MARKHAM, ON – Megan Bozek, all-star defender, Olympic silver medalist and Isobel Cup Champion, has signed with the Markham Thunder.
“I am very excited to get on the ice with the Thunder! When you are given a situation that is unexpected, you feel disappointed, discouraged, angry, sad, mad, and everything in between,” said Bozek. “But getting the chance to play in Markham with a great group of talented players – a handful that I have played with or against for years – is exciting! They bring energy and grit to every game, and I am looking forward to joining them on the run for the playoffs!”
With Thunder defence mainstays Jocelyne Larocque and Laura Fortino with Hockey Canada this season, Bozek brings her offensive prowess to the blue line. The last couple of seasons the Thunder have been very fortunate to have one of the strongest defence cores in the league which can be hard to maintain during Olympic years. With the Thunder facing several injuries this season, Bozek is coming in at a good time, especially as they make a push for playoffs in the second half. With a booming shot and quick puck movement, Bozek will be a threat in all zones.
Having played in both leagues and being a free agent, she was highly sought after by many teams. “I’m looking forward to seeing her wear the green this Saturday, and I have no doubt that she will put her mark on this organization early,” mentions General Manager, Chelsea Purcell. Adding an Olympian to the roster in an Olympic year is an opportunity that does not come around often, and Purcell knows how lucky the team is to bring Bozek on. “It’s definitely bittersweet. It’s never easy seeing a player losing the opportunity to go to the Olympics. You always want to see former or current CWHL players at the Games no matter what country they are representing. We are definitely very fortunate to be able to have her join the Thunder knowing she should be on that Olympic roster.”
The coaching staff also know that bringing a player of Bozek’s caliber is good for the entire team. “The experiences that Megan has as a player cannot be matched by many. NCAA Frozen Four Champion, World Champion, Olympic athlete, Isobel Cup Champion,” says assistant coach Candice Moxley, “She has grown as a player over the years and just keeps getting better.” Head coach Jim Jackson agrees that having a player who has excelled at all levels will have an immediate effect, “To bring in a player of Megan’s abilities will not only compliment our current team, but she also brings a strong work ethic, knowledge of the game and a will to win attitude.” As the Thunder make the final push towards the playoffs, assistant coach Kevin Stone knows this type of addition is coveted by all teams. “We are entering a big part of our schedule and every team is looking for that additional piece of the puzzle. We found a difference maker.”
Purcell haralds the coaching staff for allowing players to continue to grow and learn. “Megan signing here shows the strength this team has, and that we can recruit top level players,” she noted. With Markham’s depth being tested with multiple player injuries and three players centralized with Team Canada, the coaches can’t wait to have Bozek hit the ice. “She adds many elements to our team that will mesh well with our systems. We are excited to put her into the mix,” said Moxley. Jackson added, “As a coach you want other players around her to raise their level of game and overall compete level.”
Having played with and against many of her new teammates should help Bozek feel at home quickly in Markham. She recently played with forward Devon Skeats and defender Lindsay Grigg with the Buffalo Beauts, and faced many as a member of the Toronto Furies. “Megan could have gone anywhere,” says Stone, “But she sees the opportunity to step in to help Markham (League leader in overtimes and one goal games) with the little push to put us over the top.”
Photo Credit: USA Hockey