As the Toronto Furies head into their fifth anniversary season, the Zamora sisters, Kelly and Kristy have quietly built a strong legacy with the franchise. During a memorable 2013-14 season that saw things culminate with a Clarkson Cup championship, the Zamora sisters helped contribute to the glorious chapter.
During a milestone filled season that saw Sami Jo Small become the first goaltender to reach 60 wins, Meagan Aarts attaining 100 career points, and Sommer West winning the Coach of the Year Award, there were some other notable milestones. Of note, Kelly Zamora entered the season as the league’s all-time leader in games played with 157, four better than the recently retired Lori Dupuis.
In addition, older sister Kristy Zamora (who turned 36 in August) was tied for fourth all-time with the aforementioned Aarts with 148 career games played. The two would become the fourth and fifth players in CWHL history to reach the 150 games milestone. Of note, Zamora would reach the milestone on November 16, 2013. By season’s end, Zamora and Aarts, along with CWHL co-founder Liz Breton would surpass Dupuis on the all-time games played list.
Statistically, Kristy Zamora’s best performance was a two-point output against Brampton on March 9, 2014. She would finish the regular season with seven points and a +4 rating. Kelly, who turns 32 in December, accumulated four points and a +5 rating with only eight penalty minutes, testament to a disciplined game.
Perhaps more impressive was the fact that Kelly finished the season by becoming the first player to appear in 175 CWHL regular season games. The milestone game would come on March 16, 2014 in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Blades. Ironically, Toronto would defeat Boston in overtime to win the Clarkson Cup a few days later. Kristy would finish with 171 career games while Aarts completed her milestone season with 169 games played.
Despite such remarkable regular season accomplishments, the postseason exceeded all expectations. With a championship having eluded them in their collegiate and professional careers, the elusive dream would come true in true Cinderella fashion.
Competing against the defending Clarkson Cup champion Boston Blades, the involvement of the Zamora sisters provided some unique coincidences. Blades head coach Digit Murphy provided tutelage for Kristy more than a decade ago as the head coach at Brown University.
Helping the Brown Bears advance to the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four title game, Kristy became the first (and only) player from a losing team to earn Most Outstanding Player honors at the Frozen Four. Playing against one of her mentors for the hallowed Cup must have been a bittersweet experience for her.
Having played for the now defunct program at Wayne State University in Detroit, Kelly shared a unique thread with Furies star rookie Alyssa Baldin. As the last captain in Wayne State history, Baldin’s arrival brought Zamora’s career full circle, bridging the two generations of Wayne State hockey. Being able to win the Cup together was a moment of redemption and validation for all Wayne State hockey alumnae.
For Kristy and Kelly, the Cup win also made them the first pair of Canadian- born sisters to hoist the coveted Cup. Back in 2010, American-born Chelsey and Winny Brodt became the first sisters to capture the Cup, doing so with the Minnesota Whitecaps.
Of all the seasons that the two have competed together with the Toronto Furies, the preceding season may have been their most memorable. The most successful pair of sisters to compete in the CWHL, Kristy and Kelly Zamora has left an indelible mark in the league’s earliest years.
While other pairs of sisters will one day follow to grace CWHL ice, the Zamora sisters were among a group of hockey pioneers that helped break barriers. Definitely the first great pair of sisters to play CWHL hockey, they have set a golden standard by which other sisters shall be compared in the seasons to come.
Photo credits: Jess Desjardins and Heather Pollock