In her fifth and final season with the nationally renowned McGill Martlets program, Darragh Hamilton was bestowed the honor of the captaincy. Following in the proud tradition of other great captains, such as Cathy Chartrand, Hamilton was able to emulate her former teammate by leading the red and white to a CIS national title.
The opportunity to don the C on her sweater is one that has Hamilton beaming with pride. On a squad that has such a positive culture and a team-first approach, the honor only enhances Hamilton’s experience of competing for the Martlets, “It is an awesome experience. I love being part of this team. Everybody really gives a lot in order to contribute.”
A key component in the success of the Martlets can be attributed to head coach Peter Smith. Having also served as an assistant coach with the Canadian contingent that claimed the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Games; his acumen is one that cannot be duplicated.
“He has so much experience. He knows what he is talking about and he brings so much confidence. He helps everyone on-ice and off-ice, he is definitely like a second father.”
A big part of her leadership skill comes from the opportunity to have learned from two legendary figures in Montreal women’s hockey. Former McGill teammates Charline Labonte (a two-time Winter Games gold medalist) and Ann-Sophie Bettez (the 2013 CWHL Rookie of the Year) would prove to have a remarkable influence on Hamilton.
“In my first couple of years, they were the veterans on the team. I looked up to them. They both worked hard and are such great teammates, very positive and caring.”
Another teammate that has a positive impact this season was Melodie Daoust. The 2013 winner of the Brodrick Trophy (recognizing the most outstanding women’s hockey player in Canadian Interuniversity Sport), Daoust was a member of the Canadian contingent that claimed gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
“We are so proud of her. She has worked so hard. She loves the sport so much and we were excited to watch her on the screen.”
Of note, Daoust and Labonte participated in the ceremonial faceoff during the 2014 CIS National Championship Game, of which Hamilton was also a part of.
Having won a national championship in her final game with the Martlets shall be a treasured experience. In reflecting on her storied career, she mentioned what was the favorite aspect of being part of the famed McGill Martlets program,
“It is a great bunch of girls. They love hockey so much. We love being together and hanging out together. The competition brings out the best in each other and we have so much fun.
While many programs in Canadian Interuniversity Sport work towards a postseason berth, the Martlets are continuously in the discussion for a national title. After a 2012-13 regular season that saw the squad go undefeated, the postseason did not bear the expected fruit. Hamilton is proud that the 2014 postseason yielded a more positive result as she understands the jubilation of winning.
“We won in my second year and it was the highlight of my career. We work towards that and want it to pay off. Especially as I am graduating, to come home with a gold medal means everything.”
”All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image obtained from: https://www.facebook.com/MartletHockey/