‘Women’s hockey is growing’: Poulin, Desbiens and Stacey sign with PWHL’s Montreal team newsbhunt


The first players signed by the Professional Women’s Hockey League team in Montreal were all members of the Canadian roster that brought home Olympic Gold in 2022.

Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens along with forwards Marie-Philip-Poulin and Laura Stacey were introduced Thursday at a news conference in Montreal.

“Women’s hockey is growing and growing in Quebec,” Danièle Sauvageau, general manager of the team, said. “And I think fans can’t wait to be here.”

The PWHL’s inaugural season starts in January with six teams scattered across the United States and Canada. They will be in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York.

Known as “Captain Clutch,” Poulin will star in Montreal early next year. The 32-year-old is the all-time active leader in scoring for the Canadian women’s hockey team with 103 goals and 107 assists in 175 career games.

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“Being able to play what you love most — hockey — and being able to come out on the ice and see the smiles, those eyes sparkling, how excited they are to meet us,” Poulin. “There is no better feeling to do that and it reminds you why we are doing it.”

The four-time Olympian from Beauceville, Que., has long advocated for a sustainable professional women’s league where players earn a living wage and get supports similar to their male pros. She has been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“We’re making history right now.”

Wearing a Montreal logo will bring pride, Poulin said, but she knows “it’s about being more than a hockey player. It’s about being a good person and inspiring other kid.”

Click to play video: 'Marie-Philip Poulin helping local community ice rinks'

Marie-Philip Poulin helping local community ice rinks

Another high-profile star on the roster is Desbiens, a fellower Quebecer from Malbaie, has a career record of 31-6 for Canada. She backstopped the team to gold in the finals of the 2022 Olympic Games, as well as the 2021 and 2022 world championships.

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“We understand it’s a very exciting moment for us and we are confident we will be great ambassadors on and off the ice,” Desbiens said.

Stacey of Kleinburg, Ont., scored four goals and had two assists for Canada in the 2022 Olympic tournament. The forward said she has dreamed of this kind of opportunity since she was a little kid but “never thought it would become a reality.”

“We never thought we would be playing professional hockey in Canada, in one of the greatest cities,” Stacey said. “And here we are. It has left us speechless.”

When she steps onto the ice this winter, she hopes to inspire girls to pursue their passion on the ice.

“I think the thing I am most excited about being in the city being here is the chance to inspire so many young little girls to one day dream about putting on the same jersey the three of us here are going to be wearing in a few months,” Stacey said.

The PWHL’s first-ever entry draft will take place on Sept. 18. Minneapolis-St. Paul will pick first, followed by Toronto, Boston, New York, Ottawa, and then Montreal. The draft will then follow the snake method, which inverts the selection order after every round.

with files from Global News’ Amanda Jelowicki, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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