St. Albert's Meaghan Mikkelson and Team Canada won gold for the second straight year at the 2022 IIHF Women's World Championship in Denmark on Sunday.
The team landed a 2-1 victory over the United States on Sept. 4. Sunday's gold-medal game was a defensive showcase, as neither team was able to muster much offence. Brianne Jenner scored both of Canada's goals, each coming in the second period.
Czechia won bronze this year with a 4-2 victory over Switzerland. It's the first time a team from Czechia has won a medal in the tournament's 20-year history.
The 2022 World Championship title is Mikkelson's second in her career, and comes 10 years after her first. A severe leg injury kept the 37-year-old defence player off Team Canada's roster for the 2021 World Championship and for the 2022 Olympic team, which went on to win gold in Beijing.
The Gazette was unable to reach Mikkelson for an interview.
Team Canada's path to gold began on Aug. 25 with a 4-1 win over Finland. Mikkelson scored in the second period and also registered a two-minute penalty for kneeing.
On Aug. 27 the Canadians beat Switzerland 4-1, and on Aug. 28 they crushed Japan 9-0.
Mikkelson registered an assist on Emma Maltais's first-period goal to give Canada a 3-0 lead over Japan.
On Aug. 30 the Canadians lost their last roun-robin match 5-2 to the United States. Canada had a 2-0 lead after the first period but were stymied offensively for the remaining 40 minutes of play.
In the quarter-finals against Sweden, Canada outshot their opponents 57-9 on their way to a 3-0 win. Mikkelson registered two of the team's shots.
Canada dominated Switzerland in the semi-finals on Sept. 3, cruising to an 8-1 win and securing their spot in the gold-medal game against the United States.
In an interview with The Canadian Press in early August, before she had made this year's team, Mikkelson said she decided to try and make another run with Team Canada because she still had some hockey left in her.
"For me, it's not about leaving on your own terms. It's about leaving the game a better place than you found it, but also leaving knowing you gave it everything you have," Mikkelson said.
"I have a potential career to fall back on, but playing hockey for a living is pretty special and I love it so much," she said. "That's why I'm still here, is the love of the game."
Mikkelson, who was raised in St. Albert, is a St. Albert Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA) alumna. She was the first girl in SAMHA history to play on a rep boy's team when she played for the Atom AA team in 1997. She would later play for the Bantam AAA Sabres as well.
She's a two-time Olympic gold medallist — 2010 and 2014 — and now, two-time IIHF world champion. She also won silver at the 2018 Olympics and has six World Championship silver medals to her name.
She played for the University of Wisconsin's women's hockey team, the Badgers, for four seasons between 2003 and 2007. Mikkelson played a total of 142 games with the Badgers, had 29 goals and 85 assists, and helped the team win back-to-back NCAA championships.
After playing for the Badgers, Mikkelson played three seasons with the Edmonton Chimos in the now defunct Western Women's Hockey League, and then four seasons in the defunct Canadian Women's Hockey League with the Alberta Honeybadgers and Calgary Inferno.
Prior to her injury in 2021, Mikkelson played for Calgary in the Professional Women's Hockey Player's Association. Mikkelson has yet to announce if she intends to retire from playing.
She currently lives in Calgary with her husband, Scott Reid, and two children, Berkley and Calder.