KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Meghan Agosta is a talker.
She didn’t always seem to be. The fleet-footed forward, who has helped Team Canada to a 1-1 start at this IIHF women’s hockey championship, was always polite and pleasant in interviews in past years, but was rarely particularly wordy.
These days, she has stories she seems to want to tell. Give her a chance, she’ll readily go on about women’s hockey and the Canadian program and her own off-ice career, as a constable on the Vancouver Police Department.
She’s 29. She’s not the young, upstart kid anymore. She’s also undoubtedly come across some things on her job that most of us don’t experience.
“In high school, I’d see a police officer drive by with the lights and sirens and I’d wonder where they were going and what they were doing,” said Agosta, the Ruthven, Ont., product who had to sit out last year’s world championships in Malmo, Sweden, due to work commitments.
“I’ve had two passions in my life: hockey and policing. With policing, it was just a matter of when … it’s had its challenges. I had to tell Hockey Canada that I had to take a year off, and I didn’t know how they were going to take it, but they were so supportive and very proud of me for wanting to do that, for taking that step in my life.
“I do think it’s really matured me as a person. I’ve taken a lot of life lessons out of it, going to these different calls, dealing with people’s problems. It’s made grow as a person and as a leader on this team.”
That’s part of what’s at play here. Her talent is well documented. She’s been a part of three Olympic gold medal teams, the first coming in Turin 2006 when she was in the midst of turning 19.
The 5-foot-7, 148-pound, left-handed shooting Agosta has long been considered one of the world’s most gifted players. But ask Canadian coach Laura Schuler about Agosta this week and the first thing that comes up is her leadership. She was named an alternate captain of the current team earlier this week.
“She’s constantly talking to the younger players and letting them know that ‘Hey, we can do this,’ and ‘There’s a reason why you are here,’” said Schuler. “She makes people believe in themselves.
“You walk by the dressing room, she’s the one that’s talking and inspiring the group and saying the right things.”