Toronto is on the brink of welcoming a new hockey sensation to the city, but this player won’t be donning the Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, a departure from the city’s longstanding tradition of hosting star players within their ranks. Over the past century, Toronto has been home to iconic figures in hockey such as Tim Horton, Dave Keon, Harry Cameron, Mats Sundin, and Auston Matthews. The latest addition to this illustrious list might very well be Jocelyne Larocque, a name not yet widely recognized.
The anticipation surrounding Larocque is poised to reach its zenith with the commencement of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season, where she stands as a pivotal figure for her team. At 35 years old, Larocque brings a wealth of experience as a seasoned defender, having achieved championship success at various levels of the game.
Larocque’s journey to hockey stardom began two decades ago when she clinched her first title in the WWHL (Western Women’s Hockey League), securing a three-peat championship in that league. Her winning streak continued at the NCAA level with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she claimed two titles during her four-year stint and earned the Defensive Player of the Year accolade in 2011.
Internationally, Larocque has been a formidable presence, amassing an impressive collection of accolades, including a bronze, five silver, and three gold World Championship medals, along with a silver and two gold Olympic medals. Serving as the assistant captain for Canada’s national team since 2018, Larocque has solidified her status as one of the premier players in women’s hockey.
The excitement surrounding Larocque’s arrival in Toronto was palpable, leading the yet-to-be-named PWHL team to select her as their first pick and the second overall selection in the 2023 Entry Draft. Toronto’s enthusiasm was further demonstrated by the signing of Larocque to a three-year guaranteed deal, ensuring her presence as the cornerstone defender for the team’s initial years.
While Larocque has previously ventured into professional hockey, notably in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) where she secured a championship in 2018, her stint with the PWHL marks a new chapter. Last season, in addition to her international duties for Canada, she played for Team Adidas in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), contributing two assists in 20 appearances.
Despite her extensive experience, Larocque’s exposure to professional playoff play is somewhat limited, with only nine games in the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL) and eight postseason contests in the CWHL. Toronto aims to provide their star player with additional playoff experience, solidifying her standing as a force to be reckoned with in the world of women’s hockey.