Noemie Marin chuckles as she laments her lack of jewelry. It’s not that she doesn’t have any from her playing days. She most certainly does. Four Clarkson Cup rings to be exact, making Marin the only player other than the recently retired Caroline Ouellette to win four CWHL crowns. But it’s what she doesn’t have that bothers her. “I wanted to have one full hand, obviously,” she laughed. “I wish I could’ve had a big high-five in the air.”
The truth is there isn’t much else Marin, 34, could’ve accomplished during her decade-long CWHL career, one that came to a close in mid-September when she retired. Her resume is impeccable. Across her 200-plus game CWHL lifespan, all of which was spent in Montreal with the Stars and Les Canadiennes, she amassed 259 points, good for second all-time behind Ouellette. Last season saw Marin claim one of the circuit’s all-time marks for herself.
In her final regular-season game, she scored to push her career goal total to 133, surpassing Ouellette to become the CWHL’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Marin seemed primed to pad her totals this season, too, but her 18-goal, 33-point performance in 2017-18, which put her sixth in CWHL scoring, belied the fact her body was reaching its limits. Add that physical toll to the responsibility of an off-ice career – Marin has been teaching full time for the past six years – and her duties as coach of John Abbott College’s women’s program, and Marin felt it was best to go out on top. “My knees especially are having a hard time and were having a hard time in previous years,” she said. “So, I thought, this year, with all the work that I do outside of playing for Les Canadiennes, it was a good time to hang up the skates.”
Despite her success in the women’s pro game, not to mention standout play in the NCAA with the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she twice finished top-10 in Patty Kazmaier Award voting, she’ll walk away having never played for Canada at the World Championship or Olympics. Though she was invited to Team Canada camps on numerous occasions, Marin never made the cut. Injuries, she said, played a part in that, as did her hiatus in 2007-08, when she put her hockey career on hold after earning a spot on Canada’s softball squad for the 2008 Beijing Games.
That her one Olympic appearance was in softball, not hockey, makes for an odd footnote to a tremendous on-ice career. It’s not an asterisk over which Marin is about to lose sleep, however. “You talk to anybody that played and coached, and they’ll tell you as a player you always want to achieve at the highest level,” Marin said. “So, obviously, yes, I wish I was picked. I would never say otherwise. I wish I was an Olympian in hockey as well. But you come to a time when you’re finally at peace with those decisions that were made in the past, and realize you’ve learned from those moments in your life, and it made you a better person for it.”
Not only did it make Marin the player and, more importantly, the person she is today, those camps also opened doors for her. The connections she made at Hockey Canada have given her opportunities she may not have had otherwise. Thanks to her efforts at John Abbott College and with Hockey Quebec, Marin got the chance to work the bench with Canada’s under-18 team at the 2015 worlds and held the top job with the national women’s development team at the 2017 and 2018 Nations Cup tournaments, as well as heading up the coaching staff during a three-game exhibition against rival Team USA in 2016.
So, maybe there’s a place yet on Team Canada for the woman who retired as the CWHL’s most prolific goal-scorer. “Obviously, there’s always going to be a part of myself that might be disappointed for not going (as a player) because it was my dream,” she said. “But now, hopefully, I’m going to work towards realizing other dreams and maybe, eventually, coach at the Olympics.”
This story appears in the November 5, 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.