Charline Labonté turns the page and prepares to take on a new challenge

Sport 27 September, 2017

Photo: Ryan Remiorz, The canadian Press
The quadruple olympic medallist, during a practice of the women’s team canada to the hockey World in April 2016.

It has nice, prepare for nearly a year, Charline Labonté admits that she is somewhat frightened by the idea of storing its equipment and the guardian for good and start a new career which, she hopes, will give him as much pleasure as the game of hockey.


The quadruple olympic gold medallist, who will be 35 years old next month, had already announced last year that she would not attempt to earn his place in the national team for the olympic Games to Pyeongchang by next February. Monday morning, she confirmed his retirement from women’s hockey to focus on his new career in restoration.


“It’s been a long time that I think of it. It is important as an amateur athlete preparing for this moment and be ready to face the real life. Especially in women’s hockey, we can’t yet live it. So I tried to well prepare me. But I realized that, no matter what you do, you can never be really ready for it, ” admitted Labonte, a few minutes before the announcement of his retirement in a coffee shop, where she plans to work at the end of the internship.


“Hockey, without my identity, it is still a good part of my identity. Once you put that aside, you say to yourself : “Now what do I do ? What are my other passions, my future dreams to fulfill ?”. It’s a lot of questions. “


After graduating with a degree in physical education and a master’s degree in sports psychology at McGill University, Labonté has understood that she had yet to find a career that could the be passionate about for the rest of his active life.


“The sports psychology, I like it, and it is something I practice occasionally as a consultant. But I had the impression that I needed a challenge that I would light really. And the only thing that came to mind, it is the kitchen. “


It has, therefore, undertaken in November last year a training course at the School of catering and tourism of Montreal (EMRTM), one of the most famous in the area. Now that she has finished her studies, she plans to work with the chief Vanessa Trahan, herself a graduate of the EMRTM, at the café-restaurant for The Ladies.


“I am aware that I will be difficult to find a job that is going to enthralling me as much as hockey has continued that practice this sport since the age of 5 or 6 years. A lot of people doing work that interests them more or less. I don’t want to be a part of it. I want to do something that will turn me on every morning. “


No regrets


Forced to play in men’s teams in Boisbriand, because “at the time, there was no women’s hockey,” Labonte became the second goalie to evolve within the League the Quebec major junior hockey after being drafted by the Titans of Acadie-Bathurst. The team had a place to be filled when Roberto Luongo is gone to the professional ranks.


She believed that the adventure would be of very short duration, but eventually she participated in 26 meetings during the 1999-2000 season, mostly as substitute, in the face of future mavericks of the NHL like Jason Pominville, Simon Gagné and Mike Ribeiro.


“Circuits and in the minors, I was the only girl in my team, she recalled. Everywhere I went, people looked at me a little through. But personally, I’ve always been a huge pleasure. That was the important thing. And it has continued throughout my career. I was very privileged to go up to the national team and win olympic medals. But at base, it is the pleasure of doing what I loved. “


In 30 years in hockey, the good memories jostling in his head, and it’s hard to isolate the most significant event of his career.


“I cherish my presence at the Canada Games in 1999 within the Quebec delegation. It is a turning point for me, because it is here that I noted. There is also the fact of having been drafted in the QMJHL and compete for a full season with the Titan. It remains an outstanding experience. “


“And there is of course the four olympic gold medals. Most people only see the result, which is the gold medals. But to us, it reminds us all that we experienced to get there. The obstacles, the defeats, the injuries. “


His gold medal favorite remains the one in Turin in 2006, where she has had the chance to compete in the semi-final and the final.


At the time to turn the page on a career that was so filled, Labonté has no regrets.


“Honestly, I am someone pretty realistic. I set myself goals that will put me to the challenge, but are achievable. Is it that I have always had success ? Absolutely not ! I have had to overcome a lot of obstacles, a lot of defeats. But I have no regrets ! “

Charline Labonté in summary

Olympic champion : 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014

World champion : 2007 and 2012

Five times silver medallist at the world Championships

Winning the Clarkson Cup with the Canadian of Montreal in 2017

Rescued by the Titan of Acadie-Bathurst in the QMJHL, she raced 26 games in 1999-2000

A graduate in physical education from McGill University ; Master’s degree in sports psychology at McGill University