Hockey star Meghan Agosta, the 2010 Olympic MVP, lays down the law in her adopted hometown of Vancouver
By LUCAS AYKROYD
Sports can be heavenly or cruel. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Meghan Agosta scored 15 points in five games and was named tournament MVP as the Canadian women’s hockey team won its third of four straight Winter Games gold medals. Life was beautiful for the girl from Ruthven, Ontario, who started playing hockey at age six.
However, at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, it all came down to a heartbreaking shootout with the archrival Americans. Agosta, now a Vancouver resident, got to take the deciding shot, but couldn’t outwit US goaltender Maddie Rooney. The American women celebrated their first Olympic gold medal in 20 years, crushing Canada’s dreams.
“I think it definitely was the biggest defeat in my whole hockey career,” Agosta said in a coffee shop interview near her South Surrey home. “But that’s sports. I’m very fortunate to say I’ve won three Olympic gold medals and I am a silver medalist. We’ve got to hold our heads high and continue training to be the best we can be for our next opportunity.”
Agosta, 31, has taken that philosophy far beyond the rink. This talented left winger is also a constable with the Vancouver Police Department. The two-time Canadian Women’s Hockey League scoring champion with Montreal stepped away from Hockey Canada in the 2014-15 season to pursue her policing dream. She is currently the only national team player with a full-time job.
Living in Vancouver, which lacks a pro women’s hockey team, means Agosta stays sharp by playing with the VPD hockey team, the Centurions, and practising with the Valley West Hawks of the BC Hockey Major Midget League—boys aged 15 to 17. But she says it’s worth it.
“Ever since I was a little girl, especially since high school, I always wanted to become a police officer. I’d hear lights and sirens and be like, ‘Where are they going? What are they doing?’ I want to help people, and with policing, you’re making a difference in the community.”
A relentlessly positive thinker, Agosta has overcome many hurdles. The all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s hockey history earned a criminal justice degree from Pennsylvania’s Mercyhurst University in 2011. Yet even after Hockey Canada endorsed her decision to pursue a second career, she had plenty to learn with the VPD.
“My biggest challenge after being away from school for five years was learning the law, learning how to speak on the radio, how to shoot your firearm, and handcuffing. That was a bigger challenge for me than the physical part.”
Combatting fatigue while training for Olympic hockey, though, is an endless battle. Her police job requires shift work: four different 12-hour shifts, with four days on and four days off. Fortunately, she has ways to relax in one of the world’s most beautiful cities with her fiancé, police sergeant Jason Robillard, her two stepsons, and their yellow Labrador retriever, Rocky.
“I love going to the beach. I love being outside in the sun. In White Rock, we go to Crescent Beach a lot. With my life—hockey, policing, always being on the go—it’s important to rest, relax and recover.”
Rocky also loves long walks in Surrey’s Serpentine Fen, home to some 130 bird species. Agosta finds her dog’s presence very therapeutic.
“Coming home from a night shift and him greeting you and his tail’s always wagging, they just don’t judge and they’re so loyal. We’re so lucky. Everybody’s like, ‘Would you sell him?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely not!’ He’s not a typical Lab. He doesn’t swim. He doesn’t fetch or run much. I wanted a lazy dog and I got one!”
When out-of-town guests arrive, Agosta likes to take them downtown for the restaurants and shops in Yaletown and Gastown, plus the Stanley Park seawall. Come winter, she’ll drive them two hours up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, North America’s top ski resort.
“When I came here for the first time, I fell in love with the city, people and culture,” Agosta said. “This is a place where I can live for the rest of my life.”
While she grew up as a Detroit Red Wings fan, she enjoys attending the odd Canucks NHL game, checking out Vancouver Whitecaps soccer, or playing a round at Surrey’s Morgan Creek Golf Course. The four-time Olympian plans to appear at WickFest, Hayley Wickenheiser’s annual hockey festival for girls, when it makes its Surrey debut next year (Jan. 31 to Feb. 3).
Agosta is aiming to regain Canada’s gold at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China. She’s optimistic that Vancouver-area sisters Sarah and Amy Potomak—she calls them “amazing hockey players”—will crack that squad after being late cuts for Pyeongchang.
Agosta won’t represent Canada at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Finland because she’s having a baby girl in December. However, she plans to be ready for national team fitness testing in May. Don’t bet against her. When you watch Meghan Agosta flying down the ice, this Vancouver police officer’s arresting presence makes you excited about the future of women’s sports.