Although Marie-Pier Chabot has contributed to the ethos of Montreal Carabins women’s ice hockey, she refuses to be subservient to the nostalgia of such achievements. Instead, her focus is devoted to the unfolding narrative of the 2016-17 season, which also reflects her final season of eligibility with the program.
Proudly acknowledging the result of leading her team to the 2016 national championship, her disciplined approach to the current campaign, managing the ebbs and flows while riding out any rocky patches, she is ready to return towards ascension into the national championship picture once again.
During the first half of the 2016-17 season, Chabot ranks in the top 10 nationally in terms of games started (10) and wins (6). Statistically, her 597:43 minutes played, 250 saves and .600 win percentage place in the top 20, respectively. In addition, she ended the first half with three consecutive wins, having won each game by a one-goal margin, while winning five of her last seven stars.
Last season, the 2016 national championship game against an ambitious squad from the University of British Columbia resulted in her coming out party. Seizing the moment, she masterfully assembled a shutout performance that helped establish the program as one of the greatest of the decade.
“Nothing can top the experience of nationals. It was something that I wanted to win and it a great feeling to win and get a shutout (8-0 vs UBC). There was nothing better. Even though I was proud to win the RSEQ title, it is the only other experience that comes remotely close. The pride of representing the Carabins program nationally was great and this was definitely the nicest memory of my career.”
Hoisting the Golden Path Trophy was part of a sequence of awards and honors in a memorable time for Chabot, which included the RSEQ Conference Crown, along with the honors of national championship Most Valuable Player, a spot on the All-Tournament Team and subsequent recognition as the Carabins Female Athlete of the Year for 2016.
Earlier in the season, her tough-as-nails presence against the nationally ranked rival McGill Martlets, highlighted by five saves in the shootout, earned her the honor of CIS Female Athlete of the Week for the week of January 13, 2016.
In speaking of her recognition as the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 CIS Nationals, it is evident that the devotion to her team has translated into strong leadership.
“It is a great accomplishment that took place last season. I try not to think about it too much. This is a new season and a new team. It was fun and I am glad we did well but I want to start from a new point and try to help the team to win (this season).”
Inheriting the starting goaltenders role from the iconic Elodie Rousseau-Sirois (who is adding to her own legacy by competing with the Panthers of Haut-Madawaska men’s team this season), there is no shortage of mutual respect between the two. Rousseau-Sirois not only donned the Canadian jersey at the Winter Universiade, she was also the starting goaltender when the Carabins captured their first national championship.
During the seasons spent as teammates, Chabot found an inspiring mentor in Rousseau-Sirois. While the initial role of backup was one not familiar to Chabot, she displayed tremendous maturity in working together with Rousseau-Sirois, both dedicated to the greater good of team success. In reflecting on the experience of calling her a teammate, it was one that Chabot agrees was very positive,
“Yes, absolutely. Her work ethic was incredible. It was hard to arrive as a backup and not play, but we had a great rapport. We were able to understand each other, and I learned from her and got to see how it works (at the CIS level). She was someone who had won championships and I was grateful that she showed us (how to succeed).”
This season, Chabot finds herself in the role of mentor, a role that she has proudly grown into. With a roster that features a pair of young goaltenders, Sarah-Jane Belanger from the Lynx of College Edouard-Montpetit and Fanny Vigeant, an alum of Les Nordiques de Lionel Groulx, along with the anticipation of young prospect Maude Trevisan joining the program next autumn, Chabot is proud to set the example for the next generation,
“I want to do like Elodie did for me. I try to transmit that same working relationship and instill a work ethic. I like to help them and I hope to be able to teach them to reach their best possible at this level.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: James Hajjar Photographie (awards image obtained from: http://www.hec.ca/en/news/2016/Gala-Meritas-Carabins-2016-e.html)