A gold medalist at the 2006 Winter Games with the Canadian national team, the experience and leadership qualities of Gillian Ferrari will be next to impossible to replace. Having played two seasons for the McGill Martlets, one of the signature programs in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) hockey, Ferrari was a key component in the Martlets claiming the 2011 CIS National championship.
Despite her career at McGill reaching an abrupt end, she is very positive about the experience. “It was a really fun time, but the schedule at McGill is packed. We would play two teams in Ottawa. It was too much. Now that I am doing grad school, I thought I should take a step back.” The Martlets also play annual exhibition games against select NCAA teams from Hockey East and the ECAC.
While at McGill, the highlight of Ferrari’s career was claiming the gold medal at the 2011 CIS Nationals. “To win in 2011 was phenomenal. Having retired from the Canadian National Team, I could not anticipate CIS hockey. The level of play was phenomenal. I was so happy and they (McGill Martlets) are a great bunch of girls. I was privileged to have had a chance to play with them.”
In the winter of 2012, the friendly and down to earth Ferrari was one of several women’s hockey players that gave her time to participate in Hockey Helps the Homeless women’s ice hockey tournament held at Bell Sensplex in Kanata, Ontario. “It was a great time. I enjoyed interacting with the players.”
The concept of the Hockey Helps the Homeless male and female hockey tournaments is that a group of two to four professional players would play with a team composed of non-professionals that made a donation for the right to play, while participating in a day long tournament. “My teammates and I had the same goal; we wanted to win the tournament!” Her presence at the tournament did not go off without a little humor. During the tournament, Ferrari and Marie-Philip Poulin exchanged jerseys. “I did wear Poulin’s sweater,” joked Ferrari. “I had it in my bag. We did the trade for fun.”
As a member of the Canadian national team that claimed the gold medal at the Torino Winter Games, Ferrari was overwhelmed when told that her team would be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. “It (Torino) was really exciting. I just happened to be on a great team. It was such a great year! It is outstanding to be recognized.”
Recently, Ferrari had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Montreal Stars training camp. “You walk in the dressing room and there are so many stars. It is an excellent caliber. The players from the NCAA and CIS really complement the mix of other players.” With some of those Stars players being former teammates at the national team level, Ferrari enjoyed being able to visit with old friends. “Always really fun. My favorite part is hanging out in the dressing room. The players are really nice and they play at a high level.”
Her sense of humor and team-first attitude will be sorely missed by the national powerhouse Martlets, but her remaining teammates are definitely better for having had the opportunity to call her their teammate.
“All quotations obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”