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Saanichton's Zandee-Hart basks in glow of the golden double

Blue-liner wins world championship gold
Micah Zandee-Hart, right, and teammate Erin Ambrose celebrate with the trophy after Canada’s world championship win over the U.S. in Denmark. HOCKEY CANADA

Team Canada blue-liner Micah Zandee-Hart of Saanichton, who completed the golden double of the Olympic and world titles in the same year, has become an inspiration to the upcoming generation of B.C. girls’ ice-hockey players.

With Canada’s five gold medals in women’s Olympic hockey, it is perhaps a surprise that Zandee-Hart at Beijing 2022 became the first B.C.-born player to reach the top of the Winter Games podium.

B.C. Hockey CEO Cam Hope of Victoria, following the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, described Zandee-Hart as the “tip of the spear.”

Indeed, Zandee-Hart was joined on Canada’s world championship team over the weekend in Denmark by forward Sarah Potomak of Aldergrove.

“We began playing together 10 years ago, and are both passionate about the game, and to win a world title with Sarah was truly special,” said Peninsula Eagles youth hockey association graduate Zandee-Hart.

Zandee-Hart takes her ­position as a B.C. role model seriously and will address the Victoria Reign girls’ youth teams next Tuesday at the Spectrum Community School theatre.

“I love doing that because we all have stories and it’s important to share those stories with the next generation,” said Zandee-Hart, 25.

“Not everyone’s path is the same. It’s important for young players to understand that and to help them along their journey. To be able to mentor young players on the Island, where I grew up, means the world to me.”

The return from the worlds this week was more muted than the joyous and noisy scenes of Zandee-Hart’s homecoming from Beijing in February at Victoria International Airport — the Olympics having far more cultural glitter than the world championships — it was still deeply satisfying.

“It really hasn’t sunk in, yet,” said Zandee-Hart, of her double-golden year.

“The feeling of being on the blue line and singing O Canada never gets old.”

Keeping a steely, but carefully managed, focus on both tournaments was the key to Canada’s success this year, said Zandee-Hart.

“It was about our culture off the ice,” she noted.

“We took a break after the Olympics to get away from the game for a bit and came back rejuvenated and re-energized for the world championships. We stuck to our game and our habits and team identity and trusted in the process and stuck to what we know.”

While women’s hockey, at least in North America, is thriving internationally with a steady diet of Canada versus U.S. finals in the Olympics and world championships, there is a glaring gap at the pro club level.

“It’s huge because you miss the consistency of game play without it,” said Zandee-Hart.

More Rivalry Series games are planned between the Canadian and U.S. national teams, but they can’t provide the regularity of league play at the pro club level.

“Practising and training is great, but it doesn’t fill the need for consistent game play,” said Zandee-Hart, who hopes to join the fledgling ­Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ ­Association.

“We want to see the women’s game continue to grow.”

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