Caroline Ouellette has been one of the faces of Canada’s women’s hockey program for over a decade. She made her debut on the national team in 1999 as a 19-year-old and hasn’t looked back since. Her hockey resume since is one very long list of individual and team accomplishments.
Her NCAA career was prolific, too. She was a Patty Kazmaier award finalist and remains one of the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s all-time leading scorers.
In the CWHL, she’s won three Clarkson Cups and an Angela James Bowl, awarded to the league’s leading scorer. This February, she also broke Jayna Hefford’s CWHL scoring record.
Her eye-popping point totals at every level she’s played at are a reflection of her good vision and great shot. At 5’10½", she’s one of the league’s taller players and doesn’t shy away from contact, using her body to protect the puck well.
She’s also an incredibly versatile player; Les Canadiennes coach Dany Brunet relies plays Ouellette on both the powerplay and penalty kill.
In a profile by CTV, Ouellette cited former National Team player France St-Louis as her idol, whom she saw win gold at the 1990 World Championships; the first IIHF women’s hockey tournament. She was such a big fan that she enrolled in St-Louis’ hockey camp as a child.
Ouellette’s first World Championships in 1999 was also St-Louis’ last. They were roommates at the tournament and she credits St-Louis with helping her find confidence in her game.
Listening to her interviews, Ouellette’s love for the game is obvious. She may be nearing the end of her career, but if her performance in the past two years with Team Canada and the Stars is any indication, she still has a lot left in the tank. She wrote this about retirement on her blog after winning gold in Sochi:
Now everyone asks if I am retiring. But four Olympics later, I still love it. The goose bumps I felt through my entire body when [Marie-Philip] Poulin scored; nothing in life will ever give me those emotions, that adrenaline rush. How does one move on from that addiction? I want it again and again. They say, ‘’It’s just a game,’’ but when you have done it all your life, you begin blending your self-worth with your accomplishments and defining who you are depending on your performances. Is it really just a game when you have spent 25 years doing it?