The Red Bull Crashed Ice world championships for women were held in Quebec City on March 16 and 17, 2013. First and third place went to a pair of women’s hockey players with roots in the Ottawa, Ontario area. Dominique Thibault, a second year competitor in Red Bull Crashed Ice finished first, while defending world champion Fannie Desforges ranked third. Salla Kyhala of Finland finished in second for the second consecutive season.
Thibault, a 5’11”, 24-year-old from L’Orignal, Ontario currently competes with the Montreal Stars. Having won a Clarkson Cup with the Stars in 2011 and 2012, she is aiming for a third consecutive Cup this season. In addition, she has also competed in a Reality TV program on Quebec television.
This year, Thibault participated in 21 games with the Stars and accumulated nine points (on five goals and four assists). In games where she logged a point, the Stars enjoyed a won-loss record of 7-1-0. A two point performance on December 9, 2012 against Brampton was her best of the season.
Desforges entered the World Championships in Quebec with great momentum. Not only was she the defending World Champion, but she had also won a Red Bull event in Niagara Falls during December 2012. The 2013 final marked the first time that Thibault and Desforges would race against each other.
Regarding her hockey career, Desforges finished her fifth and final season with the University of Ottawa Gee Gees women’s hockey program. In her final season, Desforges earned 13 points in 18 games played and was also the Gee Gees team captain. She will be eligible for the 2013 CWHL Draft.
In 2012, Thibault was a rookie on the Red Bull Crashed Ice circuit while Desforges was an experienced racer. Thibault had earned her spot in 2012 by qualifying in Toronto as the fastest woman at the qualifier. Although she did not finish in the top three during 2012, Thibault managed to compete in the quarterfinals of the event.
Desforges competed in the first heat of the 2013 Quarterfinals with the fastest time qualifying. In the heat, she finished in first ahead of Julie Savoie, Junko Yamamoto and former Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey player Tia Hanson. Desforges would be one of three Gee Gees women’s hockey players competing in the final.
Thibault had the second fastest time in qualifying and was in the third heat of the quarterfinals. One of her competitors was her sister Andreanne Thibault, who competed with the Minnesota-State University Mavericks. Another women’s hockey player was also in the heat with the Thibault sisters, Dominique Lefebvre (a teammate of Desforges on the Gee Gees) finished second to Dominique to qualify for the semis.
The fourth heat featured Gee Gees player Alicia Blomberg, who had the third fastest time in qualifying. She would win the heat ahead of Danielle Bergen, Melissa Assad Parenteau and Elaine Topolinsky. Of note, Salla Kyhala finished in second place in the second heat of the quarterfinals.
Desforges and Kyhala would finish first and second in the first semifinals to qualify for the World Championship final. The second heat featured three women’s hockey players (Blomberg, Lefebvre, Thibault) along with Danielle Bergen, another Canadian competitor. Blomberg would win the heat ahead of Thibault to qualify for the final.
Ironically, both Desforges and Thibault work as substitute teachers. While Desforges was unable to repeat as World Champion, she can enjoy the fact that a good friend earned first. Her Gee Gees teammate Blomberg finished fourth. Along with Blomberg, they donned hockey jerseys as they soared down the ice. Desforges and Thibault hugged each other after an emotional race where Thibault can proudly call herself a champion.