A Q&A with Marie-Philip Poulin on growing Women’s Hockey, the PWHPA, and her new partnership with Turo

Photo credit:Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Barden
1 year ago
Marie-Philip Poulin is a hockey icon.
Three gold medals at the Women’s World Championships, three Olympic golds (all of which she scored the game-winning goals for), and a grand total of 16 medals won with Team Canada since she played at the Under-18 World Championships back in 2008.
She’s Canada’s ‘Captain Clutch’ for a reason.
Off the ice, the 31-year-old recently partnered with a company named Turo to release what’s called the ‘Turo SK8’, an mini ice resurfacing machine designed for outdoor rinks.
The Turo SK8 is currently available to book online in Toronto for four hour trips, only costing $29, which is Poulin’s jersey number.
Turo will also be matching proceeds and donating them to KidSport Canada, a charity that “supports children who need financial assistance with sport registration fees and equipment costs.”
Turo was kind enough to invite me to speak with Poulin earlier this week about the partnership. Along with that, I spoke with her about Women’s Hockey, the PWHPA, and what it’s like to play in front of the country of Canada.
All questions were edited for better clarity.
Why was it so important to you to team up with Turo to launch the Turo SK8?
“I grew up in a small town which I played a lot of outdoors hockey. And knowing that this ice resurfacer, you can literally book it and have it at your house into your backyard, like a nice little skate ice resurfacing, I think it’s pretty awesome. Also knowing that TURO are matching the proceeds towards KidSport, it was pretty easy for me to say yes (to the partnership).
How does it make you feel that all proceeds are being matched by Turo and are being donated to KidSport Canada?
“I think it’s important. I think for me knowing that you can make a difference, especially a young kids lives, and families as well. Sometimes it’s hard to afford the kids to play sports and knowing that KidSport are doing that, and knowing that this obviously can get more kids involved, I think it’s very important.”
Speaking of outdoor rinks, was there a lot of time spent by you on the outdoor rinks as a child in Quebec?
“Yes there was. A lot of times where you fall because there was a bump on the ice or snow, so knowing that this can create a nice opportunity for families to book it and have it in their backyard.”
When you look at the Women’s game, and getting young girls to play, what do you think there needs to be for the game of hockey to grow more?
“There is a lot. I mean obviously I think we’ve been trying to make that happen for many years. You can see, it is growing, but not at a fast rate. And I think you can see all of us have been pushing for the game for many years and you can see, you have the Sarah Nurse on the EA Sports cover, which is amazing. You can see little boys, little girls starting to follow Women’s hockey in that sense. Obviously, having a league will be really beneficial, I think we’ve been working many years with the PWHPA to get that going. If it were for all of us, we would have it yesterday, but we want it to be professional with the right things, the right resources. I know it’s going to happen in the next year and we have the right people in place for that. But, knowing that that is there for them, knowing that, obviously, you have the Olympics and the World Championships for Team Canada, that is huge. But I think that gap in between that is very important. When you’re about to graduate from College, knowing that if necessarily part of that program there, that you can still play and you can still do that as a career. I think that that would be so huge and we believe in our product, and it’ll be there. And we’re not only doing it for ourselves, but also the next generation wanting more girls that are playing hockey.”
The Women’s World Championships are going to be in Brampton this year, what does it mean to have it in Canada, and too, the city of Brampton?
“It’s very exciting. I think being back on home soil, obviously we were in Calgary during 2021, it was exciting. We didn’t have our family or friends, so obviously being back here in Canada, hopefully a packed house, having a sea of red and white cheering us on. There’s no better feeling than to play in front of our home crowd and it’s going to be exciting. Having Women’s hockey here in Canada and seeing other countries growing and playing hockey, it’s pretty awesome.”
Whether it’s the World Championships or the Olympics in Canada, what goes through your mind when you walk through the tunnel out onto the ice with the crowd roaring?
“First, it’s wow. And it just gives me a spark. I think it just reminds me of why I’ve been doing it for so many years and I think when you have that support of your country behind you, it gives you an extra step on the ice. You’ve seen it many times when you see Team Canada play in front of their home crowd, you can tell there’s that extra step. And that sense of feeling, that sense of pride, it’s hard to put into words (what it feels like), but it’s a good feeling when you walk out on that ice, that’s for sure.”
When you look at the game of hockey as a whole, the Men’s and Women’s side, is there anything you think both sides can do collectively to grow hockey?
“That’s a great question. I think the difference right now when you talk about this question is, obviously for us on the Women’s side, it’s more than just playing hockey. We gotta promote our game, we gotta promote ourselves as athletes, as a person. And when we put that helmet on, on the ice, obviously you promote Women’s hockey, but when you’re off the ice, the amount of work is still to be done. Taking the time to go see your fans — we’re so aware and we try to connect with the community, with the fans, which is pretty amazing. I think that’s how our personality kind of comes out because we have to do that to be able to have people recognize that. And hopefully, the gap is going to close soon that we not necessarily have to to put so much work on the social media, where you have to say ‘Come see us and make sure you watch us at that level.’ And then, when you see NHL guys, they don’t need to do that, they have the team behind them, which is okay. That’s what makes Women’s hockey different and special. I think when you get to know the personality of people, especially in Women’s hockey, you see it’s so much more than hockey players. The people behind it, how much time we take to connect with our fans, I think that’s what makes it special.”
What’s one word you’d use to describe Women’s Hockey?

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