Every 4 years the world turns just enough so that we are primed for another round of Winter Olympics. This year Seoul, South Korea will be taking centre stage as we all brace for time changes and the online bombardment along with the 24-hour news cycle of podiums, anthems, doping scandals, judging scandals, and Ryan Lochte scandals (I know he’s a Summer Olympics athlete but he’ll find a way to screw something up). The crown jewel of team winter sports represented at the Olympics has always been and will always be Ice Hockey. It’s what everyone tunes in to watch, and you want to know what makes Ice Hockey even better? Skilled, talented, and beautiful women.
With the mens hockey team mired in controversy since the NHL blocked players from joining the olympic games, we now have more reason than ever to pay attention to women's hockey. This list will take us through some impact players on the ice and some easy on the eyes players who may just make the tournament exciting to watch for newcomers to the sport. With 8 international teams represented her (Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, South Korea, and Japan) there are plenty of players we’re excited to see and it was tough narrowing it down to 15, but it’s our job, and we love doing it. So here we go. Are you as excited as we are to take a trip to Seoul 2018 a little early?
16 Meaghan Mikkelson
Meaghan Mikkelson is one of the elder stateswomen of the Hockey Canada team heading down to Korea for the Seoul 2018 Olympic games in search of their 4th consecutive Olympic Gold medal. She already has 2 to her name from the 2010 Vancouver games and Sochi 2014 but nothing would be sweeter then bringing home a 3rd to complete the hat-trick. Mikkelson currently plays for the Calgary Inferno of the CWHL. Meaghan has long been a solid defender and she brings leadership and confidence to a deep and capable team. Fun fact: She was also a contestant on The Amazing Race Canada with Natalie Spooner, who is also siting up for these coming Olympics. The international teammates finished 2nd. We’re excited to see her finish 1st in Seoul.
15 Angelina Goncharenko
Angelina Goncharenko is a Russian ice hockey player who looks set to represent her ‘country’ at the Seoul 2018 Olympic games (Russia was ‘banned’ from participating in Korea but Russian athletes can compete as ‘neutrals’ in the upcoming Winter Games.) and we’re excited to see her compete, hell we’d be excited just to see her walking around the Olympic Village. The 23-year-old defender has 2 Bronze medals to her name from the 2013 and 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championships and is hoping to add some Olympic hardware to her collection after failing to medal in her home games of Sochi 2014. Goncharenko isn’t known for getting many points but she scores points with us every time she does her thing, on and off the ice.
14 Eveliina Suonpaa
Eveliina Suonpaa is a flashy Finnish goaltender who does a great job between the pipes for the Finnish Women’s National Team. The 22-year-old is gearing up for her first Olympics coming around the corner in Seaoul 2018. She currently plays for Lukko in the Finnish national women’s ice hockey league. Eveliina has 2 Bronze medals under her belt from the IIHF Women’s World Championships in 2015 and 2015 and must be itching to play in her first Olympic game. I can only imagine the excitement that she must be feeling as a young goalie about to face the best female forwards the world has to offer. Suonpaa is about to get a first hand lesson in how to play in big games and we’re excited for her.
13 Amanda Kessel
Amanda Kessel was a member of the Silver medal American side at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and would love nothing more than to change the outcome of the tournament this time and return to the USA from Seoul 2018 wearing the Gold. Kessel is no stranger to big games and accolades and she won the Patty Kazmaier Award for Collegiate National Player of the Year in 2013. She is enjoying a great professional career with the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWH and the 26-year-old Amanda is entering the prime of her career which is an exciting time for any player especially if it coincides with an Olympic games. Amanda’s looking to make an impact in Korea and we’re excited to see how she does it.
12 Hilary Knight
Hilary Knight is a great ambassador for the game of women’s ice hockey and we love to watch her play. after a very successful collegiate career, she has accumulated an astounding 7 Gold and 2 Silver medals from the IIHF Women’s World Championship tournament but sadly only has 2 Silver medals in Olympic competition. Knight will be looking to topple the Canadian regime that has dominated the podium in the last three Olympics by playing her heart out in Seoul 2018. At 28-years-old Hilary is in her prime and needs to strike now before time runs out. We’re excited to see what she brings to the rink in Korea this year and we’re hoping that everyone is as fired up as we are.
11 Emily Pfalzer
Emily Pfalzer is currently the captain of the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL but is looking forward to Seoul 2018 as much as we are looking forward to watching her play in her first Olympic Games with the American National Team. Pfalzer has been part of 3 consecutive IIHF Women’s World Championship teams (2015, 2016, 2017) and they are poised to strike for gold in the upcoming Winter games just around the corner. Emily is a sold defender and a tenacious checker. She played all 4 years of her NCAA career with the venerable Boston college and was the first defender in their women’s program to accumulate 100 points. We’re excited to see how many points she puts up in the tournament in search of Gold.
10 Erika Grahm
Erika Grahm is the real deal and the native of Kranfors, Sweden looks to be getting ready to represent her country at her first Olympics games coming up in Seoul 2018. The quick forward has been busy playing for the Swedish National Team and MODO Ornskoldsvik in the Swedish Elite League since 2005 and has grown into a strong player. As she enters the best years of her career, the 26-year-old must be chomping at the bit to get her hands on an Olympic medal and the Swedish side always looks to be a contender in international tournaments and especially the Olympics. We can’t wait to see Grahm out there strutting her stuff on the ice and hopefully getting some global tv time in the process.
9 Bailey Bram
Bailey Bram is a Canadian ice hockey player currently playing for the Calgary Inferno and Representing her country at her very first Olympics games. She has plenty of hardware to show off including 1 Gold and 4 Silver IIHF Women’s World Championship medal but it is in Seoul 2018 where she has finally cracked the national team and will suit up in search of that sweet Olympic glory. The strong forward from Winnipeg, Manitoba will be looking to make an impact early in the tournament and make a name for herself in the minds of fans and opponents alike. We’ll be keeping our eyes on Bram, brimming with excitement to see if she has what it takes to help Canada win a 4th straight Olympic Gold.
8 Renata Fast
Renata Fast of Hamilton, Ontario is currently a member of the Toronto Furies of the CWHL and will be representing Canada at the Seoul 2018 Olympic games. The 23-year-old has never suited up for an Olympics but has some success at the international level with a Silver in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Renata played for the Clarkson Golden Knights and won an NCAA championship there. Fast, a defender, has no trouble putting up points from the blue line and is known for very responsible defensive play at her young age and she has a lot to add to a very strong Canadian team in search of their 4th consecutive Olympic old Medal. I hope she’s as excited as us for her to hit the ice on the big stage for the first time.
7 Emma Nordin
Emma Nordin is gearing up to play in her second Olympics in Seoul 2018 after representing her native Sweden back in the 2010 Vancouver games. She has been in and around the Swedish National team for most of her career and didn’t have the best showing in her first Olympic games only recording 1 assist. But it seems she’s back on the national roster in time for a trip to Korea where she hopes to contribute more to a winning side from a nation with a long history of Olympic excellence. The 26-year-old forward has tasted victory before winning a Bronze in the IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship in 2009 so we’re excited to see what she can bring to the rink this time around.
6 Emma Nuutinen
Emma Nuutinen is a young Finn who started out her international hockey career half a decade ago with the Finnish National Team at a very young age. She won a Bronze Medal at the 2015 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Sweden at the age of 18 and hasn’t looked back since, earning a second Bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Women’s Championship in the US. Emma played her college hockey in the NCAA playing for both the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Mercyhurst Lakers. She also has some professional experience with the Espoo Blues of the SM-Liiga and has a very promising career ahead of her. We’re excited to see what this feisty 21-year-old can bring to the ice in Seoul 2018.
5 Nana Fujimoto
Nana Fujimoto most likely be minding the net for the Japanese National Team in the upcoming Seoul 2018 women’s tournament and we are excited for her. The 28-year-old has been honing her skills as a goalie for the New York Riveters of the NWHL and has a lot of experience playing against the Canadian and American forwards she will be facing in Korea. Nana made the 2016 NWHL All-Star Game her first year in the league and was named the Riveters starting goalie (the first in franchise history). With all the recent buzz around her it’s not hard to believe that Fujimoto might keep Japan around long enough in a few games to potentially pave the way for an upset victory or two.
4 Yurie Adachi
Yurie Adachi is a venerable veteran for the Japanese women's team and has competed in some international tournaments for the squad. It looks like she’s heading over to a close neighbour in Seoul 2018 to compete again. The left shooting forward also currently plays for the Seibu Princess Rabbits in the J-League. The 32-year-old Adachi stands only 5ft 1in tall, but remember that skates add a few inches. The Japanese women’s team will be looking to make a mark this year as they have a good chance at beating their South Korean rivals after ending up in the same pool for tournament play. We for one are throwing up a hug peace sign Yurie’s way and wishing her and her team-mates the best of luck in the coming Olympic Games.
2 Rebecca Johnston
Rebecca Johnston is a spark plug up front for a strong Canadian side heading to Seoul 2018 and we’ll have a whole lot of fun watching her out there with her teammates representing the maple leaf as the Canadian women go for their 4th straight Gold medal in women’s hockey dating back to Turin 2006. Johnston has 2 of those Gold medals already to her name wrapping them around her neck after wins in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. At 28-years-old Rebecca is in the prime of her career and can make a big impact in the upcoming Olympics on a very well balanced team. During her first season with the Calgary Inferno in 2014/15 she set the franchise record for points, so naturally we’re excited to see what she brings to the big stage as a go to player.
1 Meghan Agosta
Meghan Agosta is a medal machine and has been with the Canadian National Team through the last 3 Olympics picking up a shiny Gold at each stop in Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010 (on home soil), and Sochi 2014. The 30-year-old is back for her 4th straight Olympics and what very well could be her last. The forward for the Montreal Stars is bound to go down in history as one of the greats during a Canadian dynasty that blossomed in the new millennium. We’re excited to see Meghan wind it up one more time and try to put an unprecedented 4th Gold on her mantle in Seoul 2018 where she will be one of the more experienced players on a Gold Medal contending Canadian squad.