CALGARY – Most phone calls that happen in the middle of the night don’t relay good news. But this one did.
Blayre Turnbull’s father Ron was sleeping when she called to let him know she had made Team Canada.
“I called my dad at 2 a.m. back home,” she said. “He was excited – a little groggy – but he was really proud and happy.”
As a member of the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Turnbull was returning from a game in Ontario and her flight had just landed when she received a text from the Team Canada assistant coach.
It was around 11 p.m. in Calgary when she found out that she was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship, and the first person she called was her dad in Stellarton.
“When I first found out, it was a pretty overwhelming feeling,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for since I was a little girl. To have my dreams become reality is something really special.”
Although she called her dad right away with the good news, he wasn’t the first person to find out she made the team, as she was with Inferno teammate and fellow Nova Scotian Jillian Saulnier when she received the news. Saulnier also made the team.
“I was about as happy as I could be. It was a pretty surreal moment,” said Turnbull.
She believes playing in a professional hockey league has improved her game, which assisted with making the national squad. “There are numerous Olympians on my team I have to look up to. I learned a lot from them and I think it’s really helped my game grow.”
Her Calgary teammates Meaghan Mikkelson, Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner and Hayley Wickenheiser have all won Olympic gold for Canada, and they will join her as members of the World Championship team.
Making the senior women’s team has been her objective for many years, and she hopes it will help her achieve her ultimate goal of playing in the Olympic games.
“For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to go to the Olympics. Making this team to play in the world championships is one step closer to my dream coming true.”
However, she said there’s a lot of time between now and the next Olympic winter games in 2018, and a lot can change. “I take every day as they come.”
The World Championship takes place March 28 to April 4 in Kamloops, B.C. Turnbull is one of 23 players selected to Canada’s roster, which features players from Canada’s World Championship team that won silver in Malmo, Sweden, last year, and players from Canada’s 2015 4 Nations Cup squad. The forward is one of two players who will make her first appearance at the world championship.
Turnbull will also play for the Clarkson Cup March 11 to 13 when the Inferno faces off against Les Canadiennes de Montreal. The Clarkson Cup, named after former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson, is awarded annually to the champion of the CWHL.
On Twitter: @NGNewsCarol
Teams she’s played for:
University of Wisconsin Badgers
Canadian Women’s U22 developmental team
Team Canada – 4 Nations Cup 2014
Team Canada – 4 Nations Cup 2015