mel davidson retirement

End of an era

Melody Davidson may be leaving Hockey Canada, but her quarter century of work has left women’s hockey stronger than ever

Jason La Rose
June 30, 2020

It’s not hyperbole to say that Melody Davidson is the most important figure in Canadian women’s hockey history.

Davidson is saying goodbye to Hockey Canada on Tuesday, closing a chapter that has spanned 26 years and included almost every major international triumph for Canada’s National Women’s Team.

Her résumé is unparalleled in the women’s game – four gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games, five more at the IIHF Women’s World Championship and 10 at the 4 Nations Cup. Her career has included 36 events with Team Canada – as head coach, assistant coach, general manager and head scout – and every one of them ended with a medal.

Davidson first stepped onto the international stage at the 1994 women’s worlds in Lake Placid, N.Y., winning gold as an assistant under head coach Les Lawton.

She took the reins of the national team for the first time at the 1997 4 Nations Cup, finishing with silver, before leading Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team to gold at the 1998 Christmas Cup in Germany just a few months later.

Beginning in 1999, the Oyen, Alta., native was a mainstay behind the national team bench for much of the next decade; she was head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team for the 1999-2000 season and again from 2004-07 and 2009-10, winning Olympic gold in 2006 and 2010, and served as an assistant from 2000-02, a run that ended with Canada’s first Olympic crown in 2002.

In between stints as bench boss of the national team, Davidson served as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team in its inaugural 2007-08 season, culminating in a silver medal at the 2008 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship in Calgary.

That roster included current Team Canada mainstays like Brianne Jenner, Natalie Spooner, Laura Fortino and captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who are among just a small handful of players whose careers have been shaped by Davidson.

She stepped away from coaching after home-ice gold in Vancouver, taking over as head scout for national women’s teams and building the team that won a 10th world title for Canada in 2012.

Next came five years as general manager of the women’s program at Hockey Canada, a fourth Olympic gold in 2014 and a silver in 2018, after which she slid back into the head scout role and gave the keys to the kingdom to national teams director Gina Kingsbury.

Now comes a new challenge – Davidson has taken a position as a summer-sport advisor with Own the Podium, which provides technical expertise to national sport organizations. Her portfolio will include men’s and women’s rugby and basketball, as well as men’s and women’s wheelchair rugby and basketball.

But rest assured that her impact on women’s hockey will continue to be felt. Simply put, Davidson has been the face of the game in Canada and one of its most vocal supporters around the world.

When the International Ice Hockey Federation created the Ambassador and Mentor Program in 2011, she served as coach coordinator while also working with Norway’s national women’s team, and she has been a prominent voice on the IIHF Female Committee since 2010.

And while she has always tried to keep the focus on the team, Davidson has earned her share of individual accolades, including a pair of inductions into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame – in 2011 for her coaching exploits, and 2019 as part of the 2010 Olympic team.

She has also been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame (2008) and Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (2017), was an honourable mention for the International Olympic Committee Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and was the 2010 recipient of the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year Award from the Coaches Association of Canada.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To list everything she has done, everything she has won and every single person she has impacted over the last quarter of a century would take a few hundred more words, at least.

So on behalf of everyone at Hockey Canada, let’s just leave it at this…

Thank you, Mel.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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