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History ‘n’ Hockey: The Ambassador will see you now

On this day in 1958, Margaret Meagher made history when she was appointed ambassador to Israel, becoming Canada’s first female emissary.
Bobby Ryan in December 2013. Photo: Lisa Gansky

On this day in 1958, Margaret Meagher made history when she was appointed ambassador to Israel, becoming Canada’s first female emissary.

A teacher by training, the Halifax native entered into diplomacy during the Second World War when she joined the Department of External Affairs.

New Jersey Devils at Ottawa Senators, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: NJD 2-3-1 (6th in the Metropolitan); OTT 3-2-1 (4th in the Atlantic)

Leading Scorers: Mike Cammalleri (2G, 3A); Kyle Turris (4G, 4A)

Speaking of ambassadors, Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan is arguably hockey’s premier representative for New Jersey. Born in Cherry Hill, Ryan is one of the few active NHLers from the Garden State. Other notables include Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk.

Ryan has the opportunity to light the lamp against his home state’s team tonight, something that Ottawa’s top brass are expecting from him this year. It’s no secret that the former thirty-goal sniper had a down year last season, and with six-years left at an annual average cap hit of $7.25-million, the Senators are hoping to get more significant contributions from him.

While Ryan’s goal output has noticeably declined from his four 30+ seasons in Anaheim, his shooting percentage dipped to a career-low last year and it’s not a stretch to suggest that with some “puck luck” this year, he should be able to pull himself back into the 25-30 goal range.

He has done well against New Jersey in the past and with the Devils struggling out of the gate, this should be an opportune game for Ryan to score his first even-strength goal of the season.

Prediction: Senators by 1

Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks, 10:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: WSH 4-1-0 (3rd in the Metropolitan); VAN 3-1-2 (2nd in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Alex Ovechkin (4G, 1A); Brandon Sutter (2G, 3A)

The Caps will have their work cut out for them tonight as they head into Rogers Arena. Washington is arguably a frontrunner to win the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division, but they simply haven’t fared well in Vancouver.

In their last seven matchups in the Canucks building, Washington has posted a record of 1-0-7 with a combined goal differential of -12. The last time the Caps won in Vancouver? You’d have to go all the way back to Valentine’s Day in 2001. This would have been right around the time that Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” had usurped Shaggy’s infidelity-themed ballad, “It wasn’t me,” for top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Put another way, when Washington last left Vancouver as victors, Connor McDavid had just celebrated his fourth birthday.

Alex Ovechkin has scored in every game he’s played in so far this season, picking up his 900th career point with a goal on Calgary on Tuesday. He will be looking to continue the trend tonight as the Caps continue their Western Canadian road trip. In nine career meetings with the Canucks, Ovechkin has 5 goals and 2 assists.

But standing in his way is goaltender Ryan Miller, who has been superb so far, turning away 157 of the 168 shots he’s faced. Tonight’s contest should make for an interesting tilt as Vancouver is sitting second in the Pacific Division and are top ten in the league for goal differential.

With Ovechkin now reunited with his all-star centre Nick Backstrom, it’s tough to see this one going wrong for Washington, but history suggests that the franchise does not do well in Vancouver.

Prediction: Canucks by 1

Last Minute of Play:

Meagher served in Israel until 1961, at which point she was concurrently appointed as the Canadian high commissioner to Cyprus, before heading up embassies in Austria (1962-1966) and Sweden (1969-1973).

Meagher continued to set firsts throughout her career. In September 1964, she was elected chairperson of the twenty-six country International Atomic Energy Agency, becoming the first woman to assume that role. Not long after her nuclear appointment, she became Canada’s first resident High Commissioner in Nairobi, Kenya.

Meagher passed away on 25 February 1999, leaving behind an important portfolio and legacy as a trailblazer for women in External Affairs.

If you want to hear more about Margaret Meagher, you can listen to her here in an interview with Lloyd Bochner on 18 January 1960.

Prediction Record: 1-2


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