June 2009: Gina Kingsbury '00
Gina M.A. Kingsbury ’00 achieved a childhood dream when she represented Canada in the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, as a member of the winning women’s hockey team.
Kingsbury started playing hockey at the age of eight in a small town in Northern Quebec called Rouyn-Noranda; she was the only girl. She continued to play boys’ hockey until she was 15 but then realized that if she wanted to pursue her dream of one day representing Canada at the Olympics, she would need to play girls’ hockey. Since that choice wasn't available in her home town, she decided to look at other options.
One such option was going to an American prep school, so Kingsbury visited several. The warm and friendly welcome she received at Hotchkiss immediately convinced her that Hotchkiss was the place for her. In September 1998, she arrived on campus as an upper mid and a member of the Class of 2000.
Kingsbury spent two years at Hotchkiss, playing field hockey, ice hockey, and softball. She says, “My experience at Hotchkiss was one that really shaped who I am. As much as it was a great opportunity to pursue my career as an athlete, I developed academically and personally as well. I truly believe Hotchkiss gave me the tools I needed to pursue my dream of becoming an Olympian and inspired me to seek success in whatever I do.”
After Hotchkiss, Kingsbury received a full scholarship to St. Lawrence University. She was drawn to St. Lawrence for several reasons, one of which was that her Hotchkiss advisor, Christy Cooper, whom she holds in high regard, was an alumna of the University. When she visited St. Lawrence, Kingsbury felt the same type of warm welcome that she had received years earlier at Hotchkiss. She reflects, “My college experience was a remarkable one. I felt very fortunate to be a part of SLU for four years. Being a Saint and playing hockey for St. Lawrence meant a lot to me, as did receiving my B.A. in Psychology. I made the national Under 22 team and also played in the 2001 World Championships. In 2002, I was one of 30 girls competing for the 20 spots on the Olympic team. Unfortunately, I wasn’t chosen. But I kept training with the team and finally got the opportunity to be part of the 2006 Olympic team.”
The Olympic experience for Kingsbury was the culmination of years of work. She had promised herself and her family that she was going to be an Olympian, and with their endless support and encouragement, she succeeded. “My favorite moment during the Games - as much as it was an incredible experience to stand on the blue line and listen to our national anthem with gold around our necks - was entering the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony all dressed in red and knowing that at that point, I had just become an Olympian.”
For the past few years, Kingsbury has been living in Calgary, Alberta, training with the Oval X-Treme, a team based out of the Olympic Oval (where the 1988 Olympic Games were held). She is currently in pursuit of a spot in the 2010 Olympic Games, which will be held in Vancouver. She has been named to the 26-player roster and will compete for one of the 21 final spots on the team. For Kingsbury, participating in the Olympic Games held in her own country would be another dream come true.
Kingsbury says, “At some point, I will set aside some time to reflect and decide upon retiring, perhaps pursuing an M.B.A. and starting a new career.” For the time being, however, she plans to place her focus and energy on one thing, and that is to wear the Canadian jersey for a second Olympic Games.