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Canada basketball
Nick Davis

Carol Hamilton-Goodale's basketball dream lives on

Carol Hamilton-Goodale may be one of the best women's basketball players to come out of Canada that not many in today’s basketball circles may know about.

The first-ever Canadian woman selected in the WNBA Draft, Carol was a pioneer in Canadian basketball.

Honoured as one of U SPORTS Top 100 women’s basketball players of the century in 2020, she did it all on the Canadian university stage. She starred for three years for the Laurentian Voyageurs, where she went on to win the Nan Cops Award winner for the CIS Player of the Year in 1984-86.

In three seasons with the Voyageurs, Carol was a three-time First Team All-Canadian and led the team to a 53-8 record.

The Sudbury, Ont. product went on to be a 12-year member of the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team and won a bronze medal with Canada during the 1986 FIBA World Championship for Women — Canada’s second-ever medal at a World Cup.

Not only was she inducted into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame, but was also a recipient of the Harry Jerome Award, an honour bestowed for excellence and achievement in the Black community.

And those are just a few of her accomplishments.

One of the reasons people may not know Carol is because she passed away on March 4, 2003, at just 38 years old, following a courageous battle with cancer.

When Carol left this earth, not only did she leave behind an amazing basketball resume, but she also left behind a loving family who still think about her every day.

Her brother Danney, an educator with the Dufferin-Peel School Board, shared some family memories of Carol’s life and legacy:

“Carol dreamed a little different, thought a little different and played life like how she played basketball. Carol played on levels few would understand. Carol was a consummate professional in all things she did. She made sure that she would never be forgotten. She decided that she would not be a shadow on the wind.  
Many would say Carol was a ferocious competitor. It didn’t matter if she was throwing elbows in men’s leagues or shooting threes from beyond the three-point line or blowing by opponents on the way to a tough layup. Others will tell you she was a kind soul.
Carol wanted to share her love of life through basketball. It was a dream for Carol and her husband to start a non-profit organization called “HomeCourt Basketball”. This afforded many children opportunities to play the sport that put Carol in the international spotlight. Stories of Carol giving up her time for charities or to appear as a guest speaker was common.
The stories behind the light of her legacy sweeps through her nieces.
Caidence Amartey is a dominant guard at Southwest Academy prep school and looking to play Division one basketball in the US. Asia Hamilton a basketball player turned track star is a full scholarship athlete at Boston University. Oceana Hamilton is dominant award-winning international player in Sweden (ironically, Carol also played pro-basketball in Sweden). Savanna Hamilton continued the legacy of Carol as a basketball player before becoming the Raptors sideline reporter.
Even though time has blown by, Carol’s advice to her nieces and everyone she has trained would simply be, dream a little different. Some acts aren’t meant to be followed. Lead in your way. Shine in the face of challenge and you will never be forgotten. You will never be a shadow on the wind.”

Hearing how Carol’s family talk about her one can’t help but feel the impact she had others.

But it’s her sister Sandra Hamilton’s (a basketball legend in her own right) words that capture the true essence of Carol Hamilton-Goodale:

Dearest Carol,
Your passing has left me missing … yearning for my best friend, my basketball comrade, teammate, mom & dad, life coach, my laugh-till-I-cry sidekick, business partner and a big part of my heart all at the same time. I certainly didn’t know you would have had such an impact on my life — only when you left the world did I have any inclination of all the roles you played. 
You taught me how to appreciate my broad shoulders, keep my head up and walk straight. You taught me the importance of how to dress and how to interact with people. You led by example playing hard and practicing hard in everything you did. By watching you, you taught me pride and that women can do anything a man can do (and sometimes better).
I remember that time when dad needed his son to back-in the huge pick-up truck (in the dark) and our big brother couldn’t/refused to back it in. You stuck your hand out for the keys and said, “I’ll do it!” and backed that bad boy in, in one go! You walked in the house seemingly one foot taller, back straight, chest out and hand held high -- keys dangling from your long fingers. “Here you go dad” and you walked away like a rock star!  I had never seen dad look at anyone like how he looked at you that day with such amazement.  He was rarely impressed. But you got to him. It was priceless and I became your number one fan!
You knew who you were at such a young age. You knew what you wanted and used 100% of your energy to get it.  
I was always saddened because racism played such a HUGE part in your basketball endeavours in Canada, and we both knew that basketball was your life. Racism was like a cheating coach and a biased referee. Racism was the sixth man on the court of life that consistently and persistently double-teamed you -- one at the back and the other with its hand in your face.  Those things were out of your control and I’m so, so sorry.  The racism was petty, merciless, evil and cruel. 
I’ll be forever grateful that we were able to spend a lot of time travelling together, trying out for WNBA teams and a year together playing basketball in Spain before you became very sick. The amazing bonding time we were afforded still swirls around my memory and I yearn to hear your laughter and dance again with you.  
Carol, you did make a huge impact on your community and everyone that encountered you – including the bright-eyed, little, Black girls you encouraged to become whatever they imagined they could be in corporate Canada. 
God blessed me to have you in my life for whatever reason, and today I am so much stronger for it. 
Continue to rest in power (Ice) Queen! 
Love you always, and miss you forever sis, 

As a basketball player Carol earned the nickname “Ice Woman” for her clutch performances, But Sandra said it best – Rest in power “Ice Queen,” may you never be forgotten for the impact you had on others.