An unlikely hockey hero heading into the 2015 Clarkson Cup, Janine Weber would shock the hockey world as she scored the overtime-winning goal to clinch the Clarkson Cup for the Boston Blades. As it marked the second consecutive time that the Blades were competing in overtime, the black and gold were hoping for a better outcome than in 2014. With assists from Tara Watchorn, the winner of the 2015 CHWL Defenceman of the Year Award and former NCAA teammate Corinne Buie, Weber beat Charline Labonte at 2:12 in overtime to claim the hallowed title.
Selected 41st overall in the 2014 edition of the CWHL Draft (while Buie was taken 55th), she made her CWHL debut on November 15, scoring a goal against Furies netminder Christina Kessler in a 6-2 win. Ironically, Buie also earned the assist on Weber’s first-ever CWHL goal.
Logging a point in six of the 17 regular season games that she appeared in, the Blades would go 6-0-0 during such games. Of note, Weber’s best performance in the regular season was a two-point effort against the Brampton Thunder on January 17 (which was also Brianna Decker’s CWHL debut).
Her heroics are akin to other sporting unknowns who would become heroes on their respective sports biggest stage. From James (Dusty) Rhodes hitting two game winning home runs in the 1954 World Series to Keith Smart getting the game-winning basket for Indiana in the 1987 NCAA Final Four, or the likes of James “Buster” Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson to Dexter Jackson making two interceptions in Super Bowl XXXVII, sometimes it is the unlikeliest of athletes who make sporting history.
On March 7, 2015, Weber had the chance to make her own history, earning a place in Boston Blades and CWHL lore. Playing on the third line, composed of fellow Blades rookies such as Buie and Jordan Smelker, Weber also logged a two-goal performance in a March 5 playoff game that eliminated the Furies.
In a time-span of only 2:55 during the second period, she scored twice on Furies netminder Christina Kessler to provide the Blades with a 5-2 lead. As the Blades prevailed by a 7-3 win, Weber’s first goal (which had made the score 4-2) stood as the game-winning tally.
Like so many members of the Blades, her road to the black and gold came via NCAA hockey in New England. During the 2013-14 campaign, Weber suited up for the Providence Friars, recording 11 points in 35 games while pursuing graduate studies in education.
She would manage her own heroics for the Friars in the 19th Annual Mayors Cup (an event between Providence-based NCAA programs, the Brown Bears and the Friars) as she logged the game-winning goal in overtime. As a side note, she would log her first NCAA point in her Friars debut, registering an assist on October 4 against the Union Dutchwomen.
She joins the likes of other Friars such as the aforementioned Buie, Genevieve Lacasse and Cherie Hendrickson (whose father Paul was the first general manager in franchise history) who have earned Clarkson Cup wins with the Blades.
Perhaps more important, Weber’s performance provides encouragement for the growth of the women’s game in Europe. A 5’10” forward from Innsbruck, Austria, Weber is one of many Blades with international hockey experience. A former member of the EWHL’s Vienna Sabres, she has won a pair of EWHL titles with the club while registering an astounding 182 points in only 83 games with the Sabres.
Of note, she also suits up for the Austrian national women’s team, with four appearances in the IIHF Division IA Women’s World Championships. During the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds at the Division IA level, Weber claimed the scoring title with seven points in five games.
With the Blades win to add to her strong hockey resume, she also becomes only the second European-born player to win the Clarkson Cup, but the first to score the Cup-winning goal. Coincidentally, the first European player to capture the Cup also played for the Blades, as Katka Mrazova from the Czech Republic was a member of the Blades roster in 2013.
Image obtained from: https://twitter.com/j9weber15