Obtained by the Montreal Stars with the third pick overall in the 2015 CWHL Draft, Marie-Philip Poulin becomes the newest face of the franchise. On a team with no shortage of world-class stars, headlined by the likes of Julie Chu, Charline Labonte and Caroline Ouellette, Poulin holds the potential to bring a new dimension of popularity to the franchise.Having already established herself as a household name, Poulin was immortalized after scoring the gold medal clinching goal in women’s ice hockey at two consecutive Winter Games (2010, 2014). Such heroics in Canadian hockey place her in the same stratosphere as other legendary goal scorers for Canada, including Paul Henderson, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. With her addition to the Stars, it should only help expand the media coverage that the club is receiving.
Poulin’s presence alone may not reveal the full impact of her potential contributions. She is a superstar who may shape the public’s view of the Stars for the remainder of the decade, reminding fans and players alike of the hopes and dreams for better and brighter days ahead.
For a Stars franchise hungry for its first Clarkson Cup since 2012, it would only be fitting if Poulin scored the Cup clinching goal in 2016, a feat that would only add to her legend. In 2013 and 2015, the Stars were defeated by rival Boston in the title game, only fuelling their desire to return to the top of the CWHL. Poulin’s arrival shall help the club’s confidence heading into this season.Part of a draft class that features McGill Martlets alumnae, including 2014 Brodrick Trophy winner Katia Clement-Heydra and Leslie Oles, along with former St. Lawrence scoring sensation Karell Emard there shall be no shortage of talent on offense. Of note, Oles and Poulin share a unique bond in CWHL hockey history in Montreal.
From the outset, neither can be classified as rookies. Despite their draft status, both competed during the CWHL’s inaugural season of 2007-08. In addition, Poulin made history as the recipient of the league’s first-ever Rookie of the Year Award, leading all rookies in scoring. Both were also recognized as members of the CWHL’s All-Rookie Team. As a side note, both were also part of the Stars’ Clarkson Cup winning roster in 2009, ushering in a new era of hockey.
Members of the Stars from 2007-10, Oles and Poulin return to the Stars after a five-year absence. During this time, Oles pursued her education at McGill University, while playing for legendary hockey coach Peter Smith. During that same five-year span, Poulin spent one season centralized with Hockey Canada, in preparation for Sochi, while the remaining seasons were spent assembling the greatest four-year career in the history of the Boston Terriers women’s hockey program, culminating in All-America status.
As Montreal hockey fans eagerly await the return of Poulin, accompanied by the promise of greater glories to come, her status as one of the world’s finest players is enhanced by the maturity and competitiveness gained with the Terriers. Poised to follow in Caroline Ouellette’s legacy as the greatest French-Canadian player in the world, both are already French-Canadian icons for women in sport, transcendent figures which helped raise awareness of women’s hockey in Quebec. With a growing celebrity status, the impact of Poulin with the Stars shall only help encourage more young women in the province to lace their skates and emulate her world-class success.