The university brings back Olympian to help develop women’s university hockey in Canada
Members of the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team returned to Ed Meagher arena on Saturday afternoon. But this time it wasn’t a usual Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) team wearing the visiting colours.
Former Stinger and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Caroline Ouellette, and some of her Montreal Stars teammates teamed up with the Stingers for a friendly game against Director of Recreation and Athletics, Patrick Boivin, and some of his friends, along with Adam Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Armstrong from the men’s hockey team.
Saturday marked the first time Ouellette was at Concordia since the university renovated the arena back in the summer. The Stars forward played for the Stingers in 2001 and coached the team last year, but spent the past year with the Canadian national team. Ouellette captained Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
This event was to celebrate her career as an athlete, and to raise awareness for women’s hockey programs in Canada, said Boivin.
“She’s the most decorated athlete and ex-Stinger we have,” he said. “Alexandre Bilodeau [comes to Concordia]. He’s a student at JMSB. But he never actually played for us.”
“[We’re] raising awareness for women’s hockey and the role we can play as a university in women’s hockey.”
Boivin said that it’s important that women hockey players know that if they want to go to university and continue playing hockey, that they don’t feel they have to go to the US to do so, because they have some good programs right in their own backyard.
Boivin also added that in the future, he hopes to organize other friendly games and tournaments to help with the development of the women’s hockey program.
The game itself was free and anyone was welcome. The women’s side took the game 7-6, with Ouellette scoring a hat trick, and two assists. It was a back-and-forth contest, and each team took the lead several times in the high scoring affair.
There was an injury scare in the third period. When Boivin’s squad scored to take a 6-5 lead, Stars netminder Catherine Herron stretched out her leg to try to make the save. She went down as the goal-horn went, favouring her outstretched leg. After medical staff tended to her for several minutes, she was able to stay in the game.
After the game, Ouellette met the fans who showed up to the game in the Concordia gym, taking pictures and signing autographs with her Stars teammates.
This isn’t the first time the Stingers have hosted the Stars. Twice this season they played a league game at Ed Meagher arena.
“We’ve built a relationship with them [the Stars],” Boivin said. “We’ve had a lot of our girls who’ve played for us and go on for the Stars afterwards.”
Though the game was free, both teams was accepting donations from spectators, with all proceeds going to a scholarship fund for future players.