Retirement of legendary Lori Dupuis a significant loss for CWHL

by Mark Staffieri

A member of the first Canadian women?۪s hockey contingent that competed in the Winter Games (Nagano 1998); Lori Dupuis is a living legend and a remarkable asset for the Brampton franchise. In a superlative career that spanned the course of three decades (1990s, 2000s, and 2010s), Dupuis was one of the pioneers in women?۪s hockey.

???It was time. I had been thinking about doing it last year. Jayna Hefford and I are good friends and she asked me to play another year. This year, I feel like I am ready. It catches up to me. Everyone is younger, faster, and stronger. When I started playing, I was considered big, and now there are many players that are bigger than I am. With four Clarkson Cup games in four days, I will really feel it this weekend.?۝

While she has decided to retire from the game, the fans that admired her and the women who played with her knew how special she was. The final game of her career (a March 16 contest with Toronto) resulted in one of her best performances of the season.

She would log one goal and two assists (the assists were the final two goals of Cherie Piper?۪s career) in a 7-0 victory against the Furies. During the regular season, the black and red enjoyed a 6-2-0 mark when Dupuis would log at least one point.

???I kind of laughed (after the game). I said to Piper we should announce our retirement at every game. That was our best performance all year, especially with the emotion of everything. When you play with Gillian Apps and Cherie Piper, how do you not score? Seeing several #10 Dupuis jerseys in the stands that day, it got the adrenaline going.?۝

Although Dupuis is one of the cornerstones of the Brampton franchise, the emotion was evident in the locker room during her final game, ???After the first period, the coach said to calm down. It looked like I was gripping my stick too hard. Usually, I am joking around in the locker room and I am pretty relaxed. Usually nothing gets me going too much. Maybe there was a little too much adrenaline.?۝

The highlight in her career came during the Esso Women?۪s Nationals in 2006, one in which Brampton captured the Abby Hoffman Cup. ???Back when we were in the NWHL, we won the Esso Women?۪s Nationals in 2006 (in Sydney, Nova Scotia). That was a pretty big thing. We were running bare bones all year.?۝

???Not having a full roster due to the Winter Games (in Torino), we were pushing to win. It was all about who was putting forward their best effort. Everyone contributed and it was a great feeling playing in front of 7,000 fans. We really bonded, especially being short staffed during that Winter Games year. Those are memories that you remember.?۝

Along with the Abby Hoffman Cup, Dupuis enjoyed Winter Games gold in 2002, IIHF World Gold, and the first CWHL championship in 2008. Although the Clarkson Cup has eluded her, the thought of bringing a Clarkson Cup to Brampton in her retirement year is important to Dupuis.

???It would be the pinnacle of our team history. We had so much adversity this year, including injuries at the beginning of the season. It would be the best way to finish this book off.?۝

For Brampton hockey fans that enjoyed Lori Dupuis play alongside the likes of Vicky Sunohara, Jayna Hefford and Gillian Apps was legendary. It would have been the equivalent of the New York Yankees having Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle playing together at the same time.

These four fantastic females, along with Cherie Piper, were a treat to watch. ???The Brampton Thunder was a great team for me to play with. I played for 15 years and I would not have wanted to play anywhere else.?۝