Carolyne Prevost has never specialized in just one sport.
Throughout her athletic career, Prevost has won 11 Canadian national championships in four different sports. She is an 11-year professional hockey player and a three-time CrossFit Games athlete. She earned these athletic accolades while also teaching high-school math and physical education full-time and running a CrossFit affiliate as a Level 2 Trainer for students at the school.
But Prevost does more than inspire women and girls in sports.
She fights for them.
Carolyne Prevost at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Ginnie Coleman
Fighting for Women’s Equality in Professional Hockey
At 3 years old, Prevost picked up gymnastics, and by 6, she was already involved in two more sports — soccer and hockey. A few years later, she added taekwondo to the mix.
Although she excelled in all four sports, hockey would offer up the most opportunities after high school.
Prevost played in the Provincial Women's Hockey League (PWHL) — a junior women’s hockey league in Ontario — and in 2008, she was part of the first National Women’s Under-18 team, taking silver at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
“A lot of those players are still currently playing for the national team at the Olympics,” Prevost said. “So it’s really cool to look back at that first team that started.”
The teen’s accolades landed her a full-ride scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, where she played in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) for four years. Upon graduating in 2012, Prevost was selected by the Montreal Stars in the 2012 Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) draft. She played one season with Montreal before moving over to the Toronto Furies as a free agent, becoming the second player in CWHL history to play for both Montreal and Toronto. Prevost played a total of seven seasons until the league folded in May 2019 due to financial problems.
Carolyne Prevost playing for the Toronto Furies | Photo courtesy of Carolyne Prevost on Instagram
But her professional hockey career didn’t fold with the league.
That same month, a group of around 200 women who were previously part of the CWHL formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA). This organization sought to build a sustainable and viable professional league for women to play hockey professionally in North America.
Most women — including Prevost — don’t get paid enough to play hockey professionally. Olympians may get paid through sponsorships, but the players not associated with Team Canada must take up full-time jobs to supplement their incomes.
“So you go from graduating (university), having access to all these amazing resources and facilities to all of the sudden entering these ‘professional’ leagues in hockey, and you’re not getting nearly as many fans, you’re doing your own laundry, you’re buying your own equipment, and you’re practicing late at night. The resources are not even close to what we had at university,” Prevost told Sarnia This Week.
The PWHPA has been negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and recruiting sponsors to make sure the new league is financially viable and has proper infrastructure in each city to support it. This document will redefine what professional women’s hockey looks like in the future, and Prevost said the launch of the league is close.
In the meantime, Prevost has been playing expedition games around North America — which are friendly games between two teams that do not count in the league standings or playoff results — until the league is officially launched.
Carolyne Prevost playing for the PWHPA | Photo courtesy of Carolyne Prevost on Instagram
Showcasing Strength as a Woman in Sports
When Prevost graduated from the University of Wisconsin, she was looking to earn a spot on Canada’s 2014 Olympic Women’s Hockey Team while pursuing professional hockey. She made it to the final cuts but was ultimately not accepted on Team Canada.
Although her goal to compete at the Olympics was halted for another four years, Prevost set her eyes on a new goal: CrossFit. After finding the sport in April 2013, she competed in her first Open in March 2014 and qualified for Regionals the same year. Prevost has qualified for the final stage of competition before the Games every year since.
In 2019, Prevost received her first invitation to the CrossFit Games after a 14th-place worldwide finish in the Open (the top 20 qualified). She has since appeared at the CrossFit Games two more times, in 2021 and 2022.
Carolyne Prevost at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler
Prevost was still playing professional hockey while pursuing the CrossFit Games.
“I like to push myself to be the best that I can be,” Prevost said. “And if I can still compete at a high level of hockey (while competing in CrossFit), I don’t know why I would give that up,” she said. “I think that they both benefit each other.”
Since starting CrossFit, Prevost said she feels fitter and faster on the ice. She can also attribute her longevity in hockey and ability to keep up with the Olympians on the team to CrossFit. In return, Prevost finds playing hockey has helped her as a CrossFit athlete, adding extra agility and proficiency with lateral movement to her athleticism on the field.
Teaching the Next Generation About Women in Sports
In addition to pursuing elite-level sports, Prevost is a full-time teacher of nine years at École secondaire Gaétan-Gervais, a French-language high school in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. She teaches ninth and 10th-grade math as well as physical education for grades 9-12, and is a role model for the young girls at the school.
“A lot of times you’ll see a guy in that position and a lot of females will be a little bit more shy to participate,” Prevost said. “But then when they see that there’s a woman that’s demonstrating and showing them that they can do this, too, I think it just give a little bit of confidence.”
Photo courtesy of Carolyne Prevost on Instagram
On top of that, she also runs a CrossFit affiliate at the school during the lunch break. Six years ago, Prevost opened CrossFit GAGE to provide free CrossFit classes for students. She coaches one-hour classes to around eight to 12 students every Monday and Thursday and supervises and coaches students in an open-gym-style class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
What’s Next for Prevost?
Although Prevost missed out on an invitation to the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games by four spots at the North America East Semifinal, she has been invited to join the Demo Team for the 2023 Games.
Each year, a team of experienced CrossFit athletes is selected to demonstrate the challenges athletes will face on the competition floor, and the Demo team is stacked with talent this year. Prevost will be one of the six in Madison, Wisconsin, this week, ready to model the tests the athletes will face to determine the Fittest on Earth.
Through her achievements as an athlete to her advocacy for women in sports, Prevost has left a legacy that will continue to inspire the next generation.
“Being an athlete has always been extremely important to me. So I definitely want to influence young girls, especially as a teacher, and show them that girls can be active and play a lot of sports and that a lot of opportunities can come from being a female athlete,” Prevost said.
Photo courtesy of Carolyne Prevost on Instagram
Cover photo by Charlotte Foerschler