Goaltenders have one of the most important roles in hockey: They are the last line of defence against the opposing onslaught. They need a level head and quick feet—two traits which McGill Martlets goalie Tricia Deguire has in spades.
Deguire, a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, is in her third season backstopping the McGill Martlets. Growing up in the seemingly-eternal Quebec winter, Deguire started playing hockey at a young age and found success after putting in persistent work.
“I started skating when I was about three or four years old,” Deguire said. “I was really bad at skating at first […], but I was still getting back up and trying hard, so, as I grew up, my skating improved way faster than we thought [….] They put me into hockey with boys, and I just wanted to be one of the best and have fun.”
Deguire’s hockey career did not start in front of the net. As a child, she played forward, putting the puck on net in hopes of scoring as many goals as possible. However, her ambitions changed, and she shifted her game from offence to defence.
“At one point, I thought the goalie was the coolest with the pads, so I decided to cry to my mom every night, and they started to give me my chance,” Deguire said.
Deguire’s love for the position has translated into success. In her rookie season at McGill, she was named both the USports and RSEQ rookie of the year. In May of her sophomore year, Deguire was invited to attend a strength and conditioning camp with the Canadian women’s national development program, followed by an invitation to Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase in August. Ultimately, she was selected for the national women’s development team for the 2018 Nations Cup in Germany, making her the third McGill player to ever attend.
“I never thought I would be invited by Team Canada before coming to McGill,” Deguire said. “Hockey Canada is a big thing for a lot of hockey players. We all want to be there; we all dream of it. I just think that being invited by them and having the chance to try out […] was a dream come true.”
Despite the success, Deguire isn’t counting on playing in the next Olympics.
“There’s a lot of good goalies and a lot [of time] to go before 2022,” she said. “I can’t say if I’ll play there. It’s a dream for sure, and, if it happens in 2022, I would be one of the happiest for sure.”
Unlike many players, Deguire does not wear her number 33 because of any sort of superstition.
“When I got to McGill, the only options for numbers were 1 and 33, and I knew that I didn’t want to be the first one on the ice,” Deguire said. “It’s not superstition, I think. It’s about stress when you get on the ice. I didn’t want to take all the attention, just to be there and be that player.”
Superstitious or not, Deguire is one of the best goalies that Canada has to offer, and, at this rate, she should have a long and illustrious career ahead of her.