Terrier Ice Women Poised for Power
Olympic gold medalists, national team member lace up| From Commonwealth | By Caleb Daniloff. Video by Nicolae Cioragan.
In the video above, BU's tough-to-match trifecta—two Olympic gold medalists and one member of the Canadian National Team—talk about their love of skating, being on the ice at BU, and their great teammates.
Women’s ice hockey coach Brian Durocher isn’t one to rest on his blades—er, laurels.
After leading the Terriers to their first-ever Hockey East title and an NCAA tournament berth last year, Durocher (SED’78) skated into his sixth season with three decidedly deadly weapons, ones he hopes will help launch the squad back to the national championships.
So what kind of heat is Durocher packing? How does two Olympic gold medalists and one member of the Canadian National Team sound?
Last fall, defender Catherine Ward (GSM’12) and forwards Marie-Philip Poulin (SED’14) and Jenn Wakefield (CAS’12) laced up their skates, donned red-and-white jerseys, and took to the ice at Walter Brown Arena. Before that, Ward and Poulin were busy breaking American hearts in the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver. Poulin, in fact, scored both goals in the gold-medal game against Team USA. Wakefield was a member of the Canadian National Team and a 2010 Olympic alternate.
In the span of five years, Durocher has grown a one-time club sport into a Division I national contender.
Bostonia sat down with Durocher, who tended goal for the Terriers in the 1970s and has been coaching hockey since graduating, including a stint as top assistant to men’s hockey coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), to find out how he managed to bring this fearsome threesome on board.
The Terrier women’s ice hockey team has some new star power this season: (from left) Jenn Wakefield (CAS’12), Marie-Philip Poulin (SED’14), and Catherine Ward (GSM’12). Photo by Melody Komyerov
Bostonia: Tell us about these athletes. What makes them so special?
Durocher: Catherine Ward is a fantastic student. She brings a great deal to the University and to the Graduate School of Management. From a leadership standpoint, she should be at the top of the charts. Not only has she won championships at the university level, but at the Olympic gold level. On the ice, she’s not super big, but she is extremely smart and makes all the right plays.
Marie-Philip Poulin is a 19-year-old who has been through the Olympic wars and multiple battles with the United States, the other preeminent player in the game of women’s hockey. She sees the game at the highest level. She’s going to make anyone she plays with better. She has all the different passes and deliveries. She knows where the other four people on the ice are.
Jenn Wakefield is the consummate power forward. She has had two years as one of the top two or three for Hockey East Player of the Year. She was one of the top two scorers freshman and sophomore year at the University of New Hampshire. She’s fearless, a strong kid with fast and adept hands.
How did you recruit them?
Very candidly, two of the three did a pretty good job of recruiting us. It probably started two years ago with Catherine Ward, who wanted to be part of the graduate business program here. She connected with me, and we went back and forth for the better part of a year. Then she ended up in the Olympic program, and it was maybe another year to finish the conversation.
Jenn Wakefield decided she wanted to transfer last summer. We had had a little bit of a relationship in recruiting her a couple years before, when she chose UNH. Maybe they weren’t ready for someone of her ability.
The third part was a little bit of luck, an offshoot of a friendship between Catherine Ward and Marie-Philip Poulin. They played a lot of Hockey Québec together. To get Marie-Philip at the end was fantastic and brought us a trifecta that is tough to match.
What’s the biggest misconception about women’s hockey?
I think a lot of people don’t know how fast the game is. There have been multiple times when our girls will play against the guys. And I might be in the stands watching, being proud, standing off to the side. And I’ll overhear people saying, “Is that what I think it is? Those are young ladies?” These players are highly talented.