I really enjoyed this article written by Christian Auclair, Hockey Coach at Lower Canada College in Montreal, following my visit with the girl’s hockey team. I wanted to share it with you! Thank you Christian and LCC for having me share my story with your athletes!

This week, Olympic gold medalist Caroline Ouellette spent an afternoon with LCC’s Girls Hockey team both on the ice and in the classroom. The afternoon started with an in-class presentation, where Caroline discussed the sacrifices, hard work, self-discipline, and other challenges she faced on her journey to the Olympics. Caroline explained to the LCC girls that she made important decisions early on in her high school years; she was not into ‘going out, partying, or trying to be with the in-crowd,’ and only had a couple of good friends in whom she trusted and was focused on doing well in school and improving her game.

One of the more crucial decisions of her life was to leave Montreal and attend the University of Minnesota, and in the process, abandon her career path into law enforcement. “Female hockey players cannot earn a lot of money. However, If you have good grades in school, and you have a talent for hockey, the doors are wide open in terms of earning scholarships to good universities,” explained Ouellette, who through sheer determination and hard work, managed to graduate with distinction from the University of Minnesota without ever having been educated in English. “I have always believed that if you are going to do something in your life, give it your best effort. Yes, I was at the university to develop my skills as a player. But I also had access to this educational opportunity, and I was determined to achieve the best results that I could,” said Ouellette. It was this ethos of striving for excellence, hard work, determination, and self-sacrifice that carried Caroline Ouellette toward her Olympic dream. “When you walk into a stadium, filled with 85,000 people, in your home nation, and you look around and see the emotion, and tears of joy in the faces of your Olympic teammates, you know at that moment, you have achieved your dream.” Throughout Caroline’s presentation, LCC’s girls were enthralled by her inspiring message and were ecstatic when they got the opportunity to hold Caroline’s gold medals.

Following their intimate chat with Caroline, the girls headed to the Chamandy Arena where Caroline provided them with an hour of on-ice training that included some unique, fun drills and a lot of advice, tips, and demonstrations. The girls were encouraged to constantly push themselves, and “be focused on the immediate moment.” Having the opportunity to be coached by a gold medalist was an exciting and eye-opening experience into how one strives to achieve personal excellence. The on-ice session ended with great applause from our girls and many expressions of genuine gratitude.

Over the coming weeks, LCC’s girls are planning to attend a Montreal Stars hockey game and watch Caroline Ouellette in action with her team, which is part of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

—Christian Auclair, LCC Girls Hockey Coach

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