‘Golden goaler’ Marie-Philip Poulin weighs in on new Habs job and women’s pro hockey – Montreal
Canada women’s hockey team captain Marie-Philip Poulin is the only hockey player in the world, male or female, to score goals in four consecutive Olympic hockey finals.
The 31-year-old from Beauceville, Que., cemented her reputation as a gold goalkeeper by scoring twice, including the eventual winner, in the February final in Beijing, where Canada defeated the United States 3-2.
Poulin leads defending champions Canada to the women’s world championship that starts on Thursday in Herning and Frederikshavn, Denmark. Canada opens in Herning against Finland.
Poulin has scored seven goals in her four Olympic finals, including the late equalizing and OT winner in Canada’s 2014 win, and both goals in 2010 in a 2-0 win over the Americans.
She also scored in regular time in Canada’s 2018 shootout loss to the US.
Her exploits are not limited to the Olympics. Her overtime winner against the US in last year’s World Cup final in Calgary gave Canada its first title in nearly a decade.
Poulin tops all active Canadian players with 88 goals and 96 assists in 153 career games.
She ranks fourth all-time behind Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford, Caroline Ouellette and Danielle Goyette.
Wickenheiser, Hefford and Goyette are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
READ MORE: ‘Great things take time’: Poulin says battle for women’s pro hockey league continues
When Pope Francis spoke about teamwork to an audience in Iqaluit, Nunavut during last month’s papal visit to Canada, he referred to Poulin and her teammate Sarah Nurse by name.
‘I heard that,’ said Poulin. “I got a nice message from my grandmother. I think she’s quite happy with it.”
The Canadian Press had a few questions for Poulin ahead of the World Championship in Denmark. The interview has been edited and shortened for space.
CP: It’s only been six months since the Olympics. This is the third major championship in a year. You’ve had some knee injuries in your career and some international hockey miles coming your way. Why did you want to play this world championship and not take a break?
MPP: “The team we have, it’s been so special over the last few years, we’ve started this culture with Hockey Canada, right through the women’s program which is going really well. I can hardly put a stop to it. We’ve been quite successful with the World Championships and the Olympics over the past year, but we don’t take it for granted. Wearing that Maple Leaf, there’s so much pride in it. It’s an honor every time, so it’s fun. It was a short summer. I’m not going to lie.”
CP: What would it mean for you to lead Canada to a third major title within a year?
MPP: “I haven’t thought that far, but the group we have is very special. There is also a lot of talent coming up and that would of course be an honor. The chance to win these two major tournaments in the past year has been a big confidence boost. It is now a thing of the past for us and now we look at what lies ahead.”
CP: What does your job with the Montreal Canadiens entail and how do you combine that with your playing career?
MPP: “They were aware when I sat down with them that my priority was to play quietly. It is a side job with player development. With the rookie camp in July, I was able to go there for three days, just join in and see how it happens there. It was really interesting for me as a player. I think you see the game a bit differently when you’re on the coach side. I tried to see what they learned and also apply it to my game for me as a player. I’m excited to get a little more involved.”
CP: It is well known that a league with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) is in the works, supported by Billie Jean King Enterprises and the Mark Walter Group. How close do you think you are to achieving the women’s professional league you want?
MPP: “It’s coming. I think we have an investor with us. It’s a slower process than we expected. I think we all know we want a competition tomorrow. We have the right people behind us. We trust them. We have had that association for many years now and we continue to hope and trust those who work behind those closed doors that they have the right intention for us and that it will happen soon.
CP: How long do you want to keep playing for the national team?
MPP: “As long as I can keep up with the youngsters. They are quite talented. I still love it. If I don’t laugh and enjoy it, I know it’s over, but I still enjoy it.”