2022 23 nwt elizabeth giguere

A baptism by fire

This week’s Rivalry Series stops will mark the first appearances with Canada’s National Women's Team for Élizabeth Giguère

François Lafleur
November 16, 2022

This week, Élizabeth Giguère’s dream will come true.

For the very first time, the Quebec City product will play with Canada’s National Women’s Team when it faces the United States in the first three games of the Rivalry Series.

Giguère, 25, has had to wait a few years before getting her first opportunity.

“Maybe I wasn’t ready at first, about five years ago,” she says. “I always told myself that if I kept improving and working on myself, I could believe in my dream. I wasn't going to give up. Even though I am 25, I’m still in my best years. I'm glad to have my chance.”

Her cousins got her hooked on hockey, but Giguère had to work hard to convince her parents it was a real passion.

"I really wanted to try [minor hockey]; it looked fun," she says. "I started saving money, and my mother asked me why. I told her it was to play hockey. I started playing hockey the next year and I liked it right away, even though I wasn't really good at it."

Giguère played her first few seasons with boys’ teams before joining the girls at the U15 and U18 levels with the Citadelles de Québec.

After three seasons with Cégep de Limoilou, during which she helped the Titans to a league championship, won MVP and rookie of the year honours and led the team in scoring twice, she had to decide which university to attend in the United States to continue her academic and athletic pursuits.

Clarkson University quickly became the preferred option for the entire family.

"It was difficult at first because I didn't want to leave Quebec," says Giguère, who has previously represented Canada at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship and 2017 Nations Cup. "I couldn’t speak English. I didn't want to go far from home. My parents encouraged me to go there to learn English. Since it was only a five-hour drive, I went to visit Clarkson, and I really liked it. It's a small school, and the staff reassured me that they would help me. Hockey is also very popular there."

In the 2017-18 season, her freshman year, Clarkson made it to the championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four. Giguère was the hero, scoring the winning goal in overtime.

That was just the start. Giguère became one of the best players in the college game; she was twice named a First Team All-American, was ECAC Rookie the Year and ECAC Player, led the Golden Knights in scoring in three consecutive seasons, led the NCAA in scoring and, in 2019-20, received the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in NCAA women’s hockey.

After four seasons at Clarkson, including her last as team captain, Giguère sat atop the school's all-time scoring list with 233 points in 137 games (99 goals and 134 assists).

Eligibility rules introduced by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic meant Giguère was able to play a fifth season and she made the move to the University of Minnesota Duluth, earning Second Team All-American honours and helping the Bulldogs reach the Frozen Four final.

The extra year pushed her career total to 295 points, which ranks sixth in NCAA women’s hockey history.

"My best memory is probably winning the Frozen Four," Giguère says. "That's pretty hard to beat. The last few years I was captain were pretty tough for everyone because we were in the middle of a pandemic, but I wouldn't change anything. I will also remember my year at UMD for the rest of my life. It was one of the best years. We made it to the national championship final, and it would have been great to win another title."

Those years spent south of the border have also shaped the person Giguère has become.

Whether it is as a hockey player or simply as a person, she doesn’t regret her decision to go.

"On a scale of one to 10, I was at one when I started [at Clarkson] and now I'm at 10," says Giguère, who is beginning her pro career this season with the Boston Pride of the Premier Hockey Federation. "It's amazing. I didn't speak any word of English, I was shy and very reserved. I've really grown as a person. I'm more mature, and now bilingual. As a hockey player, I learned a lot from my coaches at Clarkson. Then I got to experience a different perspective with Minnesota Duluth, which allowed me to learn more."

Alongside her experience inBoston, the next chapter in Giguère's career will be written in Western Canada.

While this will be her first appearance with Canada’s National Women’s Team, head coach Troy Ryan has been following her performance for some time.

“I remember she was in Halifax at one of our pre-worlds camps [in 2019]. We thought this August at the summer camp that we had, we thought she looked really good; we thought that she looked confident and composed. That just got us even more curious. We’ve always been curious, we’ve always scouted her, we’ve always watched her but her performance at this August camp, we really liked what we saw.”

And what could be better than facing the United States in her Team Canada debut?

“The good thing about the Rivalry Series is that right after worlds, you have an opportunity to repopulate the foundation of your program, so we thought it would be a great opportunity for her to have multiple games against the United States,” Ryan says. “She’s obviously a very skilled hockey player that loves to create offence. We’ll try to throw as much information at her as we can right now but let her instincts take over in the play.”

After only a few days spent with the team, Giguère is already well aware of the importance of these three games, both collectively and individually.

“It's very important to beat the Americans," she says. “In my case, it will be my first official game against the United States. You can see on TV how intense it can get, [and] I can't wait to experience that. I'll have to watch a lot to learn the game systems, how the team works, and all that. I'm not stressed about it, I like learning. I've already learned a lot of stuff after just a few practices. I'm just going to play hockey and hope everything goes well."

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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