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Duo Returns to Concordia

By Archives November 4, 2008

Some of the best women’s hockey players in the world were at Concordia’s Ed Meagher arena on Saturday night. From Hayley Wickenheiser to Gillian Apps to Kim St. Pierre to Jayna Hefford, they were all wearing red and white at Concordia’s home arena.
However, there were some people who were familiar with the arena. St. Pierre and Charline Labonté, who grew accustomed to the rink while playing for the McGill Martlets. Catherine Ward, who plays with Labonté at McGill, is familiar with it because her CÉGEP team, the Dawson Blues, made it their home rink.
But two members of Team Canada knew the arena because they played for, and one of them coached, the Stingers.
Julie Healy was an assistant coach at Concordia for 14 seasons. Prior to that, she played for the team while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She is now the director of female hockey at Hockey Canada.
“My best memories as a player were winning four league championships in a row,” Healy said. “And as a coach, winning the two national championships in 1998 and 1999. It was a lot of fun. We coached a lot of great athletes and people who have done a lot of great things and some of the people I played with are still friends. You make connections for life, that’s the best way to describe life at the university,” she said.
Healy was named to her current position in August 2002 and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of female development and high performance including the National women’s team, the National women’s under-22 team and the National women’s under-18 team.
Under her control, teams have won gold medals at eight international tournaments.
“Everything I did definitely helped me to be qualified for this position and allowed me to be able to make changes once I got it,” she said. “When I started playing at John Abbott College and at Concordia, I wouldn’t have dreamed about getting this job because nothing like this existed. So I’m pretty honoured to have this job.”
Caroline Ouellette only played at Concordia for a semester in 2000-2001. In her seven games as a Stinger, Ouellette scored 12 goals and added seven assists and did not take a penalty.
“What I remember the most is the tradition behind Stingers women’s hockey,” she said. “There’s a long history of excellence. When I played here there were a lot of great hockey players.”
From Concordia, she spent a year isolated with the National team before playing three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she averaged over two points per game over her 97 games.
“It’s always special to come back to Montreal, and to come back to this rink is very special,” Ouellette said. “I grew up watching the Stingers and to come here and play in front of family and friends is very special.”
Ouellette was recently asked to switch from forward to defence.
“It was a difficult transition. I’ve grown up my whole life playing forward, but I take it as a challenge,” she said. “They put me there to bring offence, so that’s what I try and do – be a forward from back there.”
She showed that in the game on Saturday. She took the puck from the left side of the defensive blueline, skated into the offensive zone on the right wing and fed a hard pass to Gillian Apps who made no mistake to score Canada’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Chateauguay Patriotes, a Midget AAA team.
Ouellette was also named an assistant captain for the game, which comprised of players who were picked from Team Canada to play in the upcoming Four Nations Cup, which starts Tuesday.
“It is a great honour to represent your country and play for Team Canada,” she said. “When they identify you as a leader it’s an even greater honour. I just try to not change how I play and bring the same intensity.”