MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Five years after coaching his late daughter Elizabeth Turgeon, Pierre Turgeon returned to coaching girls’ hockey this season.
The former National Hockey League player coached his son’s team since Elizabeth died in a car crash the night before Christmas in 2010, but this was the first year he coached his daughter Valerie Turgeon’s 16-and-Under Colorado Select team. He said Valerie asked him to coach the team.
“I had a chance to spend great quality time with my daughter [Elizabeth] before she passed away, and we had a couple years,” he said during the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Girls National Championships at the New England Sports Center. “I was really able to enjoy the time with her, and I’m trying to do the same thing with my daughter right now.
“She’s my last one, and [I’m] trying to spend as much time with her as I can, and at the same time giving back to other kids.”
Pierre Turgeon played 19 NHL seasons with six teams, including the Colorado Avalanche, before retiring in 2007. He started coaching the next season but didn’t coach quite as much after Elizabeth’s death.
“Ever since Christmas we just took off and are playing better,” Turgeon said on Thursday. “We work. That’s what we do and we’re structured.”
Colorado’s season ended when it lost to Mid-Fairfield 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs. Turgeon said the tournament made Valerie realize what it will take to realize her sister’s unfinished goal of making the U.S. national team.
“It’s something she wants to do, but there’s not many girls that make it, so it’s a fine line,” he said. “But right now she’s enjoying it. She loves the game.”
The Turgeon family was crushed by Team USA’s loss to Canada in the gold-medal game at the recent Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Lyndsey Fry, who plays with Team USA and Harvard University, was best friends with Elizabeth and carried her jersey to every game this past season.
“It was fun to watch,” Turgeon, a French-Canadian, said of the gold-medal game. “I was disappointed. We knew so many girls and Lindsey was carrying Elizabeth’s jersey, so it was a cool thing. We’re really proud of that.
“[Fry is] like our daughter. She was part of our family. And she’s still part of our family, and we like having her home and hopefully she’ll stop by home this summer.”
Two of the most exciting games in the 16U tournament were overtime thrillers.
In the semifinals, Mid-Fairfield beat Chicago Mission 4-3 in overtime to advance to the championship game.
Against Chicago, Paige Lewis scored with about 20 seconds left in OT to give Mid-Fairfield the 4-3 victory. Her teammate Katherine Jackson said the win didn’t sap them for the championship.
“We were really pumped for the game,” she said. “We went through a lot of adversity, so it was a good accomplishment.”
Mid-Fairfield finished second after losing 3-0 to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the title game.
Another OT thriller came on Thursday when the East Coast Wizards defeated Honey Baked 3-2 at the 3:44 mark of the extra session. Jacqueline Diffley got the game-winning goal.
“We had a power play, so we wanted to capitalize,” she said.
On Friday, Honey Baked got revenge by beating Charles River 4-3 in overtime.
Leading the Way
Shannon Griffin of the East Coast Wizards won the scoring title in the 16U division by netting 12 points with nine goals and three assists.
She finished ahead of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s duo Brette Pettet (5-5--10) and Alex Woken (6-4--10) in the point’s race.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.