Shannon Szabados, the longtime goalie for the Canadian women’s national team, has signed a tryout contract with the Peoria (Ill.) Rivermen of the Southern Professional Hockey League to try and continue her club career playing against men.
Szabados and two male goalies are expected to compete for two roster spots in a training camp ahead of Peoria’s season opener Oct. 21.
The two-time Olympic champion played for the Columbus (Ga.) Cottonmouths of the same league the previous two full seasons, ranking in the bottom half of the SPHL in goalie stats. She ranked second on the team in goalie games played each season.
2014-15: 3.12 GAA, .907 SV%
2015-16: 3.63 GAA, .910 SV%
Columbus was last in the nine-team SPHL last season, while Peoria posted the league’s best regular-season record each of the last two years.
The Canadian national team plays the Four Nations Cup from Nov. 1-5 in Finland, and while Szabados may be allowed by Peoria to take a leave if she makes the team, it’s unknown if she will.
“The schedules really don’t work together, so I have no idea what I’m going to do yet,” Szabados said, according to the Peoria Journal Star. “I have to sit down with Hockey Canada and see what can be worked out. I went to camp with them this month just to keep that door open.
“But I’m ready to get to Peoria and continue focusing on my pro career.”Follow @nzaccardi