Marie Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward have their Dawson numbers retired
By Alexandra Giubelli
The two players from Team Canada Women’s hockey team honoured forever by Dawson College.
A large amount of students gathered in the lower atrium last Thursday to honour former Dawson students Marie-Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward for their gold medal in Ice Hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The atmosphere was electric as students were signing along to Journey’s “Don’t stop believing”, before the event took place. The two athletes finally appeared to the screams and cheers of a very anticipated and excited crowd.
Initially intimidated by their loud welcome, Poulin and Ward shyly waved hands and gave nervous smiles, holding their gold medal close to them while Paul Rastelli, Coordinator of Students Services and the coach for the AA Women’s hockey team, gave a small speech about the ex-students. Catherine Ward led the Lady Blues to their first playoffs appearence and Marie-Philip Poulin led the Lady Blues to their second consecutive undefeated season.
Once the short speeches concluded, the two players revealed their retired numbers which will be place in the gymnasium.
“The number 10 and 17 are [forever] retired at Dawson,” proclamed Rastelli as the crowd applauded the hockey stars.
After the brief ceremony, the two players moved to the Dawson Theatre for a short question and answer session which held for both the audiance as well as the gold medalists.
The question and answer session begun with a video of team Canada which was followed by a slide show of pictures that covered the Women’s hockey team throughout the entire tournament.
The audience applauded as Ward was asked her first question of the day. What is the taste of scoring goal?
“It’s pretty good, it taste’s great. We’re still on a cloud and it’s been a month now,” she answered as she played with her gold medal.
Lady Blues Head Coach, Scott Lambton, joined the two medalists on the stage. He told the crowd about his first encounter with the two athletes, telling stories that made him, Poulin and Ward emotional.
“We made a deal, Marie and I, that would retire her jersey number if she scored the winning goal in the Olympics. She laughed at first, but I knew she could do it,” said Lambton at the end of speech, looking proud of his players.
The session went in another direction as Rastelli did his own impersonation of Micheal Landsberg from TSN’s show Off the record, as he asked Poulin and
Ward different questions where if they didn’t want to answer they could say next question or pass it offf to the other one.
What are you nicknames on team Canada?
“I’m Wardo. Oh and Marie we call her Pou.” Said Ward, sharing a laugh with the audience as she looked more relaxed.
Did you encounter any celebrities?
“Marie Philip Poulin!” Ward joked, as the crowd laughed once again.
The questions became more serious as the two athletes were asked about the post-game celebration on the ice that created controversy, and also about the lack of competition in the women’s league.
“What can we say? We won the goald medal. We apologised, but still we did what a normal human being would do if they would win a gold medal at an Olympic game,” said Poulin about their celebartion, “The next day, we all met and organized a press conference. They told me what I should say. but don’tworry I really meant it!”
The athletes then spoke about the lack of competition in the womens leagues.
“We would like the sport to grow faster, but we can’t do anything about it. While Canada and the Usare getting better, the other teams are still growing. It was the same thing a few years ago in men’hockey. It was Canada against Russia.” Ward explained.
To close the session, two big frames were brought on stage with their Dawson jerseys in them as flowers were given to them.
The two athletes took pictures with staff and students, even letting them take their medals to pose with.
Poulin said she didn’t have any specific idea for what she’ll do next as Ward explained that she will be leaving soon for China.