Brampton's Big Three Eager to Win Elusive Clarkson Cup

Mark StaffieriContributor IIMarch 11, 2013

(Left to right in Brampton uniform): Jayna Hefford, Lori Dupuis and Gillian Apps, Image by Finn O'Hara
(Left to right in Brampton uniform): Jayna Hefford, Lori Dupuis and Gillian Apps, Image by Finn O'Hara

In the history of the CWHL, very few teams can boast a titanic trio as prolific as Gillian Apps, Lori Dupuis and Jayna Hefford. Dupuis and Hefford’s careers with Brampton date back to 1999 and have been the heartbeat of the franchise. With the retirement of living legend Vicky Sunohara, the third generation star, Gillian Apps has filled in for her and provided remarkable leadership.

As Brampton’s Big Three, Apps, Dupuis and Hefford have already played twice for the coveted Clarkson Cup but came up short (in 2010 and 2012). With Dupuis approaching 40 and Hefford turning 36, their opportunities to claim a Clarkson Cup are fading quickly. A Clarkson Cup would represent more than just a championship for them, it would be the opportunity to solidify their legacies.

While it is not yet recognized by the IIHF, the Triple Gold Club for Women represents a player that has accomplished three milestones: IIHF World Gold, Winter Games Gold and a Clarkson Cup. Currently, there are seven women that have qualified for the Triple Gold Club (Kim St. Pierre, Caroline Ouellette, Jenny Potter, Sarah Vaillancourt, Meghan Agosta, Marie-Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward). With Apps, Dupuis and Hefford having won IIHF and Winter Games gold, they are possibly the three best Canadian players to have not yet earned Triple Gold Club status.

Although Jayna Hefford will one day earn her rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, along with membership in the Order of Hockey in Canada, a Clarkson Cup is the last piece in a sparkling career that has inspired thousands of girls to play hockey. While Hefford is in such superior physical condition that she looks like she could play for another decade, the level of competition in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is only increasing. The thought of Hefford without a Clarkson Cup is like Ernie Banks without a World Series or Dan Marino without a Super Bowl.

One of the most experienced players in the league, Lori Dupuis first came to prominence as a member of the University of Toronto Lady Blues hockey club. One of her teammates with the Lady Blues was Canadian national team member (and famed hockey website contributor) Andria Hunter. With multiple IIHF World Championships and a gold medal from the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, Dupuis has endured a long wait for her chance to achieve Triple Gold Club status.

The youngest member of Brampton’s Big Three would be Gillian Apps. The granddaughter of Stanley Cup champion Syl Apps, her coming-out party was the 2006 Torino Winter Games. If she can claim a Clarkson Cup, it would make her the first woman to accomplish a very unique piece of hockey history. While Apps is not the only CWHL player to have had a father or grandfather compete in the National Hockey League, Apps would become the first Clarkson Cup champion to have had a descendant win a Stanley Cup.