Shannon Szabados, Olympic gold medallist, to sign with men's pro team 0
Team Canada goaltender Shannon Szabados leaves the rink after practicing with the Oilers in Edmonton on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency)
Shannon Szabados, who just last month backstopped Team Canada to a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the United States for Olympic gold in women's hockey at the Sochi Games, is set to sign on with a men's professional team.
Also Canada's goalie at the Vancouver Olympics, Szabados is expected to join the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League, the Georgia-based team announced Friday.
Over its 10-year history, the SPHL, an 'A' professional league, has never had a woman suit up.
"Shannon has won at every level she has played, in women's hockey or men's hockey," Cottonmouths coach Jerome Bechard said.
Columbus has plans to officially introduce Szabados next Thursday and, according to Bechard, "will play when she feels comfortable and situated."
This won't be the first time Szabados has played high-level hockey with men.
Szabados, an Edmonton native, made international headlines earlier this week when she practised with the NHL's Oilers.
The 27-year-old was also a member of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's men's hockey team. There, Szabados played with current Cottonmouths Jordan Draper, Andy Willigar and Kyle Johnson, who apparently referred her to Bechard.
Previously, Szabados played four years of Alberta Jr. A men's hockey.