The Canada women’s national ice hockey team added two more medals to their already decorated trophy case as both the men’s and women’s teams brought home the gold at the 2023 Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) World University Games in Lake Placid, New York.
One of the key contributors to the Team Canada women’s team winning it all was Varsity Blues forward Céline Frappier from Tecumseh, Ontario. The 24 year old had two goals and three assists in seven games, including a goal in the gold medal game against Japan.
Frappier has a masters degree in social work from the University of Windsor and is currently pursuing her masters in education at U of T. She is also a forward for the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team. This week she was interviewed by The Varsity about her hockey idols, her future plans, life as a student athlete, and representing her country.
An unconventional journey
Playing for Team Canada wasn’t an easy journey for Frappier. In fact, she didn’t even make the cut for the team in December. Frappier said, after getting the rejection, “I kept grinding and I was getting ready for my game against Nipissing and I got a call 20 minutes before heading to the rink that, unfortunately, someone got hurt, and I was provided the opportunity to replace them and compete for Team Canada.”
She ended up playing the game against Nipissing University and then hopped on a plane to meet the team in Lake Placid.
Frappier told The Varsity that her favourite moments from Lake Placid were playing with the best university athletes in Canada against the best from around the world at The Olympic Center, the arena where the iconic 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ occurred. Most importantly, though, was living her dream of putting on a Team Canada jersey to represent her country.
Hockey has always been a part of Frappier’s life. She started skating when she was two years old and has been playing hockey since she was four.
When asked about the benefits that hockey had on her life, Frappier stated that the sport helped her “build character” and that she appreciates “being around amazing human beings; travelling around the world; and having the opportunity to play in the FISU games.”
Growing up, Frappier idolized Meghan Agosta, who grew up 17 kilometres east of Tecumseh in Windsor, Ontario and won three Olympic gold medals with Team Canada.
“[Agosta] was someone whom I strived to be like. To represent Canada and be a part of that [legacy]. She’s also one of the reasons why I chose Maryhurst — she also went there. She’s someone that I’ve always looked up to who represented the country well and with grace,” said Frappier.
Frappier also paid homage to Marie-Philip Poulin, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and current captain for the Canadian women’s national ice hockey team, for her leadership role in inspiring young women athletes on and off the pitch. Frappier stated that Poulin and Agosta have “represented our country and helped develop the women’s game and inspire the next generations to come.”
When she isn’t suiting up for the Varsity Blues or Team Canada, Frappier is working toward getting her masters degree in education. She said that the keys to balancing life as a hockey player and masters student are good time management skills and communication with professors and coaches about potential conflicts.
Many things that Frappier learned playing hockey have been applied to her studies.
“There’s a lot of sacrifices [involved]… That’s something I’ve learned from both [my studies and hockey] that go hand in hand with my success.”
With women’s hockey growing as a sport, there are multiple roads that Frappier can travel in her hockey journey after her studies.
“I’m open to anything. I know that the women’s game is still growing and, now that there are opportunities to play pro, there could be an opportunity there. Even moving toward a different role in hockey, maybe trying to do some coaching and staying within the women’s hockey culture and environment.”
There’s a bright future for Frappier, between her masters and her hockey career. Now, the 24 year old returns to a Varsity Blues women’s hockey team that’s first in their division with a gold medal and playoffs right around the corner. Life is looking up for Frappier.