Hailing from the tiny community of St. Michel de Bellechase, located near the provincial capital of Quebec City, Trepanier grew up as a two-sport star. Competing alongside the likes of Sarah Vaillancourt and Catherine Ward with Team Quebec in women’s ice hockey at the 2003 Canada Winter Games, she would also make her presence felt on the field of play at the 2005 Canada Summer Games, competing in softball.
Adding a third sport to her impressive repertoire, Trepanier is staking her claim as one of the elite performers in Red Bull Crashed Ice, part of the Ice Cross Downhill World Championships. Having experienced podium finishes at Riders Cup events and Red Bull Crashed Ice, Trepanier has competed in Germany (finishing second at an event in Munich) and Finland, along with events in her native Quebec and in her current state of residence, Minnesota.
Prior to Red Bull Crashed Ice, Trepanier would excel in both softball and ice hockey with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Trepanier’s performances made her one of the most talented female athletes to wear Bulldogs colors.
On the diamond, she would play for head coach Jen Banford, gaining All North Central Conference honors in 2007, gaining a berth in the NCAA Central II Regional Tournament. Holding the season single record for on-base percentage (achieving .524 during the 2009 campaign), Trepanier was the starting centerfielder in her senior season. Her final softball game as a Bulldog took place against Wayne State in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament in Marshall.
Gracing the ice under the tutelage of head coach Shannon Miller, Trepanier would bolster the Bulldogs blueline. Playing with the likes of world class talents such as Jessica Koizumi, Jocelyne Larocque and Haley Irwin, Trepanier’s breakout season would take place in 2007-08. Capturing the NCAA Frozen Four title, the fourth in program history, her offensive skills shone brightly, registering career highs in goals (10), assists (21) and points (31), culminating with a spot on the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team.
Having appeared in more than 140 games for the Bulldogs, she would graduate following the 2008-09 campaign. Of note, the last goal in her Bulldogs career would take place on February 27 against WCHA rival North Dakota, while her final point was an assist in a postseason tussle with the New Hampshire Wildcats on March 14, 2009.
Fast forward five years later, and Trepanier would discover a new outlet for her athletic aspirations. Having laid roots in her adopted home state of Minnesota, employed in the field of Environmental Health and Safety, she would compete in her first Red Bull Crashed Ice event in the nearby city of St. Paul. Finishing in fourth place, it was the catalyst to pursue her ambitions, while making history.
“Originating in the Quebec City area, one of the first places in Canada where the competition took place, I developed an interest from the beginning of the Crashed Ice in North America. Unfortunately, I could not participate at that time since I was still playing high level hockey. I was preparing for my American academic career. I did not want to risk hurting myself.”
Capturing first place at the Quebec City event during the 2015-16 season, it brought her athletic career full circle, returning to the province where she first honed her athletic skills while simultaneously becoming part of provincial sporting lore. With the podium finish, Trepanier became the first woman born in Quebec to experience a first place finish in the history of Crashed Ice. It was only fitting that such a historic outcome would take place in her home province.
“One of the unforgettable moments for me was to win the Quebec City race in November 2015 in front of my family and friends. It was truly a remarkable experience.”
In addition, it was an All-Canadian presence on the podium, adding to the sense of pride for Trepanier, as Maxie Plante posted the second best time, while Elaine Topolnisky, a former women’s ice hockey competitor with the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks finished third. By season’s end, Trepanier would finish third overall in the Crashed Ice standings, while another former women’s hockey competitor experienced the thrill of first place.
Jacqueline Legere, the product of St. George, Ontario, played at the PWHL level with the Hamilton Hawks. Legere has also competed with the Cambridge Roadrunners in the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League and won a high school title in Brant County.
Along with former Dartmouth competitor Amanda Trunzo, the pride of Andover, Minnesota, and Tamara Kajah, a competitive snowboarder and former skater with the UBC Thunderbirds hockey program in the 2009-10 season, there is no shortage of women’s hockey stars on the Crashed Ice circuit.
This season, Trunzo finished in second in the opening race of the Red Bull Crashed Ice season in Marseilles, France. The second race, in Jyvaskyla-Laajis, Finland, saw Trunzo experience the exhilaration of first place, which was the first-ever win in her career, while Legere ranked fifth, Topolnisky sixth and ninth and tenth were occupied by Trepanier and Kajah. Although Trepanier sees only the frozen surface as the only significant similarity between the two sports, it is definitely an appealing element for aspiring Ice Cross racers, as she acknowledges that the need for skill and agility are crucial factors for success.
“Other the fact that it is an ice competition and that the competitors must wear equipments equally, the two sports are very much different. Of course, agile skaters are often a step ahead, but having an easy skating downhill and overcoming obstacles is just as important, if not more so. Alpine skiers are often among the best for this reason.”
With the third race in the 2017 Red Bull Crashed Ice calendar taking place in Saint Paul on February 3, there is definitely a sense of home ice advantage for both Trunzo and Trepanier, who will be looking for her first podium finish of the season. For Trepanier, she envisions that Saint Paul shall be the springboard towards a great run of momentum.
The fourth race shall see Trepanier tap into her Canadian roots, furthering the drive for another podium finish on home soil. 1ere Myriam Trépanier (CAN)With 2017 signifying Canada’s sesquicentennial, Red Bull Crashed Ice will make its debut in the capital city of Ottawa in March. With her empowering presence adding to the feeling of national pride, Trepanier already enters the race a winner, having inspired women to pursue their own ambitions.
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: 2015 Quebec City Podium Finish (Pascal Huot), Trophy Photo (Craig Madsen Photography), Hockey Images obtained from Facebook