Daoust one of three McGillians to earn try-out with Canadian Olympic hockey team
Melodie Daoust, a native of Valleyfield, Que., and a sophomore forward with the McGill University women’s hockey team, was among 27 players invited by Hockey Canada, Thursday, to tryout with the national team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Daoust, who is heading to Toronto this weekend for BLG Awards where the CIS athletes of the year will be announced, joins former McGill defenceman Catherine Ward, from Town of Mt. Royal, Que., and ex-Martlet goaltender Charline Labonte of Boisbriand, Que., on the exclusive invitation list for a chance to compete at the upcoming Winter Games. The McGill threesome are among six invited players who played CIS women’s hockey, along with along with Hayley Wickenheiser (Calgary Dinos), Jayna Hefford (Toronto Varsity Blues) and Caroline Ouellette (Concordia Stingers).
The Olympic squad will centralize in Calgary on Aug. 6, where they will train full time under the guidance of York University head coach Dan Church of Toronto, along with assistant coaches Lisa Haley of Westville, N.S., and Danielle Goyette of St. Nazaire, Que., who coaches the Calgary Dinos women's team. Church expects to name his final Olympic team in late December.
The roster includes 22 players who claimed silver at the IIHF world championships in Ottawa earlier this month. Thirteen of them helped Canada win gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Joining Labonte in goal will be Edmonton's Shannon Szabados and Genevieve Lacasse of Kingston, Ont.
Lining up beside Ward on defence are Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., Brigette Lacquette of Waterhen, Man., Lauriane Rougeau of Beaconsfield, Que., Laura Fortino of Hamilton, Courtney Birchard of Mississauga, Ont., Meaghan Mikkelson of St. Alberta, Alta., Tessa Bonhomme of Sudbury, Ont., and Tara Watchorn of Newcastle, Ont.
The forwards include the aforementioned Wickenheiser of Shaunavon, Sask., Hefford of Kingston, Ont., and Montreal's Ouellette. They will be joined by Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., Meghan Agosta-Marciano of Ruthven, Ont., Rebecca Johnston of Sudbury, Ont., Jennifer Wakefield of Pickering, Ont., Gillian Apps of Unionville, Ont., Bailey Bram of Ste. Anne, Brianne Jenner of Oakville, Ont., Winnipeg's Jenelle Kohanchuk, Toronto's Natalie Spooner, Haley Irwin of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Vicki Bendus of Wasaga Beach, Ont.
The players are required to report to a preliminary camp in Calgary on May 20 for physical testing and depart later that week for a boot camp in British Columbia. After reporting back in August, the women will train and skate together every day and are expected to play about 30 games against midget triple-A boys' teams in Alberta, in addition to half a dozen exhibition games against the U.S. women.
See complete centralized roster online at:
Daoust, a 5-foot-6 forward, became the first player in CIS women’s hockey history to be named the nation’s top rookie and player of the year in back-to-back seasons. The 21-year-old physical and health education sophomore captured the CIS scoring crown with a Quebec conference record 54 points in 20 games. She won the coveted Broderick Trophy as player of the year in CIS women’s hockey, posting a 21-33-54 record in 20 regular season contests. Overall, she compiled a 29-46-75 in 32 games for McGill. Daoust also played for the Canadian national under-22 squad for the second straight season.
Ward, a 26-year-old Olympic gold medalist, was a three-time all-Canadian rearguard with McGill – where she earned a commerce degree in 2009. She was named tournament MVP at the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup championship last month and voted among the top three players for the Canadian squad at the 2013 IIHF world championships. She also made the IIHF all-tournament team, leading all rearguards at the worlds, with seven points and matching a tourney-high with six assists in five games overall. Ward completed her three-year stint at McGill as the all-time top-scoring defenceman in school history with a 35-103-138 record in 108 games over three seasons. She was named Tournament MVP at the 2009 CIS championships, leading McGill to a national title.
Labonte, a 30-year-old Olympic gold medalist, was a five-time all-Canadian at McGill, where she owns almost every goaltending record. During her five seasons with the Martlets, she posted an incredible 160-17-3 record and 81 shutouts in 180 starts overall, registering a stingy 0.98 goals against average and a stellar .948 save percentage. She is currently completing post-graduate studies in sports psychology at McGill after earning a physical education degree in December, 2011.