Women’s hockey: a return of Canadian women?

Journalists and fans are not the only ones eager to know what the future holds for women’s hockey, with the possible establishment of a major professional league. The players too.

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“We would like to say loud and clear that we are going to have a league next September, but that is not the reality right now, said Quebec forward Mélodie Daoust, met over the weekend, in the borough of Verdun, on the sidelines of the Vitrine Quartexx event, a “showcase” type tournament. Currently, we do not know. We hear things, but we don’t know the truth, we’re not in all the meetings [de l’Association des joueuses professionnelles de hockey féminin (PWHPA)].


Women's hockey: a return of Canadian women?

Photo QMI Agency/Montreal Journal, Martin Alarie

“It’s hard sometimes to know exactly where we are, but the latest news is very exciting,” she added. We think we are well surrounded. I’m confident there will be an announcement eventually, but we don’t know when.”

Concretely, many female hockey players had better wait a little longer before leaving their permanent job while waiting for the creation of a viable league, thanks to which they could devote themselves to their sport.

At the Verdun Auditorium

By tying a few strings, there was reason to hope for an announcement in the coming months, or even weeks. Already, Danièle Sauvageau, great ambassador, let it be known that a professional women’s hockey club would inevitably evolve at the 21.02 High Performance Center, located at the Verdun Auditorium. At least that’s part of the plan.

Moreover, right in the middle of the rink, the name “Canadiennes” is already visible on the logo, which represents the High Performance Centre. You don’t necessarily have to draw a conclusion from this, but it may be an indication of a desired association with the Montreal Canadiens. As was the case in the past, until the activities of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League ended in 2019.

“To achieve great things, it takes time, decided the famous striker Marie-Philip Poulin. It is sure that there will be a team here, whether with the collaboration of the NHL or not. It’s coming and we have good people working to put it all in place.


Women's hockey: a return of Canadian women?

Photo QMI Agency/Montreal Journal, Martin Alarie

“It’s been three long years since the end of the previous league, we created the association for one reason, to have a new league,” continued Poulin. The fact that we stayed together and stuck together during those years says a lot. We still have to be patient, we would like to say more, but currently there are people working for us and we will see later.

– Playing in the Vitrine Quartexx final against Minnesota on Sunday, the Montreal team won 6-3.

Incomplete puzzle

In this great puzzle surrounding the creation of a sustainable professional league by the PWHPA, it should be remembered that another circuit of women’s hockey wanted to continue to develop, without necessarily counting on the presence of the best players in the world.

Last January, the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) announced the arrival of a team in Montreal next season. There’s plenty to get lost in! Thus, last month, it was the National Hockey League which asked the two associations to sit down together in order to find an agreement to unite. The goal is indeed to have a professional women’s hockey club in Montreal. Not two…


Women's hockey: a return of Canadian women?

MARTIN ALARIE / QMI AGENCY / JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

“We hope and we like to have the support of men’s hockey and that has been demonstrated in recent years,” commented Ontario hockey player Laura Stacey, member of the PWHPA, about a possible association with the NHL. We want to create the best possible league for the future of women’s hockey and inspire young girls. It is a fact that the NBA has really contributed to the WNBA, but there are also other ways to do it, if necessary.

“We do not necessarily know the content of the discussions [avec la LNH et la PHF]we just know we want a league where the best female hockey players in the world can compete professionally every day without having to work another job,” Stacey added. And we want this league to last forever.”

Desired depth

In the meantime, the Vitrine Quartexx, the fifth stopover of the 2021-2022 season of the Secret Dream Gap Tour organized by the PWHPA, will undoubtedly have made it possible to identify talented players, over the weekend, in Verdun. It should be remembered that Stacey, Marie-Philip Poulin, Mélodie Daoust and the other players of the Canadian team were not on the ice over the weekend, observing a period of rest before their preparation for the next Championship of the world, starting August 25, in Denmark.

“There are about 50 players who make up the national teams of Canada and the United States. A league must have more than 50 players and there are all these girls who push to obtain the other positions in the event of the creation of a professional circuit”, observed Stacey, recalling the importance of presenting a certain depth.

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