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Natalie Spooner makes Canada roster for hockey worlds, 3 months after childbirth

Natalie Spooner

BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 17: Natalie Spooner #24 of Team Canada celebrates winning a gold medal after the Women’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal match between Team Canada and Team United States on Day 13 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Wukesong Sports Centre on February 17, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Natalie Spooner, a three-time Olympic medalist forward, made Canada’s hockey roster for next month’s world championship, three months after childbirth.

Spooner, 32, had son Rory on Dec. 6. She was named to Canada’s 23-player team for worlds, which it hosts in Brampton, on Thursday.

“People think this type of comeback is impossible,” Spooner said in a video posted on her social media. “I want to show you how important it is to chase what you love, how important it is to try. So mommy’s going to try because she thinks impossible is a super silly idea.”

Spooner, who made her national team debut in 2008, is the not the first player to return to the national team from childbirth.

Notably, defender Meaghan Mikkelson, a three-time Olympian and Spooner’s partner on “The Amazing Race Canada” in 2014, came back from 2015 childbirth to make world championship teams in 2016 and 2017 and the 2018 Olympic team. She returned from 2019 childbirth to make the 2022 World Championship team.

The Canadian roster for April’s worlds includes all of its biggest names from last year’s Olympic champion team: MVP Brianne Jenner and fellow all-tournament players Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Nurse and Claire Thompson, plus No. 1 goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens.

Not on the team: Mélodie Daoust, the MVP of the 2018 Olympics and 2021 World Championship who also wasn’t on the team for last summer’s worlds or a recent seven-game exhibition series against the U.S.

The U.S. roster for worlds has not been released, but it will not include stalwart forwards Kendall Coyne Schofield (pregnant) and Brianna Decker (retired).

Canada won the last three major international tournaments -- worlds in 2021 and 2022 and Olympics in 2022 -- its first win streak since 2004.

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