Although not among the current investors, Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is one of the new fans of the Montreal team in the Professional Women’s Hockey League (LPHF).
Molson was thus at the center of the 3,245 spectators present on Saturday afternoon in the Verdun Auditorium. He was also accompanied by the entire Canadiens staff, including general manager Kent Hughes, executive vice president Jeff Gorton and president of sports and entertainment France Margaret Bélanger.
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What would happen if the Canadian one day joined the LPHF?
“We’re not there yet,” says Geoff Molson, aware that there is currently a single owner for the different teams and the league. This is the beginning and I hope that as the years go by we will see more and more support from the National League.
At the moment, it is the group of Mark Walter, already co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chelsea FC, that is in charge of the LPHF. However, the model could eventually change since the teams do not have a name or logo in this first season.
The return of the Canadians?
The question seems legitimate: will we be able to see the return of the Canadians? Remember that the Montreal women’s team changed its name before the 2015-2016 season, following a partnership between the defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the NHL.
“We have been promoting women’s hockey for a long time,” agreed France Margaret Bélanger, interviewed by Le Journal in Verdun. In the Canadian era, previously, we were behind them, obviously. (…) We are happy to see that it is becoming a reality with only one league now. “We will try to attend as many games as possible.”
“Women’s hockey is very important to us, hockey in general in this province is important and we are here to support it,” Mr. Molson added. “It’s a great show and I think everyone here is happy to see a women’s team in Montreal.”
Atmosphere and emotion
Although the Canadian had an afternoon meeting with the Edmonton Oilers, Kent Hughes wanted to be present. However, he had to leave Verdun during the second intermission.
“It’s important to show our support for women’s hockey,” she said, noting the atmosphere and energy of the crowd.
“I think there is a really nice atmosphere,” confirmed France Margaret Bélanger. There was also excitement, at first, seeing these pioneers on the ice. The game is tough, there are good players on both teams.”
The show was marked by the presentation of the Montreal players, among them the famous captain Marie-Philip Poulin, also the Canadian’s player development advisor. Then, during the pre-match ceremony, Danielle Goyette, France St-Louis, Kim St-Pierre, Caroline Ouellette and Danièle Sauvageau, general manager of the Montreal team, were introduced.