Clair DeGeorge is crushing 2022.
All the 23-year-old from Anchorage has accomplished in the year is win an NCAA Division I women’s national hockey championship, earn her master’s degree, land a nursing job at a prestigious hospital (hello, Mayo Clinic), make her pro hockey debut, and play before the largest crowd to witness a USA Hockey Women’s National Team game on American soil.
That latter achievement came Sunday in Seattle, where the Americans beat Canada, 4-2, before a crowd of 14,551 at Climate Pledge Arena, home rink of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.
The Americans beat the Canadians three times in the space of six days in the Rivalry Series, an exhibition tour that continues Dec. 15 in Henderson, Nev., and Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. Team USA won 4-3 in a shootout in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Nov. 15 and won 2-1 in Kamloops two nights later.
The USA-Canada women’s rivalry is easily the best in women’s hockey and among the best in all of hockey. Not to put too fine a point on it, but women’s hockey has been played in seven Olympic Games and all seven titles have been earned by either Canada or the United States. Canada has won five gold medals and two silver. The United States has won two gold, four silver and one bronze. Team Canada and Team USA also have accounted for all 19 women’s World Championship gold medals, 10 for the Canadians, nine for the Americans.
In any event, Sunday’s attendance, driven by the Kraken and USA Hockey, no doubt proved an inspiration to both the players on the ice and girls players who saw their heroes skate before a near-capacity crowd.
The game was yet another highlight in DeGeorge’s career, which began in youth hockey in Anchorage, where she played for the Alaska All Stars, the AHA North Stars and the Southcentral Wolves. From there, she won four USA Hockey national championships in high school at perennial power Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn., and began representing USA Hockey internationally.
DeGeorge then played four seasons at Bemidji State (Minn.) of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and earned her undergraduate nursing degree. She played a graduate season at Ohio State of the WCHA, helping the Buckeyes go 32-6-0 and seize the national title.
All DeGeorge mustered when it mattered most was excellence. She scored two goals in the NCAA quarterfinal, including the dagger in double overtime of the 4-3 win over Quinnipiac. She furnished one goal, one assist and a game high-tying seven shots on goal in Ohio State’s championship 3-2 win over fellow WCHA member Minnesota-Duluth.
DeGeorge last season racked 16-30—46 scoring totals in 38 games. That gave her 44-81—125 totals in 166 college games to push her into the No. 3 all-time spot among Alaska women’s scorers in NCAA Division I.
DeGeorge earlier this season made her pro debut on one of the teams put together by the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association.