Know Your Athlete, Martlets, Sports

Know Your Athlete: Marika Labrecque

After five years with the Martlets varsity hockey team, sixth-year centre Marika Labrecque took her athletic prowess to the next level and joined the varsity golf team.

Originally from Lac-Etchemin, a small town near Quebec City, Labrecque chose to attend McGill both because of its educational and athletic prospects.

Labrecque has played hockey since she was five years old. Growing up playing on boys’ teams, Labrecque made the transition over to girls’ hockey when she was 15, playing for the Honey Bees du Sud in the Ligue de Développement du Hockey M18 AAA du Québec. Before kicking things off with the McGill Martlets in 2017, Labrecque also played two seasons for the Dawson College Blues, where she logged 22 goals and 32 assists in the 45 games she played. After graduating with a physical education degree in 2021, Labrecque returned for her fifth year of eligibility as a School of Continuing Education management student. Over the course of her four seasons with the Martlets, Labrecque has consistently been one of the top four scorers on the Martlets—she has totalled four goals and one assist over 12 games so far this season. 

While hockey has been a lifelong passion, golf is a newer affection for Labrecque. She was briefly introduced to golf in elementary school through an after-school program that transported students to a golf club where they received lessons. Outside of that, however, she didn’t play much when she was younger. Like many others who found a new love for the game over the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport piqued her interest mainly over the past two summers.  

“At the beginning of the year, I sent a message to the coach and just [scheduled] a practice with them, just to see—in comparison to the other girls—where I was at,” Labrecque said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “I really love golfing, so I just wanted to see if maybe I have a chance [….] I just wanted to try a practice with them, but I made the team.”

Despite no overlap between varsity seasons, with golf wrapping up at the beginning of October and hockey just getting started, Labrecque finds that being a dual-sport athlete to be a demanding feat.

“After a weekend of golf—we played three rounds—my back was hurting so much,” she said. “I have back problems with hockey, but after turning like 200 times […] it was more difficult to play hockey Monday morning after that. Golf is not intense, but it is so demanding for our bodies at the same time.”

The golf season was an exciting opportunity for Labrecque, offering her access to a whole new level of competition.

“With golf, I’ve never played against really good players,” she said. “I play with and against players at Lac-Etchemin, but with so many girls that are so good [at McGill], it was so nice to play with them and compete with them. It just shows me that I still have stuff to learn in golf, and playing with them—with so many good players—was the best thing for me.”

Outside of school, Labrecque cannot get enough of sports. Even with a packed schedule, she appreciates that sports give her an opportunity to be competitive. She plays tennis in the summer, and also trains for triathlons. She enjoys being on the water, and one of her favourite things to do in Lac-Etchemin is to go boating with her friends.

This year, the Martlets will be a relatively young roster consisting of seven first-years and eight second-years. With the 2022-23 season serving as Labrecque’s sixth with the Martlets, she is a seasoned veteran well-versed in the ins and outs of RSEQ hockey. Labrecque hopes the team can grow and learn from one another, and looks forward to the remainder of a promising final season as a Martlet.

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