Caroline Ouellette - Tuesday Dec. 17, 2013 16:21

Dan Church's exit no surprise to Canada's hockey women

Canadian players must move on with little time until Olympics

Dan Church
Former Team Canada coach Dan Church resigned from the position last week (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

Our coach Dan Church resigned last week. The bombshell was dropped in our change room last Thursday, after our morning practice. Imagine, less than two months from the Sochi Games! It was a bombshell, all right.

I would be lying if I told you that this announcement came as a surprise to us players. We knew that something was up. Hockey Canada’s management gave us notice that Dan would be absent for at least two days, because he had some personal problems to take care of. A coach missing a game against the U.S. team is pretty suspicious.

I know that everyone is trying to find out the reasons for his departure. He mentioned personal reasons. I know that Dan is a very honest man, and passionate about his work. My relationship with him was respectful and his door was always open. This development makes me pretty sad. I am not in the know but I imagine that there must be some conflicts when this type of thing happens.

Emergency meeting

After our loss 5-1 against United States Thursday night, we figured we needed a team emergency meeting. We held it right after the game. I don’t want to make excuses for our defeat, but we were all mentally exhausted after the day’s events. Nevertheless, we needed to tell our truths.

Almost half the players spoke up. The team of coaches were there, and obviously we can’t always share the same point of view. I asked my teammates to regroup and to go back to being close to each other. It is imperative to not be divided, but united again. That was the essence of my speech. Players like Marie-Philip Poulin and Catherine Ward also had some significant words to share with the rest of us.

It’s true that Dan did not meet with us after his resignation. Nobody has the right to be angry, though – we cannot judge his reaction. For sure it’s a very difficult thing to go through. And we cannot forget that this can’t be easy for general manager Melody Davidson either.

The assistant coaches Danielle Goyette and Lisa Haley do a good job. I can ensure you that one day Danielle Goyette will become the Canadian team head coach for the Olympic Games, even though it's not this time around. 

Attack down

We have sustained many losses against several triple A midget teams from Alberta since our victory at the Four Nations Cup last November. We are looking for answers to our problems. Everything started when an announcement was made that three of our players were cut from the team.

It was a very emotional moment for us. We have also had many long trips and our attack has fallen apart. These are not excuses, it’s our reality. We are in the ditch right now, and we must get out of it.

This defeat showed us that we still have a lot to work on. We know how motivated our American rivals are after their first three setbacks against us. Our recent loss must encourage us to advance as a team, and we are coming back to our training more determined than ever to improve.

Finally, I would like to thank Hockey Canada for a lovely surprise at last Thursday’s game. Before the match, they presented me with a plaque in recognition of my 200 international games with the national team.

I didn’t know that my parents were going to be there in the stands when I jumped on the ice. It was my teammate Charline Labonte who noticed them and told me. I was really very touched – it was a least one piece of good news on a bad day. 

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