Granato misses play­ing days

U.S. women’s star her­alded as pi­o­neer

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - STEVE EWEN

Shan­non Miller talk­ing up Cammi Granato is a lit­tle like a Hat­field writ­ing a ref­er­ence let­ter for a McCoy.

Then again, there may be no more ring­ing en­dorse­ment for Granato, the for­mer U.S. women’s hockey star now liv­ing in Van­cou­ver, than from a one-time arch neme­sis.

“I hate to use the word ‘pi­o­neer,’ be­cause she’s so young,” said Miller, the cur­rent coach of the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota-Du­luth who was bench boss of the Cana­dian squad when the ri­valry took off.

“But what a great per­son, what a great cap­tain. She’s been the best role model for their pro­gram and she’ll prob­a­bly be the best role model they ever have.

“Her team­mates were crushed when she didn’t make their team. That tells you a lot about her.

“I don’t know if USA Hockey is us­ing her in any way, shape or form, but if they are not, that’s a huge loss for fe­male hockey, be­cause of the hu­man be­ing she is and the lead­er­ship she can pro­vide. There have been lots of great women play­ing the game, but ones like her are few and far be­tween. I have a great deal of re­spect for her.”

The only hockey Granato, 38, is in­volved in reg­u­larly now is on the car­pet at home, with mini-sticks. Hus­band Ray Fer­raro, the for­mer NHLer, and their three-year-old son Ri­ley are her usual line­mates. Granato gave birth to son Reese in De­cem­ber.

The sport is never far away from her, though. Fer­raro has two sons from his first mar­riage: Matt, 21, was a ju­nior A goal­tender; Lan­don, 18, is a star for­ward with the West­ern Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels and was a sec­ond-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings last sum­mer.

Granato will take a turn on TV with this tour­na­ment, do­ing stu­dio work for NBC for women’s games.

And, from the sounds of the Amer­i­can play­ers, it will mean a lit­tle ex­tra some­thing that she’s here to watch them.

“I re­mem­ber at one train­ing camp I sat to next to her and it was a thrill to be that close to her,” said Amer­i­can for­ward Karen Thatcher. “The way a young boy now looks up to a Crosby or an Ovechkin … she was that player to us.

“I think Cammi is still the tra­di­tion and the heart and soul of USA women’s hockey. Her in­flu­ence on the sport can’t be mea­sured.

“It’s nice that she’s there. She still means a lot to the pro­gram. Just know­ing she’s go­ing to be around is huge to us.”

RICK MACWILLIAM, THE JOUR­NAL, FILE

Cammi Granato plays against the Ed­mon­ton Chi­mos as cap­tain of the B.C. Break­ers in 2005.

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