By Stéphanie Laurin – LHJAAAQ
MONTREAL — Pier-Alexandre Poulin, head coach of the Cégep Beauce-Appalaches Condors (LHJAAAQ), watched with excitement his sister perform in the women’s hockey final at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Marie-Philip Poulin, captain of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team, guided her team to the final with an excellent performance.
She scored twice and picked up an assist in the decisive game as she helped her team win the gold medal against the United States in a 3-2 victory.
The 30-year-old scored seven of Canada’s last 10 goals in the Olympic finals and collected three gold medals.
With the different time zones, it was not easy to follow all the games live, but Pier-Alexandre did not miss one.
He wanted to be there for his sister: “I am extremely proud. Obviously, it wasn’t like the 2018 South Korea Olympics games because I wasn’t there in person, but I still managed to watch all the games live. I haven’t gotten much sleep in the past few weeks, but it was worth it. It was good, we were excited, and I tried to support her the best I could from a distance.”
Pier-Alexandre and Marie-Philip have shared their passion for hockey since they were very young.
“We are three years apart. My sister started playing when she was five years old and I was at the novice level. I went to all her games and was even an assistant coach for her first MAHG team. After that, we always trained together in the summer. We come from a small town in Beauce and there weren’t many kids training for competitive hockey, so we quickly became training partners,” said Pier-Alexandre, the recipient of the 2020-21 Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial, emblematic of Canadian Junior Hockey League Coach of the Year, presented by the NHL Coaches’ Association.
Canadians are proud of Marie-Philip and recognize her accomplishments, but her brother is touched and impressed by his sister’s efforts and determination.
“Her perseverance is what impresses me the most. You have to be willing to make sacrifices to get to where she is, and when you get to the top, it’s even harder to stay there. I’m amazed at her resilience and willpower. She always works the hardest on the ice and in the gym, as if she has to prove herself every day. She still has the same appetite after all these years and is hungry every time she is on the ice. She wants to remain the best in the world.”
For his part, the Condors’ coach is working hard with his team to stay on top of the league’s standings.
Pier-Alexandre would love to see his players triumph in the playoffs: “We put in a lot of effort in January. We went outside to practice eight times. Sometimes it was -30 C, but the guys worked hard in order to be ready for the games. We really started off strong at the beginning of the year, but we encountered some adversity in November and December. We were able to weather the storm and now we hope to come back strong for the playoffs.”