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Welcoming Home a World Champion

Students lined the lane from Renfrew Road to the Main Building on Wednesday afternoon to welcome back Shawnigan ice hockey player Morgan J., who helped Team Canada take gold at the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, which wrapped up on Sunday, January 15.
 
Morgan, a Grade 11 student and the leading scorer of Shawnigan’s U18 Prep girls’ ice hockey team, was the lone Vancouver Island representative on the Canadian team, which clinched gold by beating host Sweden 10-0 in the tournament final.
 
“It was amazing,” Morgan recalled. “I was still in shock, even a few days later. I couldn’t believe it: ‘I’m in Sweden and I just won a gold medal.’”

Her arrival at Shawnigan was capped off as she passed under an arch of hockey sticks before being greeted by Head of School Larry Lamont and U18 Prep girls’ head coach Ms. Carly Haggard and finally being swarmed by her joyous teammates.
 
“I was not expecting that,” Morgan said with a grin. “My dad didn’t even tell me on the whole two-hour drive (from Courtenay). “I was pretty amazed. I thought, ‘this can not be happening.’”
 
Morgan appeared in all five games for Canada and earned accolades for her two-way play and penalty-killing abilities. Her ice time increased steadily over the course of the tournament as she earned opportunities to play in high-stakes situations. She capped off her tournament with more than 15 minutes of action in the gold-medal game against Sweden. Morgan nearly made it 11-0 for Canada late in the third period when she skilfully split the defence and deked out the goalie, but the goal was called back when the officials controversially declared that she made contact with the goalie.
 
“What an incredible accomplishment for Morgan,” Ms. Haggard said. “She has worked so hard and deserves it. Shawnigan Lake School is extremely proud of her. She has a very bright future ahead of her!”
 
That future for this Grade 11 student could very well include a return trip to the U18 Women’s World Championship, which will be held in Switzerland next year. The coaches of this year’s team have already told the players who are eligible to return that they will be counted on to be leaders next year, and Morgan is eager to take up the mantle.
 
“I’ve seen how the second-year players embraced the role as a leader, and I want to be like them,” she said. 

Before coming to Shawnigan, Morgan grew up in Courtenay, BC, and played with Comox Valley Minor Hockey and the Vancouver Island Seals of the BC Elite Ice Hockey League.

Morgan was back on the ice with her Shawnigan teammates on Wednesday evening, and will return to action this coming Saturday for a two-game set against Delta Hockey Academy in Delta. Shawnigan performed well without Morgan, going 3-1 at a Canadian Sport School Hockey League Showcase in Medicine Hat, capping it off with a 10-4 victory over Delta on Sunday.

Morgan has another year at Shawnigan before she graduates. She has already committed to play at Northeastern University in Boston beginning in 2024. She wants to continue to be part of the national program, and has her eyes on competing at the Winter Olympics.
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