Ann-Sophie Bettez had resigned herself to life outside of the national team spotlight. At 31, it felt like her time to make Team Canada had passed. Nearly a decade ago, she had been a member of the under-22 development team, but in the time since her release, and without so much as a single game back in the red and white, she had moved on. “For me, I was just playing hockey for the love of it, being with my friends, trying to be in shape during the summertime and making sure I got my workouts in,” Bettez said. “But I wasn’t working towards making a team or being on the national-team level because in my mind it was gone.”
Bettez was satisfied with this life, too. She was happy in her career as a financial planner and happier yet that she could continue to compete at the professional level with the CWHL’s Montreal Les Canadiennes. But if she wasn’t striving to take the next step and prove herself to be among the world’s elite talent, it was hard to tell. Bettez’s brilliance in the CWHL is almost unrivalled. In each of her seven seasons, she’s been a top-five scorer, compiling an awe-inspiring 118 goals and 263 points in 170 games and forming one of the league’s most formidable duos alongside Marie-Philip Poulin.
That led to this past February, when finally, at long last, her performance forced Hockey Canada to sit up and take notice. For the first time since January 2010, she got the call to join the national team, suiting up in the three-game Rivalry Series against Team USA. Though she didn’t find the scoresheet in the series, Bettez impressed, earning minutes on the power play and proving she could hang with the best in the biggest rivalry in the sport. And when it came time to pick the roster for the World Championship? Bettez made the cut once again.
Competing at the worlds will be the realization of a dream for Bettez, though she acknowledges that she, like many young girls who grew up playing the game, has envisioned pulling on the maple leaf at the Olympics. If she’s going to get there, though, she’s taking it one step at a time. “My path has been kind of different,” Bettez said. “But at the end of the day, that’s why I kind of don’t want to put any pressure or set goals for the long term…If you’re able to perform, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. And to me, I’m doing everything I can to be able to be in my top shape in order to be the best I can be at that level.”