The CWHL All-Star game is upon us.
All-Star captain Natalie Spooner stopped by the Sportsnet headquarters ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. puck drop at the Air Canada Centre for an interview with Sportsnet.ca.
The 2014 Olympic gold medallist has a message for Julie Chu (the veteran American who will captain the other team). She also talked about the talent fans should expect to see, and the time she turned her Thanksgiving meal into a smoothie.
SPORTSNET: This is a classic Canada-USA rivalry in terms of captains: You against Julie Chu. Do you have a message for Captain Chu?
SPOOONER: I’ve got a message for you, Chu. Bring it on. Team white is more than alright. We’re ready to take on your all-stars.
That was excellent. Congratulations on your captain selection.
Thank you. It’s pretty exciting that the fans got to vote, and voted me captain.
Do you think Saturday’s game will be chippy, just like a classic Canada-U.S.A matchup?
I don’t think chippy, but very skillfull. I think it’s gonna be a really fast-paced game and hopefully there will be some nice goals.
What else should we look out for in the All-Star game?
Speed. Probably some good laughs in there—we have a lot of fun at the All-Star game. And hopefully some nice goals. [Look out for] Marie-Philip Poulin. Brianne Jenner. Jess Campbell and Anne-Sophie Bettez are very fast. Everyone is pretty fast, pretty talented. I feel like anyone on any given day could stir up something crazy and have a really nice goal.
[Laughs] I hope so. I hope all of those things. We’ll see how it goes.
How does Friday night’s draft work?
We each pick our starting lineup, and then there’ll be mini sticks in a bucket. We pick mini sticks from the bucket to get the rest of our lineup.
Will the last pick get something sweet, like a car?
Last year the last pick got a flight on Porter. So maybe that will happen again. Last year I was crossing my fingers to be picked last.
What kind of fan turnout are you expecting at Saturday’s game?
It was awesome last year—there was 8,000 people there. Hopefully this year it’s even better than that. We’re hoping to get a lot of people out to make some noise in there and enjoy a great hockey game. You have all the best players in the CWHL in one spot in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, so why not come out and watch? People watch us in the Olympics and then kinda forget about us. You can see the exact same players on the ice together in that game on Saturday.
Good pitch. If you add up all the hardware the players have won—Olympic medals, world championship medals—could you fill a room?
Oh boy. We could probably fill a room. I feel like Wick [Hayley Wickenheiser] could fill a room by herself. With the rest of us, you might get the door shut somehow.
You have a degree in nutrition. So what’s your pre-game meal before the All-Star game?
It’s early in the day, so I will probably not be having pasta and chicken. I’ll probably have eggs on toast. It’ll be a brunch. Fruit, eggs on toast, banana and peanut butter. I’ll mix it up.
I read that you broke your jaw playing hockey when you were a teenager and it was wired shut. Eating must have been hard.
Yeah, it was shut for five-and-a-half weeks. Like [Editor’s note: She shuts her teeth and tries to talk] totally shut. To eat I went [slurping noise] and sucked it through my teeth. It was the worst. I blended up macaroni and cheese. I blended up turkey dinner with lots of gravy. It was so delicious at the time, because all I was having were those Ensure drinks.
You had turkey dinner?
I had turkey, stuffing and gravy. It was Thanksgiving, I had to.
That’s gross. Thanks, Spooner. Good luck to you and your team on Saturday.
To buy tickets for Saturday’s second annual CWHL All-Star Game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, click here. Tickets cost $10.