It’s not hyperbole to say that Melody Davidson is the most important figure
in Canadian women’s hockey history.
Davidson is saying goodbye to Hockey Canada on Tuesday, closing a chapter
that has spanned 26 years and included almost every major international
triumph for Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Her résumé is unparalleled in the women’s game – four gold medals at the
Olympic Winter Games, five more at the IIHF Women’s World Championship and
10 at the 4 Nations Cup. Her career has included 36 events with Team Canada
– as head coach, assistant coach, general manager and head scout – and
every one of them ended with a medal.
Davidson first stepped onto the international stage at the 1994 women’s
worlds in Lake Placid, N.Y., winning gold as an assistant under head coach
She took the reins of the national team for the first time at the 1997 4
Nations Cup, finishing with silver, before leading Canada’s National
Women’s Under-22 Team to gold at the 1998 Christmas Cup in Germany just a
few months later.
Beginning in 1999, the Oyen, Alta., native was a mainstay behind the
national team bench for much of the next decade; she was head coach of
Canada’s National Women’s Team for the 1999-2000 season and again from
2004-07 and 2009-10, winning Olympic gold in 2006 and 2010, and served as
an assistant from 2000-02, a run that ended with Canada’s first Olympic
crown in 2002.
In between stints as bench boss of the national team, Davidson served as
head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team in its inaugural
2007-08 season, culminating in a silver medal at the 2008 IIHF World
Women’s U18 Championship in Calgary.
That roster included current Team Canada mainstays like Brianne Jenner,
Natalie Spooner, Laura Fortino and captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who are
among just a small handful of players whose careers have been shaped by
She stepped away from coaching after home-ice gold in Vancouver, taking
over as head scout for national women’s teams and building the team that
won a 10th world title for Canada in 2012.
Next came five years as general manager of the women’s program at Hockey
Canada, a fourth Olympic gold in 2014 and a silver in 2018, after which she
slid back into the head scout role and gave the keys to the kingdom to
national teams director Gina Kingsbury.
Now comes a new challenge – Davidson has taken a position as a summer-sport
advisor with Own the Podium, which provides technical expertise to national
sport organizations. Her portfolio will include men’s and women’s rugby and
basketball, as well as men’s and women’s wheelchair rugby and basketball.
But rest assured that her impact on women’s hockey will continue to be
felt. Simply put, Davidson has been the face of the game in Canada and one
of its most vocal supporters around the world.
When the International Ice Hockey Federation created the Ambassador and
Mentor Program in 2011, she served as coach coordinator while also working
with Norway’s national women’s team, and she has been a prominent voice on
the IIHF Female Committee since 2010.
And while she has always tried to keep the focus on the team, Davidson has
earned her share of individual accolades, including a pair of inductions
into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame – in 2011 for her coaching exploits,
and 2019 as part of the 2010 Olympic team.
She has also been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame (2008) and
Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (2017), was an honourable mention for the
International Olympic Committee Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019
and was the 2010 recipient of the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year Award from
the Coaches Association of Canada.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To list everything she has done,
everything she has won and every single person she has impacted over the
last quarter of a century would take a few hundred more words, at least.
So on behalf of everyone at Hockey Canada, let’s just leave it at this…
Thank you, Mel.