Submitted by Wetaskiwin & County Sports Hall of Fame
From an early age it was easy to see that Carson Duggan was a naturally gifted athlete. Growing up at Ma-Me-O Beach, Carson participated in school and community sports including Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton and Track on Pigeon Lake Regional Junior High and Senior High School teams and Hockey and Softball on Wetaskiwin and Falun community teams. Carson did win a Provincial Title in Badminton in high school and her Falun Fireball’s girl’s softball team was also successful at winning a Provincial Championship.
However, Carson’s true passion was hockey. Carson played NCAA Division I women’s hockey at St Lawrence University in Canton, New York for four years and had an exceptional, record-breaking career. Because of her outstanding achievements in hockey, Carson is being inducted into the Wetaskiwin & County Sports Hall of Fame as an Athlete.
Carson earned her basic hockey skills playing in the Wetaskiwin Minor Hockey program. She played from Tom Thumb to second year Midget on teams composed of mostly boys. In her last year of Midget AA, Carson was the assistant captain on her team. Carson’s first experience playing on a female hockey team was as a member of the famed Edmonton Chimos for the 2003-2004 season. The Chimos played in the now defunct Western Women’s Hockey League and that year the Chimos captured silver medals at the Esso Women’s Canadian National Championships. In 2004-2005, after being the leading scorer in the top 40 camp, Carson was chosen to be a member of the Team Alberta U18. In a best of three series, her Alberta team defeated the BC team.
In 2005 Carson was awarded a full four year hockey scholarship from St. Lawrence University in New York. During those four years her SLU women’s hockey team made the NCAA Playoff Tournament every year. For two of those years they advanced to the NCAA “Frozen Four”, quite a feat!
Carson kick-started her own amazing career as the co-recipient of the Eastern College Athletic Conference ”Rookie of the Year” becoming the first player in SLU program history to win the Award (the ECAC is a consortium of 300 schools). Also, Carson was “Rookie of the Year” on her St Lawrence Saints Women’s Hockey Team. In the Saint’s 40 league game season, Carson reached the 30 goal plateau in her first and second years and came close in the other two years tallying 21 and 22 goals. Being a dual US/Canadian citizen, Carson was invited both in 2006 and 2007 to the Team USA National Camp in Lake Placid. All four years at SLU Carson’s school grades qualified her for the ECAC All Academic Team. She is also a member of the St Lawrence chapter of the International Economics Honorary Society.
In her fourth year Carson became the first SLU women’s ice hockey player to reach 100 career goals. It was in the 2009 ECAC quarter finals that Carson scored her 100th and the 101st goals, both within 97 sec. This made Carson the all-time leading goal scorer at SLU for both men and women with 101 career goals (tied with Brian McFarlane, class of 1955). Carson finished her amazing career with 101 goals and 159 points. In her final year Carson was named the Martha Finch “Female Athlete of the Year” for SLU. Additionally, she was the SLU women’s hockey team’s MVP. Besides that Carson made the first round nominations for the Patty Kazmaier Award emblematic of the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. In 2009-2010, after her college career was over, Carson signed to play on the HC Slavia Praha professional women’s hockey team in the Czech Women’s Professional League. Her team captured the Czech League championships. All in all, quite a remarkable hockey career!
Carson’s successful hockey career gave her the opportunity to enter the coaching ranks in women’s hockey and she made the transition seamlessly. In 2010 Carson was hired to coach NCAA Div III at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Carson spent three years at Trinity (2010-2014), the first year as assistant coach and the next two as head coach. In her second year Carson was named NESCAC “Coach of the Year” as well as the New England Div II/III “Coach of the Year”. From 2014-2016 Carson moved to Ohio State, a Div I team, and served as assistant coach. Carson ended her coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut coaching there from 2016-2018. In 2018 her UConn team were Hockey East Tournament Runners-Up.
While coaching at Trinity College Carson completed a Master’s of Economics Degree. In Ohio she also completed a Masters of Sports Administration from Ohio University, the top ranked sports administration program in the world. Being able to earn two Masters’ Degrees while also coaching is a testament to her organizational skills and diligence. Carson continues to give back to her sport by tutoring young female hockey players looking for advice on scholarship opportunities and the recruiting process as well as mentoring young coaches throughout Hockey Alberta events.
Carson had a brilliant, record-breaking playing career at SLU and followed it up with a stellar run as a celebrated coach. Carson played the game with drive and determination and has been described by one of her coaches as a natural goal scorer. Carson has influenced many female hockey players through her coaching and counselling and continues to do so. Her hockey career is definitely an inspiration for young athletes of our community.
Due to the concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and to honour the request of the health officials within the Government of Alberta to limit social gatherings, the Banquet and Induction Ceremony that was scheduled for April 4th, 2020 will be postponed and will be re-scheduled when it is appropriate to do so.