Although Martine Garland may not be a player that the casual fan is familiar with, she is one worth knowing. Her career is one that stirs the emotions of hard work, perseverance and empowerment. A real-life example of why young women should not be afraid to follow their dreams, Garland has balanced a prominent tenure in hockey with an aspiring legal career.
Considering that the current state of post-university female hockey is akin to what men’s hockey players endured up until the early 1970’s, where a job outside of the rink was reality, it only makes Garland’s accomplishments much more impressive. For all the challenges that accompany the commitment to athletics, being able to manage such obligations with law school and articling may have seemed insurmountable at times.
Raised in the hockey hotbed of Toronto, her love of the game was evident at a young age as she would engage in a daily ritual of ball hockey after school. Starting at the age of 10, she competed in the York Mills Association before switching to girls hockey early in her teens with the Aurora Panthers. A stint with the Mississauga Chiefs would result in a provincial championship at 17.
A fan of Bobby Orr, her game certainly emulated his style as she was a renowned playmaker with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats program. Her presence paid dividends as she captained them to two appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four. Accumulating 86 assists and 105 career points with the Wildcats, her commitment off the ice was equally impressive.
During her tenure there, she was also a member of the Canadian Under-22 national women’s team (2003-06). In 2007, she would earn a call to the senior team, competing at the 2007 Four Nations Tournament in Leksand, Sweden. It would prove to be a gold medal effort for Garland, including a goal in an 8-0 win over Sweden during the round robin.
Despite the pair of All-America honors and Hockey East First Team nods, she never forgot her commitment to education. Articulate and studious, she would earn four All-Academic honors, distinguishing herself as the true definition of a student-athlete.
Her commitment to academics would prove essential after her glorious career with the New Hampshire Wildcats (where she majored in psychology) reached its pinnacle. While she would follow the path of many other NCAA stars by competing professionally in Switzerland, she never overlooked her responsibilities. Two years were spent with DHC Langenthal before returning home to pursue law studies at the University of Toronto.
She would spend time as a student caseworker at Downtown Legal Services, while also volunteering at the 519 Community. Testament to her strong leadership skills is the fact that she also served as the co-president of Out in Law; a support group for University of Toronto students that were part of the LGBT community. In addition, she was a co-captain for the U of T Law Games team, tapping into her successes as a captain on the ice with the Wildcats.
While Garland has worked tirelessly to break barriers and challenge the cultural norm, the opportunity to continue her playing career by suiting up for her hometown Furies is an enriching experience. A member of the blue and white since their inaugural season, she participated in the 2011 Clarkson Cup finals. Although Garland has only registered one point during the 2013-14 CWHL season (an assist in her first game of the season), the Furies have gone 6-2-0 when she is on the ice. Through it all, Garland has managed to persevere, establishing herself as a character individual on and off the ice.
Photo credit: CWHL Images