Danièle Sauvageau’s passion, instinct and leadership were instrumental in the historic win by the Canadian women’s hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. As general manager and coach, she transformed a fear of losing into an absolute desire for victory, a radical turnaround that enabled her players to achieve their Olympic dream.
Sauvageau has taken part in six Olympic Games, as women’s hockey coach, general manager and coaching consultant. She played a key role in her team’s wins in seven consecutive world championships, and in the silver medal they won at the Nagano Olympics.
With her dedication, involvement in developing her sport and her winning record, she has become the undisputed guru of women’s hockey in Canada.
For 24 years, Sauvageau has served with the RCMP and Montreal’s police department, including the narcotics division. She is currently works as advisor to the strategic development department.
After completing a degree in social work, Sauvageau graduated from the RCMP academy. She obtained a master’s certificate in coaching from the National Coaching Certification Program and a management certificate from the École des Hautes Études Commerciales.
In January 2008, the University of Montreal gave Sauvageau carte blanche to set up the first women’s hockey team for the Carabins. But her expertise is not limited to just one sport! She has contributed to the success of a number of national programs, including the national synchronized swimming team and the women’s water polo team. She is involved as a coaching and performance consultant with the Canadian Olympic Committee in preparation for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. As such, she is closely associated with the success of Canadian short-track speed skaters and figure skater Joanie Rochette.
Drawing on her expertise in human resources management, coaching, leadership, situation assessment, communication and the formation of winning teams, Sauvageau speaks on various topics related to performance.
In 2003, Sauvageau began to offer her services as an executive coaching consultant. She has supported and assisted numerous public- and private-sector clients in building a new vision and managing change in order to gain a competitive edge.
Her achievements in this field include:
- Designing tools and methods to evaluate Olympic athletes, coaches and the specialists who support the athletes.
- Conducting an organizational review of the Olympic women’s water polo team and the Canadian Olympic synchronized swimming program.
- Advising and mentoring the women’s water polo coaching team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
- Supporting coaches and managers in developing competency profiles since 2003.
Sauvageau is a well-known figure in the media and is often asked to comment on developments in hockey and elite sports in general. Over the course of her career, there have been a number of reports about her on Canadian networks such as CBC, Radio-Canada, TSN and the NBC network in the US, as well as many articles in Canadian and American publications. She is also the co-author of The Golden Tears, the Journey to the Olympics.
Over the years, Sauvageau has been honored with the following awards:
- Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross, 2004
- Coach of the Year (team sports) au Québec in 1995, 1999 and 2002
- Recipient of the coaching prize au Canada awarded by 3M in 1999, 2001 and 2003
- Woman of the Year, YWCA Montréal, 2000
- Director’s medal, Police de Montréal, 2002
- Grace Under Pressure, an award presented by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport, 2002
- House of Commons Medal, 1998-2002
- Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002
- Member, 50 Nation Builders, 2002
Sauvageau was the spokesperson for the Coaching Association of Canada and a member of the Coaches of Canada, as well as serving on the board of directors for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics bid.