Devils veteran Melanie Vaillant

Melanie is a defense on the Gloucester Devils playing in her 3rd year in the NRL. Although this would normally be considered her junior year in the league, Mel has quickly adjusted to the fast pace and skill level, while bringing a wealth of knowledge from her 14 years playing ringette.

During her rookie season, Mel says “it was definitely an adjustment period in my ringette career. I’ve never played ringette at such a competitive level, but the team dynamic definitely softened the blow.”

From then, she says her success as a player has come from training herself to relax and use knowledge that she’s acquired from other veterans and the coaching staff to improve her game sense. This has allowed her to develop a more confident approach to playing while being more comfortable at this level of play. This type of development has led Mel to be a go-to player for pressure situations as well as one of the top D on Gloucester for 3 on 2 situations.

During her time in the NRL, Mel says she has learned that in this league anyone can handle the pressure. Every team has the skill and is good enough to win. She has found out first hand how important it is to have a good team spirit and to have heart on a team. It could be the key aspect that gives you an edge.

When asked about her greatest moment so far in the NRL, Mel describes her first Nationals in Fredericton, “It was my first time going to nationals and it was really special for me, especially since we did do well, and saw success. I can still remember being on the blue line for the national anthem during our opening game that week, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt those kind of nerves, but it was such a good feeling!”

Outside of being a ringette athlete, Mel is a student at Ottawa U, working hard to get into teachers college next year. She volunteers in a kindergarten class, works as an early childhood educator in a daycare, and attempts to enjoy a social life in between.

Mel is also one of few players who has been a Gloucester Devil since bunnies, making her a true veteran of the sport and of the team.