The news quickly spread in the Montreal team’s locker room, then the players began to send invitations to their loved ones.
The Professional Women’s Hockey League (LPHF) unveiled the schedule for the opening matches of its six teams on Tuesday. The Montreal club will play its first match on January 2 in Ottawa, the day after the first match in the history of the circuit in Toronto.
“It was a topic of conversation during our drills after practice,” admitted defender Erin Ambrose. It was special to start camp and now we can circle a date. I have already written to my family members to tell them that they will have to make a trip to Ottawa for this historic first game. »
The Montreal team will be the last of the six teams to play their local opening match. She will do so on January 13 at 3:30 p.m. against the Boston club at the Verdun Auditorium.
“To have the opportunity to play in front of our fans, to start in front of parents, families and friends and to be able to show what we can give to the city, it’s important for us,” said goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens. It’s becoming more and more concrete. »
The first meeting of the new women’s hockey circuit will be presented on 1er January at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, when the Toronto club will host the New York club.
The Montreal team will kick off its season the next day against the Ottawa team, at TD Place. The Montreal club will also play the local opening of the Minnesota team on January 6, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Until then, the teams will continue their preparation.
A pivotal date was looming on the horizon, as teams must reduce the number of players at their respective camps to 27 as of Wednesday. The general director of the Montreal club, Danièle Sauvageau, will therefore have to cut four players.
The cut players will then be placed on waivers for four days, and other teams will be able to contact them if they intend to offer them a contract.
The six teams will also meet in Utica, New York, from December 3 to 7, to play preparatory matches. Another period of waivers will follow for the next wave of cut players.
In addition to evaluating the players present at camp, coach Kori Cheverie has the mandate to assemble a united group for the start of the campaign.
Most of the players have never played together and come from different backgrounds — American universities, Canadian and American national programs, or even Europe.
“We want a competitive environment, but we also want the players to build relationships,” insisted Cheverie. We can’t wait until we have chosen the team to develop cohesion. It is therefore important for us to work as if we were already a complete team, regardless of the fact that players are being evaluated. »
In order to create bonds between the players, the team must go on a retreat for a few days outside of Montreal. Even the players said Tuesday that they didn’t know exactly what plans the team had in store for them.
“It will be super nice to just be the girls together,” said defender Maude Poulin-Labelle. It’ll help us get closer, because we don’t really know each other. We’ve only been around each other for about ten days. But it’s also going to be about spending time together off the ice, getting to know the different personalities of the girls. It should be very pleasant. »
This will be another step towards an increasingly concrete goal, now that we know when the first season of the LPHF will begin.