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POTSDAM — Gabrielle David has already been so productive with the Clarkson University women’s hockey team that she enters her senior season needing just three points to reach 100 for her career.
But David is not satisfied with what he has already done and spent the summer working harder than before to be ready to excel on the ice this season.
“I worked hard to be one of the best players on the team, but that means I have to do everything right too,” David said.
David has always been among Clarkson’s leading scorers, but her first three years have been behind the likes of Elizabeth Giguere and Caitrin Lonergan.
This year she could emerge as Clarkson’s offensive player.
“I want to improve and grow my game, so I have to be good in all areas,” said David. “I like challenges. It will be good for me.
David scored 38 points as a freshman, 20 as a sophomore in half the number of games and 39 more last year.
“I want to work on keeping my game up and getting points is always fun,” David said. “The shots were there (last year) but having a shooting mentality and wanting to score more is more important this year.
“This summer I have prepared how to have the puck more and control the puck. It’s not just about being there and scoring, it’s also about knowing everything else so you can be in the right place at the right time.”
David said that she worked to improve her speed over the summer. She also worked on being tougher.
Part of his off-season hockey training also included playing against a childhood hero, Canadian Olympian Marie-Philip Poulin.
“I played her in a 3-on-3 league this summer and then at the Canadian proving ground (testing camp in August) we were on the same team,” David said. “She’s a role model for me and she’s also (French Canadian), so we had that connection. In practice, she was trying to go against her line. If I keep going against the hard line, that’s how I get better.”
David’s work ethic is something that Clarkson’s trainer, Matt Desrosiers, appreciates. Many of his best players in the past have also been driven to excel.
“She has become a leader on and off the ice for us,” Desrosiers said. “She just does everything the right way and everything right. On the ice, she’s that girl that I can also point to at any time and say, ‘Hey, that’s how we do things here.’ It’s really valuable to have those kind of players on your team. “You can see when (players) come in and go into preseason, you can tell they’ve worked through the summer. She goes back to not only helping herself but also helping her teammates. When they see how hard she has worked over the summer, they know that she is ready and prepared for the season.”
Clarkson had already won three national titles by the time David arrived on campus and having the chance to win was a big factor in his decision to come to Potsdam.
He was supposed to play in an NCAA Tournament game against Wisconsin in 2020, but that game was canceled at the last minute due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Clarkson did not make the NCAA Tournament in the shortened 2020-21 season, so last year was David’s first chance to play in the event, when the Golden Knights faced Wisconsin.
“It’s something I’ll be proud of,” David said. “I want to get to the Frozen Four, because I haven’t been able to do that. I came here to win and I saw the success they have had and that is something I want to repeat.
David also has a chance to return next year, but she said she’s waiting to see if any kind of major women’s pro league starts after this season.
She also wants to stay involved in the game after her playing career is over.
“I would like to be a strength or hockey coach,” David said. “I want to stay in the sports arena.”