Hometown: Beauceville, Que.
There is no doubt Marie-Philip Poulin is Canada’s leader going into the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary.
Poulin is one of the best hockey players on the planet and one of the most clutch goal-scorers, male or female, in the game.
At 16, she joined the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Montreal Stars in 2007-08 where she dominated. Poulin racked up 22 goals and 43 points in 16 games, earning her CWHL Rookie of the Year honours.
And 2008 also saw Poulin make her international debut with Canada at the IIHF Women’s World U18 championship. She had eight goals and 14 points in five games in a silver medal effort for Canada and was named best forward.
In 2009, she would also earn silver at the U18s and make her senior national team debut with Canada at the Women’s Worlds, with five points in five games in another silver medal effort. Poulin also went on to win her first Clarkson Cup championship in the CWHL in her second season with the Stars.
She burst onto the scene at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver when she scored two goals in a 2-0 win over the United States in the gold-medal game, securing a third straight gold for Canada.
All of this success came before she even started her NCAA career.
For four years starting in 2010-11, Poulin played at Boston University, where she had 24 goals and 47 points in 28 games as a rookie. In her sophomore year, she earned an ‘A’ on her sweater. Poulin would captain the Terriers in her final two seasons and was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmeier Award as the top women’s collegiate player in 2014-15.
In those college years, Poulin would earn silver at the 2011 Women’s Worlds, gold at the 2012 edition, and silver again in 2013. With six goals and 12 points in five games in 2013, Poulin earned tournament MVP and best forward honours and led all players in goals, assists and points.
In 2014, Poulin took her Olympic heroics to new heights in Sochi. In the gold-medal game against the United States, she scored the game-tying goal with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and then netted the game winner on a 4-on-3 power play at 8:10 of overtime.
She began wearing the ‘C’ for Canada at the 2015 Women’s Worlds and was notably named captain for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. She recorded three goals and six points in five games as Canada lost to rival United States in a shootout 3-2 in the gold medal game.
In 2015-16, Poulin returned to the CWHL with the now-named Les Canadiennes de Montreal. With 23 goals and 46 points in 22 games, she earned the Angela James Bowl for most points, CWHL MVP and the Jayna Hefford Trophy for CWHL MVP as voted by the players.
Poulin would repeat as CWHL MVP, Jayna Hefford Trophy and Angela James Bowl winner in 2016-17, which included a second Clarkson Cup championship.
She would win all three awards again in 2018-19 and wear the ‘C’ in what would be the final CWHL season before the league folded.
Poulin missed most of the Women’s Worlds in 2019 due to a knee injury. Without the services of their captain, Canada failed to appear in the championship game and settled for bronze.
The captain is more than aware of Canada’s nearly decade-long gold medal drought at the Women’s Worlds.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit and we’re all aware of that,” said Poulin. “We’re not first right now in the world and we all know that. For us it’s going to be a statement at the World Championship for us to go one game at a time.”
She captained the Canadian All-Stars at the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 game at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis, defeating the American All-Stars 2-1.
She is now a part of the Montreal hub of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and helped Team Bauer win the Secret Cup in May in Calgary. She led the players in scoring with five goals and six assists in five games, including a three-point performance in the championship game.
Team Canada will be relying heavily on a healthy Poulin to lead the way as they look to win their first gold medal since 2012.
“I mean she’s the best player in the world when she’s on her game,” said Finnish goaltender Noora Raty. “She does not have the hardest shot on the ice but I think what separates her from some of the other players is she can shoot it in stride she doesn’t have to stop skating she can shoot it right in stride.
“On the men’s side, I saw it a lot, but she has the ability to hide her shot so she can fake it where I think it’s going glove high but it’s going high blocker. Having the ability to hide where she’s going to shoot it. She’s not very predictable. A lot of the players I can predict what they’re going to do but when she’s coming down I actually have no idea what she’s going to do.”