Longtime Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward announced his retirement from professional hockey after signing a one-day contract with the team Wednesday.
The move was a classy way for the 35-year-old to say goodbye to the game with the team that he played the first 13 of his 14 NHL seasons with. The native of Saskatoon donned the pads for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2018-19 campaign.
Ward calling it a career resulted in plenty of support and well wishes from the hockey world. However, it was a story shared by Shannon Szabados on Twitter that stuck out among the rest.
When I was 19 years old Cam Ward used his @VaughnHockey equipment $$ to help me get a new pair of pads while I was playing Junior A in the @TheAJHL— Shannon Szabados (@ShannonSzabados) August 28, 2019
Thank you and happy retirement Wardo. @CanesNHL pic.twitter.com/gzKhZorCep
Before the two-time Olympic gold medallist was in need of new pillows as a 19-year-old in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Ward — only two years her senior — put together one of the most impressive rookie seasons in NHL history.
After the Hurricanes dropped the first two games of their first-round matchup with the Montreal Canadiens, Ward took over between the pipes, led Carolina to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
Somewhere between his first NHL start and hoisting Lord Stanley’s mug over his head, Ward inked an equipment deal with Vaughn and used some of that money to help out a young Szabados.
As a 16-year-old, she became the first female to play in the WHL. By the time she received Ward’s donation ahead of the 2006-07 season, she was already the first female to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and coming off an impressive campaign with the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
With her new pads in tow, Szabados would go on to post a sparkling 2.13 GAA and .920 SV% in 43 games with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders (the team she was playing for in the photo she shared to Twitter), become the first female to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League and win three Olympic medals with Canada.
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