When Cecilia Anderson came back from the 20th Winter Olympics in Torino, there were no screaming fans, there were no flashbulbs going off, you might say the five-foot, 11-inch goaltender, the tallest player on the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team, flew under the radar.
But, ‘Cec’, as she’s known to her teammates, came back to the Ed Meagher Arena and received a standing ovation from the fans in the stands and the players on the ice when she was introduced to drop the opening face-off. And she had a silver medal around her neck.
That’s right, a silver medal. In a sport that has been dominated by the Canadians and Americans since the beginning of international competition (those two nations have played every major international final against each other since the first World Championships in 1990), Anderson and her Swedish teammates defeated the Americans 3-2 in a shootout in the semi-final to advance to the Gold medal game against Canada sending the Americans to a battle for bronze. How big was the win? Well, it may have saved women’s hockey on an International level proving that miracles on the ice can happen in the women’s game as well.
But, Anderson wasn’t as surprised.
“We knew that at one point we were going to beat [the United States]. It was a weird feeling because in my mind and in everyone else’s there was no doubt [that night] would be the night,” she said. “It wasn’t surprising for us in that sense because we were prepared for it, we were ready for it… I think it was more of a shock for everyone else than it was for us,” she said with a chuckle.
It was a glimpse into the future of women’s hockey when the Swedes whose average age was 22.9 led by 19-year old Kim Martin played Canada, a team of veterans in their third Olympic Games like Danielle Goyette and Cassie Campbell in the Gold medal game. A game where the final score, 4-1 Canada, meant little in the grand scheme of things. In fact, it just may be the beginning of a new era for hockey.
“Women’s hockey is the most developing sport in Sweden right now,” Anderson said.
Anderson was the only current Concordia athlete in Torino, and since she, and the rest of her team, arrived in the Olympic Village on February 2, the feelings haven’t gone away. She even joined her fellow Swedes at the Opening Ceremonies.
“The Swedish Olympic Committee didn’t want us to go but our coach really pushed it and it was great. It was a good thing because it really made us come together and got us excited about the tournament,” she said.
Anderson, despite being the starter at Concordia, was the backup to Martin at the Olympics, and said it isn’t that much of an adjustment.
“You always want to play, but I’ve always been the backup on the National team so I’m used to it. I know that I just have to stay focused and be ready and my time will come,” she said.
Anderson played two round-robin games in the Olympics, making four saves against Italy in an 11-0 win and playing all 60 minutes in a 8-1 loss against Canada.
“I wasn’t expecting to play against Canada, so that was fun. It was a great experience,” she said.
Les Lawton, the head coach of the Stingers could say nothing but positive things about the return of their star goaltender.
“We’re certainly proud of her, she has a huge smile on her face and she definitely has a lot to be proud of,” he said.