By any criteria, Caroline Ouellette is a superstar athlete. Being inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame last fall was a deserved recognition of the accomplishments as a hockey player. Perhaps her greatest achievement lays in Caroline’s ability to serve as a role model for other young girls so that they too can aspire to play Canada’s national sport on national, international and Olympic ice rinks.

Caroline Ouellette

Caroline was a dominating power forward

During our conversation, Caroline reminisced about having the chance to skate around the Montreal Forum ice surface as a youngster. “After watching The Canadiens on TV with my family, the opportunity I had to skate at the The Forum with my teammates was perhaps the greatest day of my life.” That experience helped to fuel a life-long burning desire to play hockey at the highest level and to eventually run her own hockey school for girls. Caroline continues; “I organize a tournament for girls aged 7 – 15, and all of our final games are played at The Bell centre. It’s a thrill for me to see them get a chance to skate at The Bell Centre!

Caroline’s career spanned an astounding nineteen years from 1999 through to 2018. She played for university teams, Canadian national teams and professional teams.

Caroline Ouellette

Caroline Ouellette has won more consecutive Olympic Gold Medals that any living player

Caroline Ouellette would go on the win four Olympic Gold Medals in Women’s Ice Hockey, multiple World Championships, and take on a leadership role in the early days of Women’s Professional Hockey.

“We were a hockey-mad family when I was young. My parents Nicole and André loved the game, and our house was full of love. I know that I wanted to play hockey, but my Dad was against it. It was my Mom who took me to buy my first pair of hockey skates. Before that, I wore a pair of girl’s figure skates with the pics filed down, but I still kept tripping. Once I started to play on a team, my Dad was my biggest fan!”

“I started playing at nine, which is late compared to the other kids I was playing with. Plus – they were all boys. I was the only girl on my team… for that matter, I was the only girl on either team. I was playing with boys who were in my elementary school, and at times they could be mean.”

“I didn’t stand out as an athlete, but my work ethic allowed me to catch up. I wasn’t naturally fit, so I worked hard and became one of the fittest.”

Caroline Ouellette

Who could predict that 7-year-old Caroline would become an Olympic and IIHF Champion

Before her career in hockey became a viable possibility, Caroline had enrolled in Quebec’s Law Enforcement Academy. Caroline states: “I’ve always had a desire to help others. Coupled with a great respect for police officers, I was dawn to study and train for a job in law enforcement at the National Police Academy in Quebec.” Caroline graduated in 2000.

But she wasn’t through with hockey. Caroline played for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs women’s hockey team.  She set an NCAA record with two shorthanded goals in one game. During the 2004/2005 Season, she was involved in 60% of the Bulldog’s goals. The coach of the Bulldogs was Shannon Miller, a Canadian citizen who would become the coach of the Canadian women’s national Team for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

In Minnesota, Caroline also excelled as a student. “It was the first time I thrived in school. I took a double major in Criminology and Women’s Studies. It was the first time that I wrote a paper in English!”

“Even at 19, I wasn’t overly confident. I knew that I would have to play so well that the coaches would be forced to look at me – to consider me for the National team. I would work so hard that they couldn’t ignore me. When I made the team, I knew deep down that I wanted to do this again, and again… and again!”

Caroline was part of the Team Canada Women’s Hockey Team that won Gold in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002. It would be the first Olympic Gold Medal in a series of four consecutive Gold Medals for Caroline.

“I learned a lot about leadership and its responsibilities from Shannon Miller when she was my coach at the Minnesota University of Duluth for the Bulldogs women’s hockey team, and later as the coach of Canada’s Women’s Olympic team.”  Caroline would take in a leadership role amongst her teammates.

Caroline Ouellette and family

Caroline’s family attended her induction into the Hockey Hall Of Fame

Caroline thought that she’d eventually return to policing, but her outstanding hockey skills would change her career trajectory. She was simply too good as a power forward not to be drafted by women’s professional teams and Canadian teams competing at international tournaments.

After graduating from university and following a season with the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL), Caroline came home to Montreal and played with the Montreal Stars for six seasons from 2008 through to 2015. The Stars morphed into the Les Canadiennes de Montréal.

Caroline’s Olympic and IIHF competitions enabled her to see different parts of the world. “I used my Olympic and IIHF travels to see and experience parts of the world that I would never have been able to afford if it hadn’t been for hockey. It also gave me the chance to have friends all over the world.”

“I never felt that I made sacrifices to compete internationally. Yes – we trained hard and travelled for long periods of time. But I considered it to be an absolute incredible privilege to represent my country.”

After retiring as a player, Caroline has been able to stay active in the hockey community. While still playng, Caroline began her coaching career as an assistant coach with Minnesota Duluth for the 2007-2008 season. Caroline has been a coach with the Concordia Stingers since 2012. “Last year we had a perfect season (26 wins – 0 losses) on our way to with the U Sports Women’s Hockey Championship.”

Caroline Ouellette

A radiant Caroline speaking at her induction to the Hockey Hall Of Fame

Caroline lauds the leadership of former Olympians Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Jennifer Botterill in their broadcasting careers. “Cassie really led the way in broadcasting and is now playing a role in the new PWHL that has been so successful in their first year of operation. I played with Jennifer on our Olympic team and she was my centre. Both of them have opened doors for other women in sports broadcasting”

Caroline has become successful in business, perhaps by  bringing the same personal drive and enthusiasm to her commercial ventures. She continues to run her hockey camp, make motivational speaking engagements, and arrange for sponsorships.

She and her life partner Julie Chiu (American Women’s Hockey Olympian) have two children and work together as coaches for the Concordia Women’s Hockey Team.

“I didn’t have many mentors when I was a young girl starting out to play hockey. Now, we have a professional league and many players who can inspire girls to play hockey. My daughter is in love with Marie-Philippe Poulin!”

Caroline Ouellette is a fine example of how a dream, fuelled by determination and action can become a reality. Along the way she has become an inspiration for generations of girls who now realize that they too can make their dreams come true. Bravo Caroline!