With the fan voting completed for the third annual CWHL All-Star Game, to be hosted on February 11 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, a remarkable combination of results has provided a unique scenario, making history three different ways. From the outset, Carlee Campbell-Euseppi of the Toronto Furies led all players, capturing 2088 online votes, representing 11.85% of the votes. Teammate Natalie Spooner, who is in her first season as captain of the Furies, trailed by a short margin in the final tally, gaining 11.71% of all possible votes.
Of note, Spooner was not the only player to garner that percentage. Meaghan Mikkelson, who serves as an alternate captain with the Calgary Inferno also earned the same tally. Marie-Philip Poulin, who was the MVP of the 2016 CWHL All-Star Game was the only other player with more than 11% of the votes, finishing with 11.48%.
With the tie in voting, both Spooner and Mikkelson shall don the captain’s C on their jerseys, both sharing the privilege as members of Team Blue, while Campbell-Euseppi, a first-time All-Star shall take the captaincy of Team White (of which Spooner was captain in the previous All-Star edition). In addition, Campbell-Euseppi shall have the first pick overall in the 2017 CWHL Frozen Fantasy Draft on February 10, which shall determine the rosters for Team White and Team Blue.
Considering that the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game shall be the third in league history, it is only fitting that there are three captains, one of three special ways that history shall be made in this game. In addition, the All-Star Game plays a significant part in Toronto Furies lore, as this marks the first time that captains from both All-Star teams are both from the same club (Campbell-Euseppi and Spooner). Perhaps the most impressive element is the fact that Spooner gets to make history twice in one day, as she becomes the first player to serve as CWHL All-Star captain twice in a career.
Spooner’s fellow captain on Team Blue, Meaghan Mikkelson, is no stranger to history either. Of note, Mikkelson and her brother Brendan (who once played for the Calgary Flames) are a rare brother-sister combination to have won both the Clarkson Cup and the Memorial Cup. In addition, the 2016 Clarkson Cup win for Mikkelson as her husband Scott Reid, who is also the Inferno’s head coach, was historic as the two became the first husband and wife to share in a Cup win.
Such a strong sense of teamwork is also prevalent between Mikkelson and Spooner, both members of the Triple Gold Club for Women. This dazzling duo gained an unprecedented level of newfound popularity after appearing in the second season of The Amazing Race Canada. Undoubtedly the most famous, and most popular, contestants in the history of the program, their strong performance during the second season not only resulted in a close bond of friendship, it transformed them both into a pop culture phenomenon. As a side note, the third season of Amazing Race Canada saw a pair of former female softball players participate, continuing the sporting trend established by Mikkelson and Spooner.
While both remain gracious and humble over their celebrity status, they are forever intertwined for their inspiring heroics on the program, simultaneously capturing the imagination of viewers, whether they were hockey fans or not. Undoubtedly, their television popularity, coupled with their world class skills, has propelled them into two of the most recognizable faces in the CWHL, establishing each as prominent franchise players and role models for a generation of young players.
Such popularity has allowed the two to shine as teammates once again, in one of the most prestigious venues in women’s ice hockey. Taking into account that the two were teammates on Hockey Canada’s gold medal victories at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Burlington, Vermont, along with the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, it would be an amazing feat if the two could collaborate once again in a victorious outcome at the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game. The chance to share in this historic captaincy is truly a fitting tribute to a pair of strong women who have defined the essence of friendship.