Canadian goaltender Charline Labonté today announced her retirement from both the Canadian national team and the Montréal Canadiennes, capping a nearly 20 year career where she won four Olympic Gold Medals, two World Championships and a Clarkson Cup.
After gaining attention in junior for spending 28 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (becoming just the second woman to do so), Labonté first went pro in 2006, spending the season with the NWHL champion Montréal Axion. Labonté joined the McGill Martlets in 2006, amassing a 69-2 record over five seasons, winning three CIS titles (2008, 2009, 2011). Labonté joined the CWHL with the Montréal Stars in 2013, spending four seasons with the Stars/Canadiennes franchise, being named the league’s top goaltender three straight years (2015-17) and a four-time All-Star (2014-17), before winning the Clarkson Cup in 2017, becoming just the eighteenth woman (and fourth goaltender) to join the women’s Triple Gold Club.
Internationally, Labonté first joined Team Canada in competition for the net at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, eventually serving as third stringer behind Kim St-Pierre and Sami Jo Small, but still medalling nevertheless. Labonté emerged as a starter from a pool of St-Pierre, Small and Shannon Szabados by the 2004, and was in goal for Canada’s victory over Sweden at the 2006 Turin Games. Overall, Labonté collected Gold at four Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), two World Championships (2007, 2012) and six Four Nations Cups (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013), winning additional Silver at six Worlds (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016) and three Four Nations Cups (2003, 2011, 2012).
Over the course of her international career, Labonté held the IHLC a staggering 18 times, starting as a backup in an exhibition tilt vs. Sweden in 2001, and ending with a victory at the Sochi 2014 Games, en route to her fourth and final Gold Medal. We wish Charline and her family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!