Just call her Captain Canada.
Hokey Langan of Chatham will wear the ‘C’ for the third straight time when the World Ball Hockey Federation women’s championship begins Monday in Lovosice, Czech Republic.
“I’m pretty fortunate they made me captain again,” said the 26-year-old forward. “It’s a pretty phenomenal honour. I’m looking forward to leading the team to another gold medal, to be honest with you. I think the past two world championships gave me an experience of leadership that I’ve learned from.”
Rookie defender Rachael Tricker of Thamesville is also playing for the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada team, which is seeking its third consecutive gold medal.
The tournament is played every two years.
“It feels amazing to be playing for Team Canada and being a part of such a great experience and opportunity,” Tricker wrote to The Daily News. “When I found out I made the team I was so excited and messaged all my friends and family.”
The Chatham Coyotes alumnae know the other countries – Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and United States – will be eager to dethrone Canada.
“Being defending champions puts a little pressure on keeping that streak going, but it shouldn’t be a problem with the talent we have this year,” Tricker said.
In addition to her gold medals at the 2013 and 2015 WBHF championships, Langan also won a silver playing for Canada at the 2009 world under-18 ice hockey championship.
She understands the responsibility that comes with wearing the Maple Leaf.
“Ice hockey or ball hockey, it’s that way,” Langan said. “Defending the title puts a little weight on our shoulders, but we defended it two years ago and I expect the same outcome. That’s what we’re going over there to do.”
Langan is a two-time MVP at the world championship.
The Chatham-Kent Secondary School graduate said she’s learned to be a better communicator as captain, but she still tends to let actions speak louder than words.
“I’m not very vocal when it comes to a team setting,” she said. “… I speak up when I need to and when the team needs a boost. I prefer to lead by example.”
Her leadership skills are needed this year. Team Canada has only five returnees, but Langan was impressed when the team got together for workouts.
“We’re more skilled and a lot faster than previous years, so I’m excited for it,” said Langan, one of the top scorers in Ohio State Buckeyes history.
Tricker has spoken with Langan over the past year about what to expect at the world championship.
“We are going to be rooming together in Czech,” Tricker said. “She’s a great captain and leader to look up to and learn from.
“It’s great having two of us from Chatham-Kent to show everyone that even though we come from a small town you can still get amazing opportunities and follow your dream.”
Langan has high expectations for Tricker, a Lambton-Kent Composite School graduate.
Tricker played on the soccer and hockey teams at Fanshawe College before graduating last year.
“She’s a super athlete when it comes to any sport,” Langan said. “She has speed on the back end, that’s for sure, and she plays an aggressive game where she sticks up for herself. She has a great shot and she sees the floor well. She’s a great player defensively, but she also adds to the offensive side.
“She’s all-around probably one of our best players, to be honest with you. I look forward to playing with her. … She’s going to do great things for our team.”