Described by many as an instrumental player in one of the most successful periods of Gee-Gees women’s hockey, Mandi Duhamel is about to embark on a new hockey journey. Recently she earned the position of Manager of Female Development at Hockey Canada. The dream of wearing that infamous maple leaf is an aspiration everyone in hockey shares, and Duhamel is one of the select few who can say she is living that dream.
There is so much to be said about Duhamel’s hockey, volunteering, and coaching careers. During the time she was suited up in garnet and grey, she helped bring the Gee-Gees to three national championship competitions, an achievement that few around the country share. During her five years with the Gee-Gees, she was viewed as an active player within the team. Friend and former teammate Ashley Burrill commented on Duhamel’s influential and positive character. “As an assistant captain with the team, she brought maturity, passion, knowledge, wisdom and such kindness to the team and each player she ever played with. So softly spoken, she’s the type of person who will sit down and thoroughly listen to what you have to say and without hesitation will help you out as much as you need it.”
Duhamel has certainly made an impact on the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. This year, she rejoined the Gee-Gees as an assistant coach and has been a huge contributor to the strengthening and perseverant atmosphere on and off the ice. The girls on the team cannot seem to say enough good things about Duhamel, a perspective also shared by the coaching staff. Former captain and current assistant coach Érika Pouliot shared her thoughts on Duhamel from both a teammate and co-coach point of view. “Mandi had exceptional leadership, I really enjoyed playing with her during my rookie year and I would have really like to have played my entire career with this talented player. I enjoyed working side by side with her in my first year as an assistant coach with the program. She helped the team obtain its objectives; her presence on the team will certainly be missed, but we are extremely happy for her and her new career.”
Duhamel’s irrefutably positive influence has not only greatly impacted the University of Ottawa’s women’s hockey program, but it has also been shared throughout the provincial hockey community. She has coached women’s hockey at both the university and under-18 levels, defining herself as an excellent coach. In one of these many events, Duhamel took on the assistant coaching position with Team Ontario at the National Championships in Saguenay, Québec. Steve Seguin, first-year assistant coach with the Gee-Gees and the head coach of the under-18 event in Saguenay, attested to her effectiveness as a coach, as well as her ability to affect players on and off the ice. “She is a very innovative and intelligent coach that has a strong understanding of what it takes to be a successful player at the university and U18 level. Mandi is a great person who always has the best interest of the player in mind, both from a hockey perspective and on a personal development level.”
Outside of the rink, Duhamel is continually engaged in many volunteering opportunities. Gee-Gees head coach Yanick Evola highlighted her outstanding contributions in the Ottawa community. “Mandi is an example of excellence for us all. Her impact in the community of Ottawa and surrounding areas for the past several years has been remarkable. We are proud that many of our former players continue to stand out in our society and involve themselves within the community. She truly is a very well-rounded and engaged individual that leaves a lasting impression on those around her.” Finally, Ashley Burrill made another statement illustrating just that. “I consider her one of my closest friends; she’ll be so very much missed in the Ottawa women’s hockey community but we wish her the best of luck because she is more than deserving of this opportunity.”