As a player, coach and, most of all, role model, Laura Dougay exemplifies everything you want in a volunteer and everything you need in someone to grow the women’s game.
Tanner Doiron | April 20th, 2021
After her minor hockey playing days ended in 2011, Laura Dougay knew she wanted to give back to the game that has given her so much on and off the ice. As a former member of the North River Minor Hockey Association (NRMHA) and Mid-Isle Wildcats, she decided it was the right fit to begin volunteering with the two associations and start building her coaching résumé.
Laura began coaching the U15 AAA Mid-Isle Wildcats in 2016 and from there made it a goal to help the development and growth of women’s hockey not only in her area, but all across Prince Edward Island.
“It was evident early in her first season as a coach that she possessed a passion for the game and was a student of the game,” said Brent Thompson, who coached alongside Laura in her early years with the Wildcats. “For the next five years, coaching in the Wildcats system, she continued to connect with her players, fostering trust and instilling a competitive environment. She has been a real asset to the Wildcats association, exemplifying her hockey knowledge and proving to have a good feel for the game and her players.”
Laura coached the U15 AAA Wildcats for two seasons before making the jump up to the U18 AAA level in 2018, where she serves as the Wildcats’ head coach. The 2018-19 season was a big one; she started as an on-ice instructor with Hockey PEI’s all-girls First Shift program and began volunteering with the NRMHA as part of its on-ice development sessions.
In 2019, Laura grew her volunteer responsibilities even further, starting with Hockey PEI’s high-performance program as a coach along with lending a hand with the development sessions put on in conjunction with the U SPORTS national championship that was hosted in Charlottetown.
Turning the page to this season, Laura didn’t stop giving back. When Jen MacDonald, the long-time director of female hockey with Hockey PEI, was asked to recommend someone to take over the First Shift program in Charlottetown, Laura’s name quickly came to mind. Having served as an instructor with the program from 2018 to 2020, Laura adapted comfortably to her new role.
With the First Shift, Laura led 30 new-to-the-game girls through six on-ice sessions of development and fun, all while being a great ambassador for women’s hockey.
Just 27, Laura has proven herself to be a tremendous role model and respected leader in the game on Prince Edward Island.
“Being involved with coaching for the last number of years has been an awesome experience,” she says. “I’ve been able to work with some great groups of players, parents and other coaches over the years. At the U15 and U18 levels, I’ve been able to see many girls develop not only as hockey players but as individuals off the ice as well. The First Shift program has been a great opportunity to promote hockey and to introduce younger players to the game all while being a fun and rewarding experience for myself and the other coaches. Coaching is something that I have always enjoyed and I would recommend it to anyone.”