With a great tradition of developing superb women’s hockey talent, the next generation of Martlets talent is Gabrielle Davidson. A highly accomplished player with a hockey resume that would be the envy of any young player, Davidson was a key contributor to a Martlets squad that enjoyed an undefeated 2012-13 regular season.
For Davidson, her rookie season was everything she hoped it would be.
“It was. I did not know what to expect. In that first season, you looked up to those older players and enjoy every moment. You cherish every game and remember it.”
Prior to joining the Martlets, she had stops with the renowned Dawson College Blues, the Quebec Under-18 Provincial Team, and a one-game call-up with the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She also had the opportunity to represent the Canadian national team at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds in Sweden.
In high school hockey in the province of Quebec, the Dawson College Blues are the most prestigious program one could play for. Two of their most famous graduates include Marie-Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward, who both won gold for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
“Coming in (to Dawson) with high expectations, I knew there were other great players. The coaching staff has been there for so many years. Many former Dawson players coach there so it brought a young atmosphere.”
On her experience with Team Quebec, Davidson reflects on it with great pride.
“A great honor! So many female hockey players would like to be in that spot. To play with the greatest players in Quebec brings back many fond memories. Although I never won the gold (at the Canadian Under-18 Nationals), every moment was worth it.”
To don the Canadian Maple Leaf on her sweater at the 2011 Under 18 Women’s Worlds in Sweden was another cherished moment. On a team that featured Erin Ambrose, the longest-serving player in the history of the U18 Canadian national team, Davidson helped Canada capture the silver.
“It was a tremendous honor and opportunity; a dream come true. The highest level you can play in female hockey is to wear the Maple Leaf. To know that other great players that I looked up to also wore the Maple Leaf, you could not ask for better.”
A one-game emergency call-up with the Montreal Stars of the CWHL, Davidson logged an assist in her Stars debut, a victory over the Burlington Barracudas. The opportunity to play on the same line as Meghan Agosta (and assist on her goal) was a career highlight.
“I was a bit nervous playing with the best female hockey players in the world. I just went in the game and did my best. Players like Ouellette and Agosta helped me have fun. I cherished every opportunity on the ice. I assisted on Meghan Agosta’s goal and played on her line.”
As a first year player at McGill, she never had the opportunity to play with Martlets legends Ann-Sophie Bettez and Cathy Chartrand. Despite the lost opportunity, she has been the beneficiary of their remarkable knowledge. The two legends serve in a consulting capacity with the program, and it has been of great benefit to the young Davidson.
“The coaches are great but I think it just brings a different perspective. They bring the same intensity that they used to play with. They teach us the importance of enjoying every moment, of working hard at every practice and doing the little things. They are exceptionally great leaders and great role models."
In making the adjustment to the university level of play, Davidson cites several influences.
“Stacie Tardif who is in her fifth year has helped me. Melodie Daoust and Katia Clement-Heydra are two great players. I also look up to them. They help you both on and off the ice.”
Davidson continued, “I was not sure what to expect academically, how rushed I would feel. They made me feel right at home. Studying and playing hockey, you could not ask for a better life. There have been many great experiences and many great moments.”
Although the Martlets were unable to qualify for the 2013 CIS National Tournament, the opportunity to try and win the title as a rookie was not lost on Davidson. “It would have been unbelievable. With the group of girls that we have this year, we could have done it. If you win, you think back at all of the hard work. The determination and the great moments would all pay off. It would have been amazing to win it in your first year coming in.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”