By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff
The Boston University women’s hockey team has not played a game since losing in the Frozen Four final to Wisconsin at the end of March, but freshman phenom Marie-Philip Poulin has been plenty busy. In the last three months, the Hockey East Rookie of the Year earned a silver medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Championships and visited Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
In April, the rising sophomore joined fellow Terrier defensemen Catherine Ward and Tara Watchorn as well as forward Jenn Wakefield in Switzerland as a member of the Canadian National Team for the IIHF World Championships. Poulin previously played for Team Canada in the World Championships in 2009 and won gold in 2010 with the Canadian Olympic team. Poulin scored both Canadian goals in the gold-medal Olympic game, helping the Canadians top Team USA, 2-0. The Canadians earned a silver-medal finish in this year’s World Championships, and Poulin led the BU quartet in scoring with three goals and an assist through five games.
About a month after the World Championships, Poulin traveled to Greece with Jayna Hefford, a three-time gold medalist who played alongside Poulin in the Vancouver Olympics and TSN broadcaster Gord Miller.
During their time in Athens, the trio met up with Calgary Flames captain and two-time Olympic gold medalist Jarome Iginla to take pictures at the original Olympic Stadium. While there, the group spent time with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who asked the group to join him on a brief trip to visit Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“It’s got to be unbelievably exciting for her to be requested by the Prime Minister and the government to have her join on a trip over there,” BU coach Brian Durocher said. “I think any time that you can be brought back to the realization that there are great people that are fighting for our freedom and fighting for our country, I think you’re honored to go and assist and bring some cheer and bring some goodwill.”
So began a spontaneous trip that started with the group flying to Qatar and then transferring on to a military transport to Kandahar. During their visit, the group toured the boardwalk and hockey rink, attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Task Force Kandahar Headquarters and enjoyed a barbeque with the troops where the hockey stars posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Within seven hours the group was on their way back to Canada.
In her first season with the Terriers, Poulin had 47 points in 28 games. The freshman was second on the team in goals with 24 despite missing several games due to a fractured hand. Poulin also scored the only goal in BU’s 4-1 loss to Wisconsin during the Frozen Four championship game. Her first-year success garnered her recognition as a New England Division I All-Star, a designation which is decided by the New England Hockey Writers Association.
“I think everybody in our program knows how committed and hard working she is, on the ice and in her training,” Durocher said. “She has done a fantastic job here school wise. We certainly tip our cap to her as a student athlete and again anytime you have very good people and successful people in your program that shed a great light on it, it’s awful nice. It’s certainly something that we’re very proud of.”
Due to Poulin’s hectic schedule, she was not available for comment. To see a photo gallery of Poulin playing ball hockey with Canadian troops, follow this link.