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No. 2: Noora Räty, Greatest European Goalie in Women's Hockey

October 6, 2016

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that if Noora Raty was able to play for Team USA Canada would have fewer Gold medals. Raty is the definitive number 2 goalie in the world of women’s hockey. This praise does not come lightly either as Raty has the accomplishments to back it up. Go to her Eliteprospects page and take a look for yourself. She’s a winner and often the best goalie in every game she’s played.

 

 

In the 18 years of women’s hockey since the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics the USA has only not played in the Gold Medal Game three times for either the Olympics, World Championships or the 4 Nations Cup. First time was in 2001 where the American team didn’t go because of the events on September 11th. Second time was 2006 Olympics in Torino after a Swedish upset in the semi-finals. Finally in 2013 was the third time at the 4 Nations Cup. It was there that Noora Raty made her mark by upsetting Team USA with a superwoman type performance.

In the most recent Olympics which took place in 2014 Noora Raty and the Fins went home empty handed. Despite that Raty was cited and praised for putting up a stellar performance in Sochi. That was the last that Raty was seen in women’s hockey. She missed the 2015 World Championships due to personal reasons and 2016 in Kamloops due to reasons no one is quite sure of. She hasn’t been spending her time doing nothing though.

 

The past two seasons (2014/15 & 2015/16) Raty has spent playing in Finnish men’s leagues (2nd Tier and 3rd Tier). Apart from making history for being the first female goalie and first female Finnish player to play in those two respective leagues, Noora Raty has earned her place in the leagues with her play. In fact this past season Noora Raty played all three of her team’s games in the playoffs winning one in the process (was eliminated 2-1 in the series).

What about the on-ice aspects of Noora Raty? Her playstyle is loved by fans who like “athletic” goalies. Raty is one of the best in her side-to-side movement. The use of her edges and leg strength while being down low is phenomenal. Scoring low on her is nearly impossible as she not only seals the bottom of the net Raty also tracks the puck very well down low. When you play like Raty does you have to be good at tracking the puck low to the ice.

 

What else is there to love about Noora Raty? She’s an absolute competitor who doesn’t want to play unless she’s the best. That type of attitude reminds me of Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy. Roy didn’t want to play unless he was at the top of the game and Raty is the same which is why she retired (temporarily) after the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Thankfully Raty came back and is training like the elite athlete she is. Women’s hockey fans might have to wait until the 2018 Winter Olympics to see Raty again but it will be worth it.   

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