Having established themselves as a national powerhouse in the ultra-competitive Canadian Interuniversity Sport (recently rebranded as U Sports), the growing presence of promising star players such as Catherine Dubois ensures that the future remains a strong one for Les Carabins de Montreal.
Raised in Charlesbourg, Quebec, Dubois began playing at the age of five, finding inspiration in her father Stephane, who spent three seasons with the QMJHL’s Granby Bisons, recording 67 points between 1986 and 1989.
Dubois quickly made an impression as a competitor with the CEGEP Limoilou Titans, earning the Rookie of the Year Award in the aftermath of the 2012-13 campaign. Playing for head coach Pascal Dufresne, she appeared in back-to-back CEGEP championship games, capturing the 2014 title and accumulating 127 total points in three sterling seasons.
Of note, 2011 would signify a breakthrough year. Gaining the opportunity to compete for her home province on two separate occasions, starting with the 2011 Canada Winter Games, earning a bronze medal, another podium finished with silver at Canada’s 2011 U18 Nationals.
Dubois’ proficiency would quickly translate into an opportunity to compete at one of the most prestigious tournaments at the international level. Donning the Team Canada jersey, the chance to wear the Maple leaf was a tremendous point of pride. Emerging with a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships, where she scored a hat trick against Switzerland and logged a goal versus Germany, it was treasured milestone in her young career.
The chance to shine on the international stage continued with a subsequent gold medal for Canada in 2013 where she played alongside fellow Quebec skaters Genevieve Bannon and Catherine Daoust. Finishing the event as Canada’s leading scorer, with seven points (highlighted by four points), the gold medal game was undoubtedly the game of her life. Scoring the tying goal on US goaltender Sidney Peters with only 13 seconds left, it set the stage for Karly Heffernan’s heroic overtime goal.
Fast forward two years later, and Dubois had graduated to Canada’s U22/Development Program, capturing gold at the 2015 Nations Cup. Despite being the lone player from Canadian Interuniversity Sport to have a spot on the roster, she was one of four Quebec-born players that suited up for Canada. Joining Dubois included goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens, blueliner Cassandra Poudrier and fellow forward Sarah Lefort.
Adding to such jubilation is the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf once again. Gaining the opportunity to compete for Canada’s contingent at the 2017 Winter Universiade (a biannual sporting event) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Joining her in the collective effort towards a golden outcome shall be fellow Carabins Jessica Cormier, Alexandra Labelle and Maude Laramee. All four are part of a goal toward redemption, looking to avenge the sullen outcome at the 2015 edition of the Universiade.
Considering that Canada captured the first three gold medals (2009, 2011, 2013) in the history of women’s ice hockey at the Universiade, their dominance was usurped by an ambitious Russian squad that handed Canada their first-ever loss in tournament history. With said loss taking place in the 2015 gold medal game, its effect was highly visceral, making the opportunity for Dubois et al to bring back the gold in 2017 an accomplishment that would only add glitter to what holds potential to be a memorable time.
“Every time that you get the opportunity, it is an honour to wear the jersey. I am always proud to get the opportunity to play for Canada but I am just as proud to wear the Carabins jersey.
Through it all, Dubois remains focused to keep things in perspective. Looking for a balance between the golden expectations and the elevation of her game for Les Carabins during her sophomore season, Dubois is focused on the present. So far in her sophomore season, Dubois has posted a respectable six points in 11 games played. Whenever Dubois logs at least one point, Les Carabins have enjoyed a 4-0 mark, testament to her presence.
“Right now, at this moment, I am happy to play for the Carabins this season. I have not yet reflected on the privilege of playing for Canada. Definitely, we want to win the gold medal at all costs. We don’t want to win anything else but the gold.”
During the 2015-16 campaign, Dubois was part of a Carabins freshman class that featured Alexandra Labelle and Kim Poirier. Statistically, these titanic rookies combined for a solid 40 points, which saw Dubois contribute 15 points on the strength of 10 goals.
Such offensive contributions would rank Dubois third in team scoring behind Labelle and Ariane Barker. Her regular season debut would see her log her first career CIS goal, also the team’s only goal, a 2-1 upset loss against Concordia.
The first multi-point effort of Dubois’ freshman campaign occurred in 4-3 win against archrival McGill on November 7, as her playmaking skills shone in a two assist performance. Her prodigious promise was fulfilled further as the club enjoyed an 8-3-0 mark when she logged at least one point; and a sterling 4-0 when she registered a multi-point effort.
Such a strong freshman campaign in the regular season would prove to be prologue for an even bigger achievement in the waiting. With a string of six consecutive appearances at the CIS national championships, Les Carabins emerged with their second national title. Dubois would play key roles in a pair of tournament games, with assists in crucial victories against the consistent Calgary Dinos and the cinderella Saint Mary’s Huskies, who would emerge with the bronze medal,
The title not only solidified a proud legacy, propelling the program into legendary status, it provided Dubois with the rare privilege of achieving such a pinnacle as a freshman. Taking into account that Dubois has also enjoyed a Coupe Dodge, CEGEP Title, and a pair of IIHF U18 gold medals, the CIS title provides her with a unique grand slam.
Undoubtedly, the opportunity to experience such a feeling is one that only motivates Dubois to work towards attaining such heights in the season to come, while adding to a growing legacy.
“I am very, very proud to have won the Canadian national championship in my freshman year. Our Carabins team is like a big family and we had a great effort.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Marc St. Pierre