Cottonmouths Welcome Gold Medalist Female Goalie - WRBL

Cottonmouths Welcome Gold Medalist Female Goalie

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COLUMBUS, GA - Sports history was made in Columbus Thursday as the Cottonmouths introduced Shannon Szabados to Snakes' fans. She is the first female to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League. She will initially be a backup goalie.

Szabados has had a great career in hockey. She was the goaltender for Canada’s gold medal game in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Being the first female in a league is nothing new for Szabados. She did it in the Western Hockey League and in junior hockey. She says playing against men and women is completely different for a goalie.

“I think the strength and the speed. Guys are just built bigger. The girls are a little smarter with their play. They can't power the puck through you,” Szabados said.

 “She was the best in college,” said defenseman Kyle Johnson. “Her numbers were the best in college and in junior. She's played in the western league. As far as hockey careers go, she has had a pretty good one compared to most of the guys in this league actually.”

Szabados got into town Wednesday night. She was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That's almost 2,500 from Columbus, so we asked her about Georgia.

She says she had not been to Georgia prior to Thursday.

“No, this is my first time. But, I’m excited. I've had people tweet me already that they wanted to take us out for barbecue and something else here in town,” Szabados said.

 “I still want her to feel comfortable. Obviously she is not playing tonight (Thursday). We have Saturday and Sunday. I hope she feels comfortable soon enough for one of those games,” said head coach Jerome Bechard.

Coach Bechard says he knows fans want to see Szabados in the game, so, they will work hard in practice over the next few games to knock off any rust since she has played since the Winter Olympics.

Dayne Young

Dayne is a sports anchor and reporter for WRBL. He started covering the Chattahoochee Valley in September 2012. More>>

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