Charleswood resident Caitlin MacDonald recently won a gold medal at the most important international multi-sports event after the Olympic games.
The University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team defenceman played for Team Canada at the 26th Winter Universiade games, a sporting event in Italy in December that featured over 1,700 university athletes competing in 12 sports.
Named an alternate captain, MacDonald led the women’s hockey team through the preliminary round with a perfect record and an incredible plus/minus goal differential of +55. The Canadian team then routed Japan 15-0 in the semi-final and captured the gold medal with a 5-0 shutout of Russia.
"The highlight of my trip was definitely winning gold and getting to represent Canada," said MacDonald, 21. "Another highlight included meeting and playing with some of the best players and staff across Canadian Interuniversity Sport."
MacDonald’s selection is no surprise given her university hockey accomplishments. The fifth-year Bison has been a first and second team all-star, rookie of the year, and a two-time academic all-Canadian while pursuing a double major in finance and accounting.
"School has always been my first priority, so I try hard to manage my time with that in mind, while still applying myself as best as I can to my sport as well," she explained when asked about balancing elite athletics and a rigourous academic program.
"I try to set myself up for success by taking my course load into consideration each term and ensuring that I will have time to apply myself to everything that I am committed to. Due to our heavy travel schedule, it takes great discipline in planning ahead, and also teaches you how to be efficient with the time that is available to you."
MacDonald attributed her success to making decisions based on what is going to make you happy.
"When choosing programs to play for, at any level, keep an open mind and place great weight on the people involved," she remarked. "By surrounding yourself with the right people you can at least give yourself the best chance of enjoying the time you have to play."
As she looks toward 2015 and convocation, MacDonald is thinking about what comes next.
"I feel that I have invested all that I have wanted to into hockey. I look forward to the opportunity to focus on my career and to explore other interests in my life."
David Hultin is a community correspondent for Charleswood.