“Having the Olympics in Canada, to have it in Calgary in 2026, would be extremely special for me.”
Laura Stacey remembers watching on TV as the crowd erupted during the gold medal games at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Seeing that support and emotion was what allowed her to continue her pursuit towards a career in hockey.
Fast-forward to the PyeongChang Olympics earlier this year, 23-years-old at the time, Stacey was one of the youngest members on Team Canada women’s hockey team. By 2026 she will be 32, and hopes to skate onto the ice in Calgary, to the roar of the Canadian crowd.
“Seeing the fans cheering for the hometown team and that kind of emotion and passion that was displayed during that whole Vancouver Olympics was something that I’ve never seen before and continued that spark in me to pursue my dream,” Stacey recalls. “Seeing the amazing fans in Vancouver, I can only imagine that in Calgary. Anytime the Olympics are in Canada, it’s really special and I think Canada really embraces sport, really embraces our country as a whole.”
The Kleinbrug, Ont., native, has the opportunity to see that home-ice advantage is every game with the Markham Thunder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. After being drafted third overall in the 2016 CWHL draft, she earned her spot onto Canadian Olympic team, who went on to capture the silver medal in PyeongChang, Korea. After her return from the Games, Stacey would help the Thunder to a Clarkson Cup victory, scoring the overtime goal against the Kunlan Red Star.
Recently representing Canada at the 4 Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Sask., she is alongside many of her teammates from those Olympics including Thunder captain, Jocelyne Larocque. Even though she’s been able to don the maple leaf on her chest at multiple tournaments, Larocque believes that the Olympics always brings the country together and Calgary can succeed if they were won the bid.
“Calgary would be a great host city,” Larocque says. “They were already hosts in 1988 so they have that experience. For all those athletes in all sports to represent Canada on home soil, it’ll be even more special than to going to any Olympics in another country. So to be able to host, it would be an all-time honour.”
The citizens of Calgary will cast their votes on Tuesday, November 13, for or against Calgary's bid. The decision does not depend solely on the results, but will hold weight on what Calgary will do moving forward.
Both Stacey and Larocque understand that the 2026 Olympics are still years away, so they are taking it a step at a time. But knowing that there’s an opportunity to wear the Canadian jersey in Calgary, being able to share that experience of hosting an Olympic Games in Canada with the next generation, drives them forward.
“Every time you put that jersey on it means so much,” Stacey begins. “It says, ‘I’m that little girl with that dream and it’s come true.’ Representing such an amazing country and representing so much more than ourselves and our team, trying to leave a footprint on all the little girls and little boys and inspire them and their future. It gives me shivers.”