Picking an all-star team with just six players is a major challenge, especially considering the meteoric growth of the women’s game from 2010 to 2019. There are close to 200,000 women’s hockey players worldwide today, and the 2020s should be when this sport truly enters the mainstream.
There were many excellent candidates, including the likes of Canada’s Meghan Agosta, Jayna Hefford, Rebecca Johnston, Meaghan Mikkelson, Caroline Ouellette, Natalie Spooner, and Hayley Wickenheiser; Finland’s Michelle Karvinen, Meeri Raisanen, Noora Raty, and Riikka Sallinen; Switzerland’s Christine Meier, Alina Muller, and Florence Schelling; and the USA’s Kendall Coyne, Meghan Duggan, Amanda Kessel, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Alex Rigsby, and Maddie Rooney.
Here is the Women’s All-Decade Team. What do you think?
Goal: Shannon Szabados (Canada)
The numbers tell a vivid story. Shannon Szabados is the only netminder in women’s hockey history to backstop her nation to two gold medals in three Olympic finals.
Under the brightest spotlight, the Edmonton native was named Best Goalie in Vancouver (2010), where she posted a 2-0 shutout in the final against the Americans, and in PyeongChang (2018), where a 40-save performance almost earned her a third straight Olympic title. Szabados, now 33, also led each of her Olympics in save percentage (98 in 2010, 95.4 in 2014, and 94.9 in 2018).
Defence: Jenni Hiirikoski (Finland)
Tina Turner’s song “Simply The Best” could have been written about Jenni Hiirikoski. As the single most-decorated performer of the decade, the fleet-footed and tireless 32-year-old was named Best Defender at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics and at five Women’s Worlds.
Hiirikoski earned two Olympic bronze medals and three Women’s Worlds bronze medals, but saved her best for the 2019 home-ice tournament in Espoo, where she tied the points record (10) for blueliners and captained the Finns to an historic silver medal.
Defence: Monique Lamoureux (United States)
Aggressive and versatile, Monique Lamoureux actually began and ended the 2010s as an award-winning Women’s Worlds forward, leading the tournament in 2012 with 14 points. Yet mid-decade, the University of North Dakota graduate cemented her reputation as an outstanding blueliner with three consecutive Women’s Worlds all-star berths (2015-17).
With six world titles and a 2018 Olympic gold medal to her name, Lamoureux also joined her twin sister Jocelyne, the golden shootout scorer in PyeongChang, as a strong voice for gender equity and the new Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA).
Forward: Brianna Decker (United States)
On a points-per-game basis, Brianna Decker’s 67 points in 33 career Women’s Worlds games (1.7 PPG) was easily tops in the 2010’s. The three-time tournament all-star’s intelligence and scrappy relentlessness made her a force to be reckoned with.
In her seven straight Women’s Worlds finals, the former University of Wisconsin captain totalled four goals and two assists, including the winner against Canada in a wild 7-5 gold medal game in Malmo in 2015. Decker, now 28, tied Kendall Coyne for the 2017 points lead (12).
Forward: Hilary Knight (United States)
In a decade of U.S. dominance, Hilary Knight became a golden legend of American women’s hockey. With 43 goals and 74 points at the Women’s Worlds, the power forward is poised to eclipse Cammi Granato’s U.S. records (44 goals and 78 points). Knight, 30, could even surpass IIHF Hall of Fame inductee Hayley Wickenheiser’s all-time record of 86 points if she goes wild at the 2020 Women’s Worlds in Nova Scotia.
When you lead the Women’s Worlds in both goals and points four times, landing two MVPs and four all-star berths, your place on an all-decade team is assured. Knight also notched the opening goal, assisted by Decker, in the 2018 Olympic gold medal game.
Forward: Marie-Philip Poulin (Canada)
This ultra-focused attacker was just 18 when she scored both Canadian goals in the 2010 Olympic gold medal triumph over the U.S. in front of 16,805 fans in Vancouver – still the largest crowd in women’s hockey history. Four years later, she potted the tying goal with 55 seconds left and the 3-2 overtime winner at the Winter Games in Sochi, capping off the most amazing (and for Americans, heartbreaking) rally the international game has ever seen. And she also got Canada’s second goal in the 2018 Olympic final in PyeongChang.
Yet Marie-Philip Poulin’s resume doesn’t rest solely on being the lone player to score in three Olympic finals. Canada’s 28-year-old captain – a 2012 Women’s Worlds gold medalist and 2013 MVP and tournament scoring leader – is universally acclaimed as one of the sport’s true icons.