Danielle Bourgeois (’05 BA, Psychology; ’09 LLB) might not be a household name to most Edmontonians, but it ought to be. In the annals of the UAlberta Pandas hockey team’s relatively short history, hers is a name synonymous with electrifying play and goal-scoring excellence.
Bourgeois was the lynchpin in a dynasty team that won seven national university championships between 2000 and 2010. Beginning with a stunning rookie season with the Pandas in 1999-2000 that saw her score 29 goals in 29 games (and win the CIAU Rookie of the Year award), she would lead the team to four national championships, while amassing 212 points in 85 conference games. In her last two seasons as a Panda, she was named CIS women’s hockey player of the year, and she remains the Pandas’ top all-time goal scorer at 106 goals.
This year Bourgeois becomes the first Pandas hockey player to be inducted in the University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame.
“It’s a huge honour to be the first Panda honoured in this way,” said Bourgeois.
“I have no doubt that more [UAlberta Pandas] will be inducted in the years to come.” – Danielle Bourgeois
“If there was a way I could share this award with everyone else on the team, I would. There were so many amazing players on the team, and I have no doubt that more of them will be inducted in the years to come. I very much look forward to seeing that.”
While Bourgeois has been “retired” since 2005, her commitment to the game she loves continues unabated in her role as a member of the coaching staff for the MacEwan University Griffins team, together with fellow green-and-gold alums Linsday McAlpine, Lindsay Inglis and Katie Stewart. She also still regularly straps on her own skates with a local women’s league, as well as for an alumni team.
But hockey has not been the only driving force in Bourgeois’s life. Having been drawn to UAlberta with an overwhelming focus on athletics, she eventually developed an appetite for academics, which ultimately led her to pursue a law degree.
“I was always interested in the law,” she explained.
“For a time I thought about going into law enforcement, but it was a conversation with an older lawyer I met after a game that got me thinking about pursuing law. By that time I was really starting to like academics and was thinking about possible after-degree programs, and law just seemed to be the perfect fit.”
“Work ethic is the key to attaining any goal.” – Danielle Bourgeois
After graduation in 2009, Bourgeois began an articling position with Field LLP in Edmonton, where she is now a partner. A self-described generalist with a passion for litigation, her law practice has encompassed everything from foreclosures and commercial lease disputes to public health prosecutions. While she has no plans to pursue a career as in-house counsel for a professional sports team or anything of that nature, her two worlds occasionally collide when she is able to represent sports organizations in court.
While there’s no questioning the link between inherent aptitude and personal success, be it in athletics or academics, Bourgeois credits work ethic above all else in her own triumphs.
“If I could impart one thing to younger generations, it is that work ethic is the key to attaining any goal. It is developed across all areas of your life, not just the ones that matter when you want them to. Work ethic is a learned, finely tuned instrument.”
Know another inspiring UAlberta grad? Nominate them for a 2018 Alumni Award. Deadline is Dec 15, 2017.
Watch our alumni award winners accept their honours at the Alumni Awards ceremony on Monday, Sept. 25 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Reserve your free ticket at uab.ca/AlumniAwards.