Marie-Philip Poulin's list of accomplishments is long and impressive. Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist, Angela James Bowl winner and CWHL MVP. Until today, there was only one thing missing from her storied resume; coaching. The McGill University Athletic Department changed that, announcing earlier today that Marie-Philip Poulin will be joining the staff of the women's hockey program as a skills coach
This addition should come as no surprise to followers of the the 25-year-old's young career. Poulin is known best for her gold-medal-winning goals in both the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics. To her though, coaching has always been the real dream.
Before her graduation from Boston University, Poulin cited her two main goals as making the 2018 Olympic roster and becoming a coach. "I would love to coach," she told BU Today . "It would be amazing. I was fortunate enough to see and know a lot of great players who really affected my career, so I would love to give back." Earlier this year, Poulin joined fellow Canadian legends Caroline Ouellette and Kim St-Pierre in coaching the first all-girls team to compete in the Tournoi international de hockey pee-wee de Québec.
McGill makes perfect sense for Poulin's debut into coaching, as there is no shortage of familiar faces there waiting for her. Les Canadiennes teammate Charline Labonte is the goaltending coach. Head coach Peter Smith was an assistant coach for the Canadian Women's National Team during the 2010 Olympics, Poulin's first. The current captain of the Martlets, Mélodie Daoust, was a teammate of Poulin's during the 2014 Olympics.
What, if any, impact this will have on her playing time with Les Canadiennes remains to be seen. We've seen Julie Chu cut back her time spent with Montreal as her duties with Concordia University have increased. Caroline Ouellette, Lauriane Rougeau, and Karell Emard all assist Chu at Concordia, so it's likely we'll see Poulin's commitments to McGill more closely match theirs.
McGill will certainly be a force to be reckoned with if Poulin can transfer her knowledge of playmaking to the team. This is her first real break into the coaching world, but it certainly won't be her last. Though Poulin has a long playing career left ahead of her, by beginning to coach she is taking the first step in securing her longer-term future, and the future of Canadian women's hockey.