CAF hockey pioneer recognized at gala dinner

CPO1 Line Laurendeau of Canadian Fleet Pacific Operations poses for a selfie with NHL legend Marcel Dionne during the Gala Dinner.

CPO1 Line Laurendeau of Canadian Fleet Pacific Operations poses for a selfie with NHL legend Marcel Dionne during the Gala Dinner.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

An invitation to represent the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) hockey program at the Hockey Canada Foundation 2019 Gala Dinner had Chief Petty Officer First Class Line Laurendeau mingling with her sport heroes.

She was at Edmonton’s Rogers Place June 18 when former Canadian Olympic team member Jayna Hafford was inducted into the 2019 Order of Hockey in Canada. She also chatted with former members of the Olympic team Daneille Goyette and Cassie Campbell.

A stand-out moment was meeting Shannon Szabados, who, in 2015, became the first female goaltender to record a shutout in a men’s professional league. Szabados achieved the feat while tending goal for the Columbus Cottonmouths in a game against the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Hockey League.

“I told her that she helped blaze a trail for women hockey players in the Canadian Armed Forces,” said CPO1 Laurendeau.

A 47-year-old former goaltender, who played for the Women’s Esquimalt Tritons, CPO1 Laurendeau was also recognized during the evening as one of the founding members of the CAF women’s hockey program, and for her efforts in helping grow the women’s game.

CPO1 Laurendeau grew up playing minor hockey on boy’s teams during the 1980s in her hometown of Saint-Jean-Port Joli, Que., because, she says, there were no girl’s hockey teams. When she joined the military, she saw the need to develop a women’s league at bases across Canada. The CAF women’s hockey league is now in its 20th year.   

She says the growth of the women’s game wouldn’t have been possible without support from the chain of command over the years.

“Without them we [women] wouldn’t have been able to do it, so they are also part of the success of the women’s game,” said CPO1 Laurendeau. “It’s the crest on the front of your jersey and not the name on the back that has become my philosophy in hockey, and that is something I have learned during my 26-years career in the Royal Canadian Navy.”

CPO1 Laurendeau says Chief Warrant Officer Eric Bouffard of Canadian Special Forces Unit (CFSU) and CWO John Hall of 2 Canadian Air Division HQ deserve special credit because they were critical in the growth of the women’s game in the CAF when it had few backers.

CPO1 Laurendeau attended the dinner with Valerie Savard, Senior Sports Manager for Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.

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  1. Goops Wooldridge says:

    This is a terrific story and is great recognition for our service members, WELL DONE

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