Former Toronto Furies Take Flight
Toronto, ON (September 13, 2018) – A new season means new faces but it also means saying goodbye to a few too. The Toronto Furies are sad to see seven of their players move on this year, but wish them the best with their new teams and new endeavors and will always consider each of them a member of the “Furies Family.”
Three former players are continuing their hockey careers in other leagues across the globe. Hayley Williams joined the Furies for the 2017- 2018 season after a season with the Brampton Thunder. This upcoming season she will be moving to the Russian Women’s Hockey League as a member of the SK Mountain. The team will start their season in Ukhta, Russia and then move to St. Petersburgh in mid-October. Williams says that even though there is a language barrier, her new team has made her feel welcome.
“I loved so many things about the Furies and my decision to come to Russia was bittersweet,” said Hayley Williams. “I loved my teammates, I loved our road trips and our trip to China. I loved carpooling to practice with Bru (Alexa Aramburu). I loved the staff, the fans, and the city of Toronto. The Furies will always, always hold a huge place in my heart. I am looking forward to being a full time athlete and to learn Russian culture, language, and style of play. I am excited to practice and train every day and with 42 regular season games it is something I have not experienced before. I am excited about the unknown and to bring great stories home.”
Sonja Van Der Bliek has also gone overseas this season to play in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League. After three season with the Furies starting in the 2015- 2016 season, and after a brief stint with the Brampton Thunder, Van Der Bliek joins the Brynäs IF in Gävle, Sweden. She says she’s excited to embrace the culture in Sweden, get to know her new teammates and contribute to a successful season on the ice.
“It was an honour to be a part of the Toronto Furies,” said Van Der Bliek. “I loved my teammates and always looked forward to coming to the rink. I also loved being able to inspire the next generation and seeing the effect that our team and league has had on so many young hockey players.”
Alexa Aramburu who spent last season with the Furies has gone south of the boarder to play in her home state and be close to friends and family. She has joined the NWHL as a member of the Metropolitan Riverters based in Newark, New Jersey. Aramburu says that although she will always cherish the bonds she made in Toronto, she’s excited to create new bonds with her new team.
“Being a member of the Furies was a dream come true,” said Aramburu. “I had my goals set to be a part of the Furies throughout my college career and it’s what I was working towards. I loved my teammates and the bond we all shared on and off the ice. Especially the bond I had created through the road trips to and from practice with my Buffalo buddy, Hayley Williams.”
A few other players have decided to take a step back from hockey. Some have made this decision based on health or personal reasons, while others have decided to focus on their careers outside of hockey.
Danielle Gagne joined the Furies during the 2016-2017 season and played for the team for two seasons. She has decided to take a year away from the game to focus on work and herself. Gagne was given an opportunity to travel to North America to advance her career, and hopes that next season she can find a way to balance her growing career and hockey.
“I loved being with the Furies and a member of the CWHL because there’s an understanding that we are all there because we actually love the game and want to continue to play as long as possible,” said Gagne. “It’s not easy, and it never will be. We all work full time, train full time, or are in school full time and it brings out a new level in yourself to find the time and energy and focus to be a professional women’s hockey player. For the Furies, we will have so many new faces and I’m so excited to see how things will go this season. Personally, I am excited to see how I grow this year without hockey, but I also know it’s going to make me want to come back more than ever.”
Jessica O’Grady joined the team last season. After lots of thought, she has decided to retire from the game. O’Grady was sidelined for most of the season with a concussion. Because of the health concern she has to step away from the game even though she would still love to play.
“I realized that my health is more important as I have had quite a few concussions in my career and the best thing to do is to step away from the game,” said O’Grady. “The Furies is a fantastic organization and I loved the team, the staff and more importantly the fans and being a part of something bigger than hockey. The Furies organization is incredible and treated me well. I’m looking forward to traveling home to Ottawa more often and seeing family, along with focusing on my career in the sports industry. I will continue to help grow the game as much as I can!”
Casiddy Delainey played for the Furies throughout the 2017-2018 season. She’s leaving the CWHL to spend more time with her wife and dog. Delainey has relocated to Fredericton, where there isn’t a professional team to play for. Instead, she has started working as the UNB women’s hockey team’s power skating and skills coach where her wife serves as head coach. Delainey has also taking on the role of head coach of a high school hockey team while she works as a substitute teacher.
“I loved my time as a member of the Toronto Furies,” said Delainey. “It gave me the chance to play at the highest level possible and travel to places I had never been before! I wish nothing but the best to my Furies teammates and can’t wait to watch them this season go for the Clarkson Cup! I am looking forward to taking a step back from playing, and coaching the next generation of CWHL players.”
Ella Stewart was with the team for three seasons, since 2015-2016. This season she has decided to take time off to concentrate on her career. Hockey will still be a part of her life, but for now it will have to wait.
“What I loved about being a member of the Furies was getting to continue to play hockey at the highest level and being a part of a team again,” said Stewart. “What I’m looking forward to this year is watching the Furies.”
The Toronto Furies would like to express their gratitude to these players for the talent they each brought to the team, as well as their commitment to growing the game within the Toronto community, and wish them well in the future.
Come see the Toronto Furies hit the ice – season tickets available now for $175 at
Sami Jo Small
GM, Toronto Furies
400 Kipling Ave.