| Date of Birth:
March 25, 1976
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, MB
Years on National Team:
Weight: 179 lbs
A mainstay on the women's national team for most of the past decade, goalie Sami Jo Small was selected as an alternate for the 2006 Turin Games. Having already served as an alternate at the 1998 Nagano Olympics -- her first experience on the national stage --, Small realizes there is little chance she will get to play.
Still, it's been a good run for the athletic netminder, who, back in 1999 and 2000, was considered the best female goalie in the world when she backstopped Canada to consecutive World Championship victories.
However, the emergence of Kim St. Pierre in 2001 would spell the beginning of the end for Small as Canada's No. 1 goalie. Despite dropping behind St. Pierre on the national team depth chart, Small has stayed on with the program and was part of both the 2001 and 2004 World Championship teams, as well as the 2002 Olympic gold medal winners.
Considering all the hockey glory that has come her way over the years, it's interesting to note that track and field was her first true love in sport. In fact, her skill at both the discus and javelin disciplines as a high school student in Winnipeg enabled her to earn a scholarship to Stanford University.
Small took full advantage of her full ride, earning a degree in mechanical engineering while attending the prestigious California school. Although she continued competing in track and field, winning a gold medal in the javelin at the Canada Summer Games in 1997, it was her time as the starting goalie on the school's men's hockey team that really convinced her that hockey was the route she wanted to take in the future.
Over the past three years, Small has continued to hone her goaltending craft as a star for the Toronto Aeros of the National Women's Hockey League, where she is teamed with fellow Olympians Jennifer Botterill and Cheryl Pounder. During that time, Small has appeared in 50 games, losing just five times.
In 2005, Small would lead the Aeros to victory in the Esso National Championships, with a sizzling performance in the final against the Brampton Thunder. The Aeros would win the game 2-1, with the only goal allowed by Small coming from another fellow Olympian, Thunder legend Vicky Sunohara.
Although in the twilight of her hockey career, count on Small to be fully ready for action should she get the call in Turin.
2006 Hockey Coverage