Question marks arise following elimination to Martlets for women’s hockey program
It was a teary-eyed Greg Bowles who met with media following the Gee-Gees women’s hockey team’s loss — and subsequent elimination from the RSEQ playoffs — at the hands of the McGill Martlets on Saturday afternoon. Bowles, the head scout and an assistant coach for the program, said goodbye to a number of players he’s worked with since joining the program back in 2016.
“It’s tough, heck we have one young lady (Valerie Bouillon) who was the captain of our biggest rival (Carleton University) and she’s got a lot of Gee-Gee blood flowing through her, so I’m not gonna lie there are a lot of wet eyes,” said a visibly emotional Bowles.
Bouillon spoke of this game as the final chapter in her hockey career.
“It was more than a game, it’s the closure of a career for everyone who was a senior tonight — it was emotional, it was the last time for everything and we believed until the end that we could push for a third game,” said Bouillon. “That last minute was special, it was the end of my identity as a hockey player in a way.”
For many of the senior players, this season was special, as they led a squad with 12 rookies on the roster to a six-game winning streak in the toughest division for women’s hockey in the country, beating No. 1 nationally-ranked Concordia twice in the process.
“The result today is disappointing, but we had a good progression during the year,” said captain Melina Roy, who graduates in a couple of months. “It was a tumultuous time before Christmas with everything that happened off the ice, but having success after Christmas was really fun and made this a very good year for us.”
The Gee-Gees stand to lose Melodie Bouchard, Bouillon, and Roy, who were all in their fifth year of eligibility. It’s still unclear if fourth-year players such as the McGaughey sisters, Alexe Drouin, and Marimée Godbout-Parent will be back on the Gees’ ice next year.
Interim head coach Chelsea Grills was unavailable to the media following Saturday’s loss.
Grills has only made one media appearance since being named interim head coach in October following Yanick Evola’s sudden departure on the afternoon of Nov. 8, just hours before a game against the Montreal Carabins.
Sports Services has yet to confirm if Grills will back with the team as head coach next year. However, in an interview on Saturday afternoon Sports Services director Sue Hylland seemed to give a vote of confidence to the interim head coach
“Those are things we will be talking about for sure, she (Grills) has done a fabulous job, that’s for sure,” said Hylland.
With the departure of many important faces from the program, the Gees will ice a relatively young team in the 2020-21 season. Looking at the roster, it’s feasible that nearly half of Ottawa’s players will be freshmen or sophomores.
The Gees had 12 rookies this year on their roster, and a number of those rookies have played beyond expectations, establishing themselves as solid players in the RSEQ.
With 12 points in 18 games, rookie Alice Fillion was third in scoring for the Gee-Gees behind senior Bouchard and third-year player Christine Deaudelin. She will look to build on a strong 2019-20 season when she hits the ice in October as a sophomore.
In net, Aurelie Dubuc has taken the starting job and ran with it. The goalie from Trois-Rivières finished the season with a .926 save percentage, good for third in RSEQ, and won nine of the Gee-Gees’ 11 wins.
For Ottawa to be successful next year, these players will have to avoid falling in a sophomore slump. Finally, the Gee-Gees will also need new veteran players Deaudelin and Katherine Birkby to stay healthy.