradise, Newfoundland was named to the Canadian roster after participating in the Clarkson Cup playoffs. Not only does this establish her as the first player from Newfoundland to be part of Canada’s roster at the IIHF Women’s Worlds, it is an extension of an already sterling career with Hockey Canada.
Of note, Davis is the first woman from Newfoundland to compete with Canada at the Under-18, Under-22/Development and Senior levels. Her first experience with Canada came in 2010 when she was part of the first Canadian squad to capture gold in the history of the IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds. As a side note, two of her teammates from that 2010 team, Jamie Lee Rattray, Jillian Saulnier and Kelly Terry were also teammates with Davis at the 2015 IIHF Worlds.
As gratifying as the gold medal might have been, Davis would also earn cardboard immortality, becoming the first female player from Newfoundland to be featured on a hockey card. All members of the 2010 U18 team were featured on hockey cards issued by Upper Deck in 2011 as part of its World of Sport series.
Although Davis also grabbed bronze with Canada’s Under-22/Development Team at the 2011 Meco Cup, the chance to compete in Malmo, Sweden would provide Davis with the chance to play for one of the ultimate prizes in women’s hockey, IIHF World Championship gold. Making her debut with Canada on March 28 against the United States, Davis would see ice-time in every game.
To be able to win gold at the World Championship level would have represented a third gold medal for Davis (who also won gold at the 2014 Four Nations Cup), but it was not meant to be. Joined by a group of other players that graduated from Canada’s U18 and/or U22 systems (Jessica Campbell, Emily Clark, Ann-Renee Desbiens, Halli Krzyzaniak, Emerance Maschmeyer, Kelly Terry), they were making their IIHF World Championship debuts for Canada in Malmo.
With the start of the third period of the championship game representing a 5-5 tie, fans in Newfoundland and the rest of Canada, were hoping for a repeat of the heroics in Sochi, which would have also made Davis the first female from Newfoundland to earn IIHF gold. As the US scored twice, forcing Davis to settle for silver, the learning experience obtained is one that shall only provide more motivation for Davis.
Her legacy as the first female hockey star from Newfoundland can never be extinguished. More importantly, her past performances (which also included an undefeated season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2012-13) show to young hockey playing girls in Newfoundland that the path to the Canadian national team is a possible one.
The inspiration that Davis provided in her journey towards Malmo represents a far greater victory that shall likely be part of Newfoundland hockey lore for generations to come. Considering that the 2016 edition of the IIHF Women’s Worlds shall be held on home soil in Kamloops, British Columbia, it would make for a fitting place to have Davis grab her first IIHF World Gold, while continuing to instill confidence for the Atlantic youngsters hoping to one day emulate her glories.