Caroline Ouellette

Caroline Ouellette, OC, hockey player, softball player (born 25 May 1979 in Montreal, QC). Caroline Ouellette is one of only five athletes to win a gold medal at four consecutive Olympic Winter Games (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). She also won six gold medals and six silver medals with Team Canada at the IIHF Women’s World Championship and four Clarkson Cup titles as the champion of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). Ouellette was a formidable power forward early in her career and became an excellent playmaker. Upon retiring from women’s hockey in 2018, she ranked second all-time among Canadian women’s hockey players in assists (155) and third in points (242). She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019.



Childhood 

Caroline Ouellette is the youngest of two daughters born to Nicole and André Ouellette. She started playing hockey at age nine and played on boys’ teams until age 17. “There was no girls hockey,” she told the Montreal Gazette in 2015. “So if you wanted to play, you played with the boys, or you didn’t play at all.” 

Minor Hockey

Ouellette played her minor hockey in Quebec with the Comité des jeunes de Rosemont. In 1995, at the age of 15, she won a bronze medal for Quebec in women’s hockey at the Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was the first of two Canada Games Ouellette participated in. She also competed in women’s softball at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Manitoba. That same year, Ouellette won a gold medal for Team Quebec at the 1997 Canadian Under-18 National Women’s Hockey Championship in Summerside, PEI.  


Esso Women’s National Championship

Ouellette helped Team Quebec win the gold medal at the 1999 Esso Women’s National Championship in Mississauga, Ontario. She was named the top forward at the tournament as Quebec beat Alberta 4–2 in the gold medal game. In 2001, Ouellette was the tournament’s most valuable player and Quebec won the silver medal, losing 1–0 to Alberta in the gold medal game. In 2002, Ouellette won her second Esso Women’s National Championship as Quebec beat Ontario 1–0 in the final in Arnprior, Ontario.

University of Minnesota

After playing one year at Concordia University in 2000–01, Caroline Ouellette went on to have a stellar NCAA women’s hockey career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. In only 97 games between 2002 and 2005, she had 92 goals and 137 assists for 229 points. Ouellette also led the Bulldogs to the 2003 NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship Final. After her team beat Harvard 4–3 in the championship game, she was named the Frozen Four Most Valuable Player.


Team Canada at the World Championships

Ouellette won her first of six IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championships in 1999 in Espoo, Finland. She would go on to win five more gold medals at the IIHF World Championship (in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2012). Ouellette also won six silver medals at the World Championship for 12 medals overall. In 59 games at the World Championship, she had 23 goals and 45 assists for 68 points. Her best World Championships came in 2004 and 2012, when she had nine points at each tournament.

Team Canada at the Olympic Winter Games

Ouellette was part of the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team that won four consecutive gold medals between 2002 and 2014. (See also Canadian Olympic Hockey Teams.) She is one of three Canadian hockey players to win four Olympic gold medals in women’s hockey; the others are Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser. Only two other athletes have won a gold medal at four consecutive Olympic Winter Games: German speed skater Claudia Pechstein and Soviet biathlete Alexander Tikhonov.

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Ouellette won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. In 20 games at the Olympics, Ouellette had nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points.

In her first Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Ouellette scored Canada’s opening goal of the gold medal game in a 3–2 win over the United States. It was the first time Canada ever won the Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey. In 2006, Ouellette scored the game-winning goal for Canada in the gold medal game — a 4–1 Canada win over Sweden. In 2010, Ouellette and Wickenheiser were the co-leaders of the Olympic tournament in assists with nine. In 2014, Ouellette was the captain of Team Canada after being an assistant captain in 2010.

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Women’s Hockey Leagues

Caroline Ouellette also played 14 seasons in women’s hockey leagues between 1998 and 2018. She played for the Bonaventure/Montreal Wingstar and Montreal Axion of the National Women’s Hockey League; the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Western Women’s Hockey League; and the Montreal Stars/Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). In 267 games, Ouellette had 217 goals and 281 assists for 498 points.

In 2006, Ouellette won the NWHL Championship with the Axion. She also won four Clarkson Cups as the CWHL champion (2009, 2011 and 2012 with the Stars, and 2017 with the Canadiennes). In 2011, Ouellette was the CWHL Most Valuable Player with the Stars and won the Angela James Bowl (the award presented to the CWHL point leader) with 68 points. (See also Angela James.) In 2012, Ouellette was named the Clarkson Cup MVP.

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Other Pursuits

Ouellette has been active with the Right to Play program since 2004 and visited Bénin, Africa, in 2011. In 2014, she established the Caroline Ouellette Girls Hockey Tournament in Montreal, an annual event for girls at the novice and pee-wee levels.

For the last decade, Ouellette has been active in women’s hockey as a coach. On 7 July 2020, she became the interim head coach of Concordia University’s women’s hockey team while her wife, Julie Chu, was on maternity leave from the position with their second child. Chu played on the United States’ women’s hockey team from 2000 to 2014.

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Julie Chu (left), UMD Women's Hockey Coach Shannon Miller and Caroline Ouellette (right) hold the 2008 NCAA national championship trophy. 

Honours

Caroline Ouellette graduated with degrees in criminology and women’s studies from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2005, and was as accomplished a student as she was an athlete. She was named to the NCAA’s Academic All-America Team in 2005 and won the National Scholar Athlete Award from the American Women’s Coaches Association.

In 2013, Ouellette was nominated for the CWHL’s Humanitarian Award and received Hockey Canada’s Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award, which is awarded to a woman “who demonstrates dedication and leadership in women's hockey.” The YWCA recognized her with its Women of Distinction Award in 2014. In 2019, Ouellette received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Awards

  • Frozen Four Most Valuable Player, NCAA (2003)
  • Final Five MVP, WCHA (2003)
  • All-Rookie Team, WCHA (2003)
  • First All-Star Team, WCHA (2003, 2005)
  • Second All-Star Team, WCHA (2004)
  • All-America First Team, NCAA CCM (2004, 2005)
  • All-Academic Team, WCHA (2004, 2005)
  • National Scholar Athlete, American Women’s Coaches Association (2005)
  • Academic All-District Team, College Sports Information Directors of America (2005)
  • Sportsmanship Award, USCHO (2005)
  • All Tournament Team, WCHA (2005)
  • Academic All-America Team, NCAA (2005)
  • E.L. “Duce” Rasmussen Award, University of Minnesota-Duluth (2005)
  • Student-Athlete of the Year, WCHA (2005)
  • Angela James Bowl, CWHL (2009)
  • Most Valuable Player, CWHL (2009, 2011)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
  • Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award, Hockey Canada (2013)
  • Humanitarian Award, CWHL (2013)
  • Women of Distinction Award, YWCA (2014)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Concordia University (2019)
  • Officer, Order of Canada (2019)