3-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Kim St-Pierre and How She Started Playing Hockey
Below is Kim’s story. I think everyone should take the time to read and learn about Kim’s dedication and ‘never give up’ philosophy when it comes to sport. For any young female hockey players, who have been released from a team you can learn from Kim that it is important to always stay positive and to work hard. Kim is one of my closest friends and she has taught me many things throughout my hockey playing and coaching career. She is a great role model to young players and really taught me what being a committed and a dedicated athlete really means.
My first few years on the ice were actually in figure skates. As a 5 year old little girl, there wasn’t to many hockey options out there. My parents signed me up for figure skating sessions and I enjoyed it for 3 years however I would still always end up playing hockey with my 2 brothers outside mainly because I didn’t want to be alone. They constantly wanted me to be the goalie and try to stop the frozen tennis balls. I had no choice but to stand between the pipes and do my best! Guess what happened??? I developed a new passion; I wanted to be a goalie. I then had to ask my parents about the possibility of joining a real hockey team. I would have liked to have videotaped their reaction because more than 20 years ago, girls weren’t supposed to play hockey. They probably thought I would quit after a few weeks being the only girl on the team. Well the complete opposite happened; I totally fell in love with the sport but more the goaltending position! I especially loved the equipment! I am so thankful to have always had the full support of my parents and teammates during the 10 years that I played at the minor hockey level. It could have been easy to become discouraged with me or to make me think I wasn’t good enough or that I didn’t belong playing with the boys. Playing at the elite level with the boys really helped me to develop my confidence, build some mental toughness and ultimately become the goalie that I am today.
At 18 years old, I wasn’t drafted anywhere and was ready to quit hockey and move on with my life. I had tried out a few times to make the Team Québec women’s hockey but fell short 4 years in a row. I had no other options but to play pick up in a garage league near my hometown. A special guest came to one of my junior AA boys hockey game on a Sunday night to talk to me about a great opportunity. Dan Madden wanted to recruit me to go study at McGill University in Montreal and play for the Martlets, the women’s hockey team. Women’s hockey??? I obviously had had a bad experience in the past after being released over and over from Team Quebec, and on top of that I didn’t speak any English! I didn’t know anyone that was going to McGill and had to move from home to downtown Montreal. All in all, I couldn’t think of any positives and my initial thoughts were not very appealing, however I knew it was another chance for me to play competitive hockey while pursuing a degree at a great university.
What a great decision that was for me to enroll with the Martlets. At first I had to adapt to the transition from men’s to women’s hockey but my teammates help me so much. Also a big thank you to Amey Doyle, who was the other goalie for making me feel welcome and helped me out with my English skills! That same season in 1998, I got an invitation to go the the National Women’s Hockey team. Can you imagine my reaction? I was not even able to be part of a Provincial program with Team Québec and to get a phone call from the Canadian National Team!! I thought they had the wrong number.
I took advantage of every ice session at McGill and while at camp with the National Team and surprisingly made the roster my first year and competed at the World Championship in April 1999. What an accomplishment for me. A few months ago I was ready to sell my goalie equipment but decided to face a few challenges and there was my second chance at a hockey career. No more NHL for me, I was now aiming at participating at the Winter Olympics playing women’s hockey and proudly representing my Country.
Over my years at McGill, I studied hard and I trained hard on and off the ice in order to be one of the top 2 goalies in Canada. I was centralized in 2001, moved to Calgary and trained full time with the National Team hoping to survive the 8 months of intense training leading toward the Salt Lake City Olympics. By making each and everyday count, I was able to realize my dream with a great team and won a gold medal at the Olympics in 2002.
While I kept playing hockey, I graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology in 2003. I had a great career with the Martlets, who are now the best team in the country. I have been to 9 world championship and won a total of 3 Olympic gold medals. I have been so lucky and I feel very privileged to represent my country all these years and what a great life experience.
I am taking this season off because I am pregnant I plan on being back training next summer and already look forward to getting back to stopping the puck!
Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog and let me know if you have any questions. It will be my pleasure to answer you.