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By Dan Plouffe, originally published Aug. 25 in Ottawa This Week
It’s an opportunity any player treasures, but for Ottawa Senators women’s hockey players Cydney Roesler and Morgan Richardson, competing for Team Canada this past weekend during an exhibition series in Rockland was all the more special because they got to wear the maple leaf together.
“We go through everything together,” notes Stittsville’s Roesler, who’s headed into Grade 12 at South Carleton High School. “To make the team, first of all, it’s truly an honour. And then to have your best friend by your side through the whole process, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The 17-year-olds have been teammates for four years with the Kanata-based Senators. It was the second season Roesler got to dress for the Canadian women’s under-18 team after winning a silver medal at last year’s U18 worlds.
Richardson, meanwhile, tapped into Roesler’s experience as best she could right from the first fitness testing session to make the most of her first tryout with Team Canada.
“It really helped me along the way to know exactly what I needed to do to make this team,” explains Richardson, a Nepean resident who attends Ashbury College. “It’s unbelievable to play with people from everywhere across the country – people you play against and then all of a sudden they’re your teammate and your friend.”
Roesler and Richardson were frequently paired together during Canada’s three-game series against USA’s U18 team at the new Canadian International Hockey Academy east of Ottawa.
Neither local defender scored points in Canada’s 3-2 opening loss, 3-2 win in the second game or the come-from-behind 6-4 rubber-match victory, but the experience and training they gained from playing with Team Canada will be invaluable, says the girls’ coach with the Ottawa Senators, Luke Richardson.
“It’s great to have two of our defence out there. It’s great experience and great exposure for them,” notes the former NHLer. “It’s a whole new level. There’s great pride that you take always when you play, but even moreso when you wear the Canadian shirt.”
Richardson’s scouting report identifies Roesler as a “dominant all-around player” thanks to her leadership qualities, a hard shot, and strong physical presence helped by her boys’ hockey background, while his daughter is very solid defensively and also strong physically – much like her father.
“They feed off each other,” Richardson adds. “They’re both driven players, and I think that’s the best thing about them playing together.”
Richardson enjoyed a break from his drill sergeant duties to simply sit in the stands at the exhibition series – clad in his own U18 Team Canada jersey that he dug out of the basement for the occasion – and savour a landmark moment in his daughter’s career.
“It’s really fun to watch her play,” smiles Richardson, adding he’s very proud as a parent to see all Morgan’s accomplished as a player and a person this year. “There’s some jitters playing here close to her hometown. She probably has more people here watching her than anyone else.”
Roesler and Richardson will return to their Senators Provincial Women’s Hockey League team this fall and then keep their fingers crossed that they’ll get the call to play in January’s U18 women’s worlds in Czech Republic.
“We definitely both want to go to the world championships,” emphasizes Roesler. “We’re both going to keep working hard for what we want with our club team and just hope for the best.”
View the Ottawa This Week newspaper print version of this story at http://issuu.com/ottawathisweeknepean/docs/otwn_25aug2011/search?q=richardson .