Jessica Wong Looks to Extend Glorious Career in CWHL

Mark StaffieriContributor IIJune 26, 2013

Mobbed by her teammates after scoring the goal that won the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four (Image by Dawn Villela, Associated Press)
Mobbed by her teammates after scoring the goal that won the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four (Image by Dawn Villela, Associated Press)

With the loss of many CWHL stars for the 2013-14 campaign (in anticipation of the Sochi Winter Games), Jessica Wong is the type of player that can not only fill the gap, but serve as a building block for the future. Having played with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for legendary coach Shannon Miller (coach of the 1998 Canadian national team at the Nagano Winter Games), Wong is a fundamentally sound player.

Having served as the captain of the Bulldogs during the 2012-13 campaign, Wong understands the responsibilities of leadership. While she was recruited as a forward by Miller, Wong showed what makes her such a great team player by converting to defense later in her career.

The versatility did not dampen Wong’s scoring touch, as she would graduate as the all-time leader in goal scoring among UMD defenders. On October 7, 2012, she joined the Bulldogs' exclusive 100-point club. In addition, she joined Jocelyne Larocque as only the second Bulldogs defender to reach the century mark.

She would finish her career with 48 goals and 74 assists for a career total of 122 points.

Of note, the final goal of her NCAA career would come in a 4-2 win on February 10 against the MSU-Mankato Mavericks. Erin Krichiver was the goaltender of record in the game. Her final point would come twelve days later in a 4-1 loss to North Dakota (who set a program record for most wins in one season with the victory against the Bulldogs). Wong would assist on the lone Bulldogs goal scored by Brigette Lacquette.

During her time with the Bulldogs, she also donned the sweater of the Canadian National Under-22/Development Team. The pride of Baddeck, Nova Scotia, she would help Canada grab two consecutive gold medals in the MLP Nations Cup (2010 and 2011). During the 2010 gold medal match, she scored twice on a team that featured future CWHL stars such as Ann-Sophie Bettez, Emmanuelle Blais and Natalie Spooner.

Her true legacy in NCAA hockey was made in her freshman season. With 33.6 seconds remaining in the third overtime, Wong scored the goal that helped the Bulldogs capture their fifth NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. 

She would redirect a shot by Tara Gray (currently competing with the Brampton Thunder in the CWHL) for the 3-2 victory against the Cornell Big Red. Ironically, the goaltender for Cornell was Amanda Mazzotta (who played with Wong on the Under-22 Canadian Team). Her historic goal was immortalized in a painting near the player’s entrance at AMSOIL Arena (home of the Bulldogs).

Highly motivated with a desire to succeed, she would be an ideal fit on any CWHL roster. Should Wong prefer to play close to her hometown in Nova Scotia, Boston and Montreal would be the most desirable locations geographically. Of note, Montreal features UMD Bulldogs alumnae Noemie Marin and Blais (who played with Wong on the 2010 championship team).

Wong also competed at the junior hockey level in the province of Ontario. With the Greater Toronto Area featuring two CWHL franchises (the Brampton Thunder and the Toronto Furies), it would certainly represent familiar surroundings for Wong. As Brampton and Toronto will be losing players at the forward and defensive positions to Canada’s centralization camp, Wong’s versatility could strengthen either roster.

A proven winner at the NCAA and international level, Wong is assiduous, coachable and driven. She has all the qualities of a future captain in the making at the CWHL level. Her team-first approach is her finest quality; one that may point towards possibly becoming a top-ten pick in the 2013 CWHL Draft.