The Canadiennes de Montréal forward has been named a skills and development coach
The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team announced on Sept. 29 that Canadian national team and Canadiennes de Montréal forward Caroline Ouellette will be officially joining the team’s coaching staff as a skills and development coach.
“It’s great to be back,” Ouellette said. “I had the opportunity to coach in 2012 and 2013 with Les Lawton, and I really enjoyed my experience being mentored by him. Now, being able to join [head coach] Julie Chu’s staff is incredible.”
As a skills and development coach, Ouellette is looking to provide players with the confidence to take risks on the ice. Ouellette said in order to do this, it will take repetition and hard work, which is something the team is ready to handle.
“One of our challenges this year is to enable the players to play with confidence and give them a skill set that will allow them to take risks,” Ouellette said. “The girls, they want to learn and work hard so it makes my job easier.”
For Ouellette, the fact that she still plays helps her when it comes to coaching because she is able to demonstrate skills at a high level. Ouellette said that playing the game while being a young coach is an asset, and that her and Chu’s experiences help when breaking down film and teaching the team the finer points of the game.
This isn’t the first time Ouellette and Chu have worked together on the ice as they are teammates on Les Canadiennes. The duo also coached together at the University of Minnesota Duluth during the 2007-08 season.
Ouellette said she and Chu have a great friendship, and spending so much time together will make it easier to coach the team.
“Sometimes you know that you won’t agree with one another but when you respect one another and you love one another, it’s easy to get through,” Ouellette said. “You can also feel confident to speak up and give your opinion, and have it be heard.”
“I know that Julie [Chu] has the final word in the end and you have to be loyal as an assistant coach but when it’s one of your great friends, it’s easy to do,” Ouellette added.
In addition to Ouellette, Canadian Olympic hockey player Lauriane Rougeau has also been added to the coaching staff. Chu believes the new coaches bring something unique to the program, and will help her coach in areas where she doesn’t have as much expertise.
“One of the greatest things about being a coach is when you can surround yourself with people who can compliment you and fill in the areas where they will make me better and the program better,” Chu said. “Caro [Ouellette] definitely has a great eye for the skills development side and knows the game.”
Ouellette said that having the opportunity to help coach the team is a “second passion” that rivals playing the game itself. Ouellette added that she is excited to coach young women and help grow the women’s game.
“Being able to provide young girls with opportunities to engage in women’s hockey and to learn from female coaches that have made it to the highest level is a mission of mine,” said Ouellette.