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St-Pierre returns after hiatus - Olympic gold medalist back from son’s birth

BY PAT HICKEY, THE GAZETTE OCTOBER 18, 2012

  

Kim St-Pierre has been away from hockey for 18 months, but she hasn't lost any of her competitive drive.

St-Pierre, who took time off to give birth to her son, has returned to the Montreal Stars, whose talent-laden lineup includes two other top goaltenders - Charline Labonté and Jenny Lavigne.

"It's his problem," St-Pierre said when asked how head coach Patrick Rankine would divide the workload. "Charlie's finished at McGill and Jenny played so well last year. I think any of us could do the job, and the coach told us that whoever plays the best gets the net.

"I know Jenny's working at a full-time job and I'm a full-time mom," St-Pierre added, "so I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that I'm here to play and not to watch in the stands or sit on the bench. I'm as competitive as I was before."

That competitiveness has allowed St-Pierre to put together one of the most impressive résumés in women's hockey. She won Olympic gold in Salt Lake City (2002), Turin (2006) and Vancouver (2010). She has also been a part of five world championship victories and was the runner-up on four other occasions.

 

A McGill graduate, St-Pierre helped establish the Martlets as one of the top programs at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level and she made history in 2003 when she played for the McGill men's team, posting a 5-2 win over Ryerson.

St-Pierre said she has had to make some adjustments after her son, Liam Goudreau, was born eight months ago.

"I manage," St-Pierre said when asked about balancing motherhood and hockey. "Sometimes my mom's coming to help, sometimes (teammate Caroline Ouellette's) mom is doing it, and sometimes my boyfriend (former McGill hockey player and movie producer Lenny-Jo Goudreau) comes to watch the game with the baby. There's always someone who volunteers, and I'm glad to have so many friends who help me. I have to find ways or I'd always stay at home."

St-Pierre has been on a crash course to get ready for this weekend's start to the Canadian Women's Hockey League season.

"To get back to the fitness level I was at before, that was the main challenge," she said. "I had to wait four or five months after the delivery to start again. It was not easy at first just to get back to training, and then I had to put the equipment on - which is like 25 pounds more - and get on the ice with girls who have never stopped training. I was surprised how quickly it came on the ice. After four or five sessions, I felt good.

Once the fitness comes back, I'll feel like I did before.

"The first month was challenging, and then you go home and there's the baby," St-Pierre added. "I can't nap like I used to. It's a big adjustment, but I'm glad I had this baby. It was a great moment for me."'

St-Pierre, who will celebrate her 34th birthday in December, said she's not sure how much longer she'll play.

"We'll see," she said. "I definitely want to have a second baby when I'm mentally and physically ready. Right now, I'm playing hockey and taking it a year at a time."

But she added that a fourth Olympic gold medal at Sochi in 2014 is probably not in the plans.

"I don't think it will happen," St-Pierre said. "I'd have to move to Calgary, and with the baby it's not easy. My boyfriend has a really good job in Montreal and being away for so long would be hard. My mom would have to move with me and there are so many things that are involved. I have to make a decision in the next couple of months, but it's not likely."

phickey@montrealgazette.com

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