MONTREAL, QC. — It was quite a festive affair.
As I walked through the doors to the arena, I was greeted by some very beautiful smiles. I paid my entrance fee and got my hand stamped and took my pink ribbon for my lapel.
I was left with a feeling that these volunteers were very proud and very happy.
It was a great feeling.
Jostling through the throngs of young families and young people looking at the tables that held the Silent Auction items on the promenade, a thought crossed my mind.
This group has wonderful angels.
The tables were teeming with hockey paraphernalia and memorabilia. You could bid on an Alex Kovalev picture, jerseys signed by Sidney Crosby, Sean Couturier and Jean-Sebastien Giguere that were donated by Reebok-CCM. You could even pick up Kim St-Pierre’s blocker/catcher, a signed goalie stick, and a signed Team Canada stick.
They had cupcakes and they had beer donated by Molson.
Yes it was an interesting mix!
It was Saturday, November 17, 2012,at Étienne Desmarteau Arena, in the Rosemont borough of Montreal, and I was there to see my very first Montreal Stars game and anxious to see these women play.
They hosted the Boston Blades and their 3rd Annual Montreal Breast Cancer Foundation fund raiser. The pink jerseys and sticks they were to play with in the first period were to be added to the Silent Auction.
During the warm up, the head coach of the Montreal Stars, Patrick Rankine, and GM, Meg Hewings were watching the team from the stands and mingling with the fans.
Yes they were in the stands and they were mingling.
After the team introductions and the singing of the National Anthems, the game began.
And what a game it was.
Very exciting, fast paced, hard hitting.
I never thought I would have room in my heart for two hockey teams, but I do.
Allow me to introduce you to Montreal’s other professional hockey team, The Montreal Stars.
#4 Sara Dagenais ,Winger, Montreal, QC North Dakota University
#8 Cathy Chartrand, Defence, Nominingue, QC, CAN NTL Team/McGill University
#10 Noémie Marin, Winger, Acton-Vale, QC, CAN NTL Team/University of MN-Duluth
#12 Haley Irwin, Winger, Thunder Bay, ON, CAN NTL Team/University of MN-Duluth
#13 Caroline Ouellette, Winger, Montreal, QC, CAN NTL Team/University of MN-Duluth
#16 Carly Dupont-Hill, Defence, Pointe Claire, QC, McGill University
#18 Catherin Ward, Defence, Montreal, QC, CAN NTL Team/McGill University/Boston University
#19 Alyssa Cecere, Defence, Brossard, QC, McGill University
#21 Julie Chu, Defence/Winger, Bridgeport, CT, US National Team/Harvard University
#24 Ann-Sophie Bettez, Winger, Sept-Iles, QC, CAN NTL Team U22/McGill University
#25 Vanessa Davidson, Winger, montreal, QC, McGill University
#26 Lisa-Marie Greton-Lebreux, Defence, St-Zacharie, QC, Concordia University
#27 Charline Labonté, Goaltender, Boisbriand, QC, CAN NTL Team/McGill University
#33 Kim St-Pierre, Goaltender, Chateauguay, QC, CAN NTL Team/McGill University
#35 Jenny Lavigne, Goaltender, Ste-Martine, QC, Montreal CWHL
#40 Sarah Vaillancourt, Winger, Sherbrooke, QC, CAN NTL Team/Harvard University
#44 Marie-Eve Provost, Winger, Laval, QC, Vienna Flyers/Moncton University
#47 Emmanuelle Blais, Defence/Winger, Lasalle, QC, CAN NTL Team/University of MN-Duluth
#81 Carolyne Prévost, Winger, Sarnia, ON, CAN NTL Team/University of Wisconsin
#86 Dominique Thibault, Winger, L’Orignal, ON, Clarkson University
#87 Meghan Agosta-Marciano, Winger, Ruthvemn, ON, CAN NTL Team/Mercyhurst
They won the inaugural Clarkson Cup in 2009 in Kingston, Ontario and are three-time Clarkson Cup winners and the current Champions. The club has played in the CWHL since it was formed in 2007.
If you’re starving for hockey, they are the team you should make an effort and go see.
It’s good hockey.
John Bartlett, the voice of the Montreal Canadiens, who was also at the game put it simply. He said what makes this game exciting to watch is that there is more puck possession. It is how it is coached and how it is played. There is more skill involved. They don’t play the trap system and there is no dumping the puck down the ice.
He also explained to me that when the league first started there was only one line of Olympians. Now there are at least three Olympic calibre lines, which is why the hockey is so much better.
He also told me that the players are not paid and that there is no per diem provided to them when they travel. Sponsorships and ticket sales are what fund many expenses , and the CWHL pays for basic travel, ice rental, uniforms and equipment costs.
I was stunned.
These women play for the love of the game.
How can you not respect and love that?
I sure do and understand the pride the volunteers of the team projected.
I feel that pride too.
As I left the Étienne Desmarteau Arena and walked to the parking lot I knew I had a new team to follow. This was a club that had earned my respect and love.
I gave them a chance and wasn’t disappointed.
I hope you do the same.
Olympians were on the ice that night: From the Canadian National Team , Caroline Ouellette, Meghan Agosta, Catherine Ward, Charline Labonté and Julie Chu from the Montreal Stars as well as from the US National Team , Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Kacey Bellamy, Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack from the Boston Blades.
The Montreal Stars lost 5-3. There were 900 people in attendance that night and $7000 was raised and donated to the Montreal Breast Cancer Foundation The next day there was a rematch and the Boston Blades took that one too with a score of 4-3
About the CWHL
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey, while providing a place for the best female hockey players in North America to train and compete. The league offers fans an international-grade showcase for the most talented female hockey players. The CWHL is entering its fifth season as the premiere Women’s hockey league in the world. Since its inception in 2007, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has supported all teams in their season of home/away games, as well as charity and exhibition games in the community. Each season has culminated in an exciting playoff tournament where the top teams play-off for the Clarkson Cup. The CWHL is a player-driven and centrally funded league, which means teams receive equal access to funding. SOURCE: http://montreal.cwhl.ca/view/montrealstars/home
You can follow the team on twitter @MontrealCWHL and on their Facebook Page MontrealCWHL. Their next home game is Saturday November 24, 2012 at 6:00pm. Tickets are only $10 and children under 12 years of age are free.
Category: Fan Focus