Melodie Daoust Represents the Future of Women's Hockey

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIOctober 13, 2012

With the McGill Martlets (photo by Marco Campanozzi, La Presse)
With the McGill Martlets (photo by Marco Campanozzi, La Presse)

Quite possibly the world’s finest women’s hockey player under the age of 22, Melodie Daoust is a force to be reckoned with.

Her superlative skating, no-look passes and spin moves make her the human highlight reel of women’s hockey. The 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Rookie of the Year, Daoust first rose to national prominence in 2010.

Playing with talent like Laurie Kingsbury, Cassandra Poudrier and Jillian Saulnier, Daoust helped Canada win its first-ever gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships.

Along with her teammates, she was part of the Canada Celebrates festivities on June 28, 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta. The event also featured the double gold-medal-winning Canadian men's and women's squads from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

“I was really impressed with being there. You can only meet Sidney Crosby or the best women’s players once in your life. Getting my picture taken with Crosby was the best moment of my life. Being with my teammates and getting championship rings. We celebrate that moment whenever we see each other. We still remember that moment and share the experience of being together getting the rings.”

As an added bonus, all members of the 2010 Under-18 team were featured on trading cards in the Upper Deck 2011 World of Sports collection. “I am shy about it. I am not used to those kinds of things and do not know if I will ever get used to it. It showed we worked hard, and our hard work was recognized.”

Prior to McGill, Daoust competed with Laurie Kingsbury on the Lac St. Louis Selects and was a member of the Lynx du College Edouard Montpetit. She was even an emergency call-up for the Montreal Stars in a January 8, 2011 contest versus the now defunct Burlington Barracudas.

In a 9-3 whitewash for the Stars (which included 52 Stars shots), Daoust had three assists (the goals were scored by Caroline Ouellette, Lisa Marie Breton, and Annie Guay). “At first, I was really nervous, and really young. To play with Caroline Ouellette and Kim St. Pierre was really good. A good moment for me. Although I was still improving my play, to play at that level was a good experience.”

Ann-Sophie Bettez, the 2012 BLG Award winner, a teammate with Daoust during her rookie season at McGill, believes that Daoust will return to the Stars in the future. “I think so. Considering nine of us (McGill alumni) are here (with the Stars). It is a usual path for many girls who graduate from university.”

The 20-year-old Daoust also works as a hockey instructor (with Doyle Hockey Development) and is already a hero to many young girls in Quebec. “It is really flattering. I want to help women’s hockey grow. I am involved with a really good program.”

Prior to joining the McGill Martlets, Daoust turned down a full scholarship from the Boston University Terriers, among others. “Every NCAA school that recruited me offered full scholarships, expect for the Ivy League schools (writer’s note: Ivy League schools do not offer full scholarships). McGill is like an Ivy League school, and because it is a Canadian school, it is important to be part of the Canadian league (CIS), and make it proud.”

Daoust continued, “Representing a Canadian school is really good and McGill is the best university in Canada. As a future Physical Education teacher, McGill is the best fit for me.”

In the spring of 2012, McGill had its finest women’s hockey graduating class ever. Said class included three members (although two were former) members of the Canadian national team; Charline Labonte, Cathy Chartrand and Ann-Sophie Bettez.

While the loss would have been devastating to some schools, Daoust approaches it with great maturity and acumen, “Every year we lose players. We adapt to the new ones we have. We filled the spots we lost with very good players (Pamela Psihogios, Gabrielle Davidson, Bianca Della Porta, and Taylor Hough), and other players on the team have grown up. I believe we have grown as a team and will continue to get better once we are together.”

As one of the more accomplished players on the Martlets, Daoust sees herself as a leader, “I think so. I am not a big speaker but I work in practice and in the game. I give 100 percent on every shift, and try to do the little details. Players look up to that game.”

Invited to the 2012 Canadian national women’s team autumn camp, Daoust found the experience important. “It was really good. Every time you go there, you learn so much. You cannot go there and expect not to learn. How you improve is by playing with the best players.”

"All quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise indicated"