Sunday, August 4, 2019

Caroline Ouellette: Two Autographed Cards

A few days ago, in the wake of the CWHL's demise, Mike Murphy from SB Nation's The Ice Garden compiled a list of the league's greatest players by position - a.k.a. the First Team All-Stars - and for perhaps the first time ever, I agreed 100% with someone else's list.

In the next few days, I'll feature a few of the outstanding athletes I was fortunate enough to see play in the few years I had season tickets to Montréal Stars / Les Canadiennes games. Today, I'll shine the spotlight (once more) on the player with the most achievements, the Maurice "Rocket" Richard of women's hockey, Caroline Ouellette. Most of the following facts come from Murphy's original post.

The CWHL's career points record holder - with a staggering 315 points in 184 games - is the cream of the crop. Only three skaters managed to post 60-point seasons, and she's the only one with two. She's the only career 125-goal scorer, the only 125-assist skater, and the league's sole 300-point getter. With two MVP titles and four Clarkson Cups (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2017), she collected both personal and team accolades in her nine-year career.

How incredible was her production? Her 184 assists alone would make her the league's fourth-best in career points. Even better: in an era where players come up younger and younger each year, where pundits start talking about "wrong side of 30" to speak of declining production, Ouellette mutes those voices all by her lonesome, considering she joined the league at age 29, technically past what would nowadays be considered her "prime" (though I tend to disagree with tha notion, because while point production is usually highest between the ages of 23 and 26, overall play and impact is best served from 25 to 32, in both the men's game and women's).

I always like to point out the fact that she is one of the rare players who got to play meaningful, in-season games in an arena bearing her name, a tribute usually given to retired or deceased athletes.

Then again, few team sports athletes get to win four Olympic old medals, six World Championship gold and six more WC silver medals to go with her league championships.

For all those reeasons, she was always one of my favourite hockey players.

Here are a couple of signed cards where she's wearing a pink Team Canada uniform from the 2007 World Championships in Winnipeg, paying tribute to the first Worlds just over 25 years earlier (1990, Ottawa):
That's card #23 from In The Game's 2007-08 O Canada set and National Women's Team subset, which she signed in blue sharpie. I'm open to trading one of them, but I'm not adamant about it either. She will be in the Hall Of Fame someday.

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