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Dinos’ Jenna Smith signs pro deal in Sweden

Sonny Sachdeva, September 3 2015 —

The Dinos women’s hockey team is no stranger to star power. That’s par for the course when you have Canadian legend Hayley Wickenheiser suiting up for you every night while head coach Danielle Goyette, a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame, calls shots from the bench.

But the Dinos’ prestige is growing stronger still, as one of the team’s recent star forwards, Jenna Smith, has signed a professional deal with one of Europe’s top clubs — HV71, based out of Jönköping, Sweden.

Smith competed for the Dinos for the last five years. She was the club’s third-highest scorer last season, posting 31 points in 32 games. However, her finest effort came during her rookie campaign in 2011, when she led all rookies in scoring before earning the title of Canada West Rookie of the Year and Dinos Rookie of the Year. The following season, Smith helped the Dinos claim the CIS Championship. Smith also suited up for Team Canada at the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy — the only Dino who made the team — and scored three points in the gold medal game to help Canada win the tournament.

Smith certainly has her work cut out for her. Sweden is widely regarded as one of the top hockey nations in the world, so the competition is sure to be strong. But she’s aware and ready for the challenges the move will bring. Smith will be competing in the Riksserien league — the highest level of women’s hockey in Sweden.

“The league that I am going to is supposed to be the top women’s league in all of Europe,” Smith said. “[HV71] are actually entering their first year in the top division. I know they have done very well in the second division the last couple years. They have recruited very well — the captain of Team Sweden is playing with us.”

Smith will head to Jönköping with teammate Chelsea Peterson, who will also play for HV71 after suiting up for the past five Dinos seasons. The pair will join Emma Stauber and Delaney Middlebrook as the only North Americans on the Swedish club’s roster.

While they’re sure to skate with some accomplished European players, that won’t be anything new for the Dinos duo, who spent a fair amount of time with five-time Olympic champion Wickenheiser during their tenure at the University of Calgary.

“She taught me so much in my first year there, helped me be calm with the puck and believe in myself,” Smith said of her veteran teammate. “She helped me be a leader. She worked with me one-on-one. She is just an outstanding person to be with and to be friends with now. It is just unbelievable that I even got that opportunity.”

HV71 will begin their 2015–16 season on September 12 when they face off against storied Swedish club AIK.

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