Tessa Bonhomme and Meghan Agosta on the Cover of 'The Hockey News'

Mark StaffieriContributor IIOctober 13, 2012

Agosta and Bonhomme at CBC Ottawa (Photo from http://www.cbc.ca/allinaday/)
Agosta and Bonhomme at CBC Ottawa (Photo from http://www.cbc.ca/allinaday/)

In the wake of the NHL lockout (known colloquially to fans as Lockout 3.0), The Hockey News is devoting an issue to women’s hockey. Toronto Furies player Tessa Bonhomme and Montreal Stars player Meghan Agosta grace the cover of the popular periodical. Despite this recognition, many hardcore women’s hockey fans may ask, “Why did it take so long?”

Just one of the many accolades in her growing, yet already remarkable career, Sportsnet Magazine called Bonhomme one of the most beautiful athletes in the world. Having grown up in Sudbury, Ontario, she has come a long way from her humble beginnings.

Quite possibly the greatest defender in the history of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Bonhomme accumulated over 100 points in four superlative seasons. In a conference that features national powerhouses Wisconsin, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth, Bonhomme was named to the WCHA 10th Anniversary Team.

Although she did not qualify for the Canadian contingent that competed at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, her perseverance is an inspiration for young hockey players, male and female. The following year, she stuck with the National Team for good and never looked back.

Along with fellow Northern Ontario women’s hockey players Rebecca Johnston and Haley Irwin, the three were teammates on the Canadian National Team that claimed the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games in an emotional victory.

For Bonhomme, the Vancouver Winter Games proved to be her coming out party. An entire nation became enamored with the girl next door. The Toronto Furies thought so highly of her that with the first pick overall at the 2010 CWHL Draft, the expansion club selected Bonhomme. She was the first ever player selected in a draft held by the CWHL.

In the following months, Bonhomme would capture the hearts and minds of fans.

An appearance on Wipeout Canada followed, and her charisma and on-screen presence was evident. Other television appearances would follow as Bonhomme became the first women’s hockey player to compete on the popular CBC television program, Battle of the Blades. With skating partner David Pelletier, the duo would win the title.

On February 2, 2011, the charismatic Bonhomme would also find herself joining Leafs TV in the role of a correspondent. Some of the stories she covered included NHL 2012 All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, and an interview with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.

As an accomplished athlete and a role model for a generation of young girls, the girl next door Bonhomme is a deserving cover girl for The Hockey News. Joining her on the cover is magnificent Meghan Agosta, often referred to as the female Sidney Crosby.

Like Bonhomme, Agosta has that golden touch. She first came to prominence at the 2006 Torino Winter Games where she scored a hat trick on her birthday. The all-time scoring leader in NCAA history, she was also the Most Outstanding Player at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

She followed in Bonhomme’s trail when she was the first overall pick of the 2011 CWHL Draft.

As a rookie, Agosta broke the CWHL scoring record (set by Montreal Stars teammate Caroline Ouellette). She would follow it up a few weeks later with the first Clarkson Cup Championship of her career. The championship would make her the fifth woman to be part of the Triple Gold Club for Women (as defined by legendary writer Andrew Podnieks, the criteria is Winter Games gold, IIHF World Gold and a Clarkson Cup).

A few weeks after the Clarkson Cup victory, she would help Canada claim the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Burlington, Vermont. With less than two minutes in the gold-medal game, Agosta scored to put the game into overtime. In the sudden death situation, Ouellette scored the gold-medal winner.

Her greatest accomplishment in 2012 may have come when she married Marco Marciano, a goaltender coach with the Canadian National Team and the Armada Blainville-Boisbriand in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The wedding made national news, and Bonhomme was the maid of honor. Many of the players from the Montreal Stars and the National Women’s Team attended the wedding.

With The Hockey News having featured the 2012 Clarkson Cup and conducted an interview with Harvard freshman netminder Emerance Maschmeyer, putting two of the most popular and charismatic women’s ice hockey players on its cover deserves applause.

While the cover may be a watershed moment in the history of the Canadian National Team and the CWHL, it is vital that the periodical maintains the momentum.

Every issue should feature at least one to two pages of women’s hockey content, so that fans can discover that women’s hockey is the best kept secret in sport today.