SURREY — With the game on the line, Meghan Agosta had the puck on her stick. At the Olympic Games in South Korea, Team Canada, along with an entire nation back home, was counting on her to score to extend the shootout against Team U.S.A.
A gold medal was up for grabs and Agosta, a veteran player and team leader, had already scored in the shootout, which had been extended to a sudden-death situation.
Wearing jersey No. 2, Agosta was looking for goal number two in the post-overtime skills competition.
“For me, it was like, wow, OK, here we go, I’ve done this before, it’s all good,” Agosta, a South Surrey resident, recalled about her moment in the spotlight at Gangneung Hockey Centre on Feb. 22.
“I’m good about dealing with stress and I love being put under pressure, I think that’s when I perform at my very best, so I was like, ‘OK, I’m just going to do the same thing.’”
As she skated in, Agosta didn’t like what she saw at the far end of the rink.
“When I went down the second time, the shot just wasn’t there, so I tried to bring (the puck) across far enough for (the U.S. goalie’s) stick to move, and when I shot between the legs, it was somewhat open, but not open enough. That was it.”
The goalie made the game-winning save. Team Canada had lost and, as members of Team U.S.A. threw off their gloves in celebration, a dejected Agosta was forced to skate through that now-golden group of players.
Silver isn’t bad – excellent, in fact – but Agosta and the rest of the Canadians wanted the gold medal, and nothing else would do.
Upon reflection, Agosta has embraced the “unbelievable journey” she went on with her teammates over the past year, in which she took a leave of absence from her job as a constable with Vancouver Police Department (VPD).
But not winning gold still stings.
“The overall experience was amazing,” Agosta told the Now-Leader, “but for sure, this was probably the hardest defeat I’ve ever been a part of, by far, and again, just because how hard we worked.”
Agosta, who lives in the Morgan Crossing area with her fiancé, a fellow VPD officer, was “centralized” with teammates in Calgary leading up to the Games, and plans to return to policing work in May.
The Windsor-born Agosta, who turned 31 while in South Korea, moved to the South Surrey area a couple years ago.
“Sometimes my fiancé and I will commute together and take the HOV lane, if our shifts match up, but I love where I live, I love the area and wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said. “I really enjoy being out of the city because I don’t have to be around all of where I’m working, that kind of thing. I do enjoy being out here, that’s for sure. It’s so nice.”
Agosta has been a member of Canada’s national women’s team since 2004, and won gold with the squad in Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. At the Games in Vancouver, she earned top-scorer honours with nine goals and six assists, and was voted tourney MVP and Best Forward.
After Sochi, she took a break from hockey to concentrate on her career in law enforcement.
“I love policing, and whether I go to the rink and put on my jersey or go to work and put on my police uniform, it’s an honour to do both of those things,” Agosta said. “I’m very lucky that the VPD has supported me to continue to pursue this amazing career of playing hockey and representing Canada. A year leave is a long time. And also Hockey Canada, they’ve supported me after the last Olympics to pursue my career in law enforcement. I’m very fortunate to be where I am and balancing the two.”
With the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on the horizon, Agosta sees herself gunning for a gold medal once again.
“If you’re asking me if I’m going to retire (from hockey), absolutely not,” she said. “I still know, and think, that I have a lot more to give. I think this year is the best hockey I’ve played in my whole career, and of course I want to continue playing for Canada. But right now my main focus is just really enjoying the moment and coming back and getting that mindset of going back to work, starting my career again, because I’ve taken this past year off.
“Four years is a long time,” she added, “but it’s totally in my sights and it’s something I totally would love to do. One day at a time, but for sure going to another Olympics would be an honour, and it’s something I’d totally want to do.”