Agosta’s arresting presence
Agosta’s arresting presence
2010 Olympic MVP excited for upcoming tourneys
“Ever since I was in high school, I always wanted to be a police officer,” Agosta told IIHF.com. “I went to Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania and I graduated with a criminal justice degree and a minor in criminalistics psychology. It was just a matter of when.”
That opportunity emerged for the decorated power forward after the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia when the Vancouver police department announced it was hiring. Becoming a constable required stepping away from the Canadian national team temporarily, and that wasn’t easy. The police training program took nine months.
“I think my biggest challenge was going to the general manager, Mel Davidson, and asking her for the year off,” Agosta said. “I wasn’t sure what she was going to say. But deep down, I think Hockey Canada knew that this was something I wanted to do. To be able to start my career, they were totally for it. They said: ‘Take the year off. Go to the police academy and when you’re done, just make sure you’re staying in the best shape you can.’”
Since Vancouver lacks a Canadian Women’s Hockey League franchise, the 170-cm, 60-kg veteran hones her skills against men when she’s not working 12-hour shifts on the police beat. Agosta practises with the Valley West Hawks of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League in Langley. She plays for the Vancouver Centurions, the Vancouver police hockey team. She runs a twice-weekly skills session at the University of British Columbia, the secondary hockey site of the 2010 Olympics. And she also skates at the Richmond Olympic Oval, the former long-track speed skating venue. ‘Busy’ is an understatement.
“I’m getting the ice I need and doing everything I can on my end,” Agosta said. “That said, my Canadian teammates are on the ice six days a week. They’re eating, breathing, sleeping and playing hockey. As a Vancouver police officer, I’m basically working, eating, and sleeping as much as I can. So it’s been challenging that way, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Agosta, who grew up in southwestern Ontario, fell in love with Western Canada’s biggest city during the 2010 Winter Games. She was named tournament MVP, a media all-star, and Best Forward with nine goals and six assists en route to a home-ice triumph.
“It didn’t matter whether you were in the Olympic Village or outside: the city was electric,” she recalled. “Whether you scored the first or the ninth goal in a game, it was crazy how people were cheering. They just did an overall fantastic job. Personally, for me, nothing will ever compare to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. To have my family and friends there, being in Canada, it was really tough for us. We had a lot of pressure, coming and playing on home soil. But the city and BC Hockey and the volunteers all played their part in helping to make our experience the best of the best.”
She was an ambassador for Vancouver and Victoria’s recent successful bid for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. As Agosta notes, this region has a solid track record of hosting international hockey events beyond the 2010 Olympics.
“They’ve taken on these big events like the World Juniors here in 2006, the Four Nations Cup in Kamloops in 2014 and the Women’s World Championship there last season,” Agosta said. “BC just knows how to do it. When I think of hockey, I think of Vancouver, BC, and I think it’s a hockey city. That’s what we want. We want it somewhere not only where the World Juniors are set up for Team Canada to have an amazing experience, but the fans as well. Vancouver’s going to make that happen, and Victoria too.”
She’s embraced the responsibility of being a role model for youth, teaching the latest edition of her high-performance hockey academy at Burnaby’s 8-Rinks this past summer. Of course, what she relishes most is leading by example when she puts on the Canadian jersey.
At the 2016 Women’s Worlds, Agosta played on a dynamic line with captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored Canada’s winning goal at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and Natalie Spooner. However, Agosta was limited to one goal and one assist in five games and Canada fell 1-0 in overtime to the Americans in the final at Kamloops’s Sandman Centre.
So it’s hardly surprising that Agosta is hungry to improve on those results at the 2017 Women’s Worlds in Plymouth, Michigan. After all, we’re talking about the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s hockey (303 points, 2007-09) and a two-time Women’s Worlds gold medalist (2007, 2012).
For Agosta, playing a meaningful role while taking revenge on the Americans on their home ice would also be a huge stepping stone toward the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. History shows that this 29-year-old steps up when the spotlight is brightest: amazingly, she’s scored 15 goals in 15 Olympic matches. Could a fourth straight Winter Games gold lie ahead for Officer Agosta?
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be the top 27 girls – not looking too far ahead – that will have the opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympics in South Korea. I’m just focusing on the now. Again, I’m going to do everything I can to be part of that team, be a leader, and bring my experience in hopes of winning another gold medal.”
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