Catherine Ward's hockey dream was to be a part of Team Canada and winning gold medals at the Olympics. But hockey gave her much more than the ultimate bling.
“Hockey has taught me so much and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it; it has shaped me for the better.," she said.
Ward debuted with Canada’s National Women’s Program in 2006 as a member of Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team and finished her as career as a two-time Olympic gold medallist, in 2010 and 2014. She was Canada's ice-time leader in Sochi.
The Montreal native first captured a gold medal with Canada at the World Championships in 2012 and added three silvers medals in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Ward also won a pair of gold medals at the 4 Nations Cup (2009, 2013) and two silver medals (2008, 2012).
In 77 games with Canada’s National Women’s Team the defender accumulated seven goals and 36 assists for 43 points. She was a regular on both the power play and penalty kill, and was hailed as a leader.
“I dreamed of being part of Team Canada from a young age and I feel very privileged to have had the chance to be part of it,” said Ward. “From the drive and discipline it takes to achieve your goals, to the friendships I’ve made along the way, hockey has shaped me into who I am today. It taught me how to be a leader and how to make others around me better and I’m fortunate to now combine my two passions, hockey and business into one.”
Ward has been working as an assistant product manager with Reebok-CCM hockey for the past year and will continue to manage the development of hockey sticks with the company.
Learning a new business should be easy for Ward, as she was an academic star. She finished her undergraduate degree in commerce at McGill University in just three years. Then she took only 18 months to nail down an international MBA at Boston University.
Ward retires at the age of 28, leaving the game earlier than some. She had to be realistic about her future.
"In women's hockey, hopefully we will one day be able to live off it," says Ward. "Currently, I think it gives us great opportunities, but it's not really a viable long-term plan."
Ward had been a member of the Montreal Stars in the Canadian Women's Hockey League, where she was an all star, named top defender and won the Clarkson Cup.