Badgered by heap of honours

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET

Every day for the last month or so has been like Christmas for Calgary's Carla MacLeod. She's been named to Team Canada for the women's world hockey championships in Linkoping, Sweden, next month. Her University of Wisconsin Badgers qualified for the NCAA playdowns. And she's one of 10 players nominated for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is given to the top women's collegiate hockey player.

And although the Badgers lost to arch-rival University of Minnesota in the WCHA championship game last weekend, they fully expect to hear their university's name called tomorrow night when the NCAA announces its selections to the eight-team national tournament.

MacLeod said everything should go the Badgers' way.

"Everything in the last month, I've been opening door after door and it's like there's a huge Christmas present behind each one," said the Badgers blueliner. "I wonder how long that's going to last but I'm thrilled to be where I am and have the opportunity."

She's trying to take it all step by step as she completes her major in legal studies. The Badgers team captain doesn't want to get caught up in the whirlwind.

"It's not in my personality to flaunt it," she said. "I feel like I've worked hard and to have all these things hit me at one time, it can be a little overwhelming.

"But I have great teammates and friends and my family is very supportive."

Oh, and the 10 nominees, seven of whom are Canadian, will be whittled down Monday to three finalists for the Kazmaier -- the women's equivalent to the esteemed Hobey Baker Award.

"Those are just accolades," MacLeod said. "I sure don't depend on them. It's not why I play and it's not what keeps me going. I want my team to succeed and that's the greatest reward in the end.

"I want to go win the NCAAs with my team and I want to go win the world championship with my team. When it comes down to it, I just want to play the game."

MacLeod is one of three rookies named to this year's Team Canada roster.

But, she points out, she's the only true rookie since Charline Labonte was at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as the third goalie and Sarah Vaillancourt went to last year's worlds as an alternate.

The only international experience MacLeod has is with the national under-22 team and a stint with Team Canada at last fall's 4 Nations Tournament.

"I'm a true, true rookie at the worlds," she said. "I have no idea what to expect."

But MacLeod can look at the roster and see a lot of familiar names. After all, she played with the Olympic Oval X-Treme before leaving for collegiate pursuits.

"Yeah, I know a lot of the girls," she said. "I have great friends on the X-Treme and making the worlds team with them is pretty awesome. It's tough to find the words to describe the feelings I had when I was selected. It's been a pretty long dream and to have it come to reality is pretty special."


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