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Concordia Stingers coach Caroline Ouellette makes history as one of only 10 women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

‘So many more women are deserving’
December 1, 2023
Two smiling women in hockey gear, with trophies, and on the right-hand side, with two young children.
At left: Caroline Ouellette (right) with her wife Julie Chu, and pictured right, Ouellette and Chu with their two children.

Some people, it seems, just aren’t made like others. And recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Caroline Ouellette is certainly one of the great ones.

One of only 10 women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ouellette has been officially recognized among the most outstanding hockey players of all time.

The associate head coach of the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team began her career at the age of 9. She started playing hockey with the boys in her Rosemont, Quebec, neighbourhood, despite her father’s objections.

“It’s not that my dad had bad intentions. He had just never seen a girl play hockey,” she says.

Ouellette got her first pair of hockey skates from her mother, despite her father’s initial concerns.

“I was the only girl on my team all those years, until I was 17. I was called every name in the book,” she recounts.

“The moment I gained the right to play, I just embraced it. I was so happy that I was able to overlook all the name calling, because I was getting to do what I loved most.”

Since then, a lot has changed for Ouellette. She has won four Olympic gold medals, six International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship gold medals and six silver medals with Team Canada.

She is also a four-time winner of the Clarkson Cup at the National Women’s Hockey League championship games: three times with the Montreal Stars and once with the Canadiennes de Montréal.

“I won the Clarkson Cup with the Canadiennes de Montréal when I was pregnant with Liv,” Ouellette’ says of her eldest daughter with her wife, Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu.

“I told Julie that I really wanted to win that one so we can say we won it with too many players on the ice,” she quips.

“It’s one of the most memorable moments of my career, aside from the Olympics.”

Ouellette played for Team Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. She says it’s one of the highlights of her time on skates.

“That’s probably the most incredible experience of it all. There’s truly nothing like it, in the sport of hockey,” she notes.

“We were one of 14 Olympic gold medals won by Canadian athletes that year, which was a record at the time, so it was pretty unbelievable.”

There are only 10 women in the Hockey Hall of Fame, despite how many female players have impacted the game. Ouellette alluded to this fact in her acceptance speech, which she gave in Toronto on November 13.

“I truly believe that there are so many more women deserving of the honour,” she says.

“I hope that five years from now, we’ll be seeing 20 women enter the Hall of Fame.”

Ouellette was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in May and was named to the Order of Canada in 2019. She played for the Stingers — who are undefeated this season, at the time of this writing — early on in her career. She became the team’s associate head coach in 2021.

“Concordia is a great university that embraces women’s athletics and supports our team really well,” she says.

The Stingers women’s hockey team got its start thanks to former coach Les Lawton, who Ouellette references often.

“We’re undefeated so far this year. But it’s really the stories — not the goals and the assists and the scores — that matter," she says.

“It’s the people that the players become in their four or five years with us. As a coach, seeing them go into the world and become professionals makes me so proud.”

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