Combining a team-first approach with solid leadership and a love of the game, Brooklyn Langlois was a key member of the Maine Black Bears defensive corps for the last four seasons. A stay-at-home blueliner who blossomed into a mentor for the younger players to follow, Langlois is poised to remain an essential component of the Black Bears hockey philosophy. This season, she returns with great anticipation in a new role as a member of the coaching staff.
Having honed her skills at the prestigious Program of Excellence Academy in British Columbia, complemented by an appearance at the 2011 Canada Winter Games for Team Manitoba (some of her teammates on Team Manitoba included POE alums Halli Krzyzaniak and Meghan Dufault, along with Shelby Bram and Ashleigh Brykaliuk), Langlois arrived at Alfond Arena in the autumn of 2012. In four fantastic seasons, the native of Steinbach, Manitoba would grace the ice in over 125 games, assembling a respectable 26 points.
A career built on dependability and durability, appearing in all of the Black Bears games during her sophomore and junior seasons, Langlois contributed to a Black Bears squad that managed 10 wins in her senior season. Undoubtedly, her senior season was an opportunity for the program to appreciate her strong leadership, exemplifying solid playmaking abilities, complemented by a career high seven assists.
Langlois would finish the 2015-16 campaign seventh on the team in scoring, establishing a new career benchmark in assists with seven. Of note, the Black Bears would accumulate a winning record whenever Langlois registered an assist. Among the highlights for Langlois was gaining the assist on the game-winning goal scored by Victoria Hummel against Merrimack on February 7, 2016.
On a blueilne that also featured fellow senior Kelsey MacSorley, Langlois helped to set a positive example, establishing a standard for a young Black Bears blueline corps that featured the likes of promising talents such as Alyson Matteau, Cassidy Herman, Jessica Vallotton and Mikayla Rogers. Although Langlois’ great quality may be her humility, the fact that she was voted assistant captain is testament to her strong teamwork abilities,
“I think our team was full of leaders, all bringing different qualities to the table. I was honored that my teammates viewed me as a leader and voted me an assistant captain. I had always like to think and see myself as a leader on and off the ice, but that was definitely validation when my teammates agreed.
Being a leader is great but what is best to me, is that I feel I’m leaving the program as leader. Sports provide such an amazing opportunity to build yourself and the sport of hockey and Maine Women’s Ice Hockey program has truly built me into a better person and leader, preparing me with a mindset, the confidence and leadership skills to take everywhere I go and ability to self-lead through all.”
During that celebrated senior season, it would also allow Langlois an opportunity to experience one of the most treasured moments in her proud Black Bears career. In what would prove to be the final game of her NCAA career, a February 27, 2016 playoff affair with the undefeated Boston College Eagles, the result was a special milestone. Scoring the first goal of the game against Katie Burt, the Hockey East goaltending champion (who would end her season with an astounding 35 wins), it allowed Langlois to break a scoreless streak while providing Maine with the first lead of the game.
“You will never forget the feeling you get the first time you step out on the ice representing your school and the entire state, it is a true honor that still sends shivers up my spine or your first goal.
Yet, my favorite memory would have to be my last goal. It happened in my last game ever as a Black Bear in a playoff game against Boston College. I was in a very long scoring drought, not scoring since my sophomore season and we were in a do or die situation for the season and the seniors playing career at Maine. So scoring that go-ahead goal in against the top team in our league, short handed will be a moment and feeling of overwhelming happiness I will never forget. It was an honor to score in that last game and against a top team like that.
Another aspect of Langlois’ athletic endeavors entails the fact that she was part of a remarkable time of growth for elite women’s hockey in Manitoba. While she suited up for Maine, there was more than 50 women from Manitoba competing in ice hockey at the university level in both Canada and the United States. Undoubtedly, Langlois contributed to what promises to continue to be an exciting time for Manitoba hockey, as more women from the province continue to carve their legacy in the game. Among some of the notable Manitobans in the game includes Bailey Bram and Jocelyne Larocque, who have also played for Canada’s national team, while goaltender Delayne Brian was the MVP of the 2016 Clarkson Cup playoffs.
Of note, the senior season at Maine also allowed Langlois the opportunity to tap into her Manitoba roots, giving back to the local hockey community in a kind gesture of compassion and teamwork. Fellow Manitoban Tatiana Rafter (who played for the Buffalo Beauts during their inaugural season) helped to organize a fund raiser for injured player Braden Pettinger. Of note, Langlois was among several female skaters that proudly graced the ice, enhancing their proud status as role models.
“I think helping others is my favorite thing to do, so I enjoyed every second of it! It was for a great cause and it really brought the community together. It was very special to be apart of but also super fun.”
While the toughest aspect of any athletic career is the transition after one stops competing, it is one that Langlois looks forward to with excitement. Returning to Alfond Arena for another exciting season of hockey, the opportunity to do so as a coach represents a new chapter in her career, while continuing to add to the momentum of the growing number of women serving as coaches.
This season, Langlois is part of an expanded coaching staff, that also includes fellow first year coach Mike O’Grady, a Florida Panthers draft pick whose coaching background includes Mercyhurst University. The two join Sara and Richard Reichenbach behind the bench, with the collective goal of bringing the Black Bears to greater heights in the seasons to come,
“It is hard to just be done with hockey when it has been such a major part of my life for just about as long as I can remember. So I definitely will continue to my involvement with the sport. I am honored and excited to take a new journey with hockey, joining the coaching staff at my alma mater for this upcoming 2016 – 2017 season.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Melissa Wade, Image obtained from: http://uscho.photoshelter.com/image/I0000b5IQmfJKyo8