The Montreal Stars lost only two games in the regular season last year, but fell short of the championship in the Clarkson Cup playoffs. The longer-than-normal offseason – it was only the second time the Stars failed to play in the championship game since the cup was awarded in 2009 – ends tonight when they host the Boston Blades.
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The Blades were last season’s runner up during the regular season and lost the championship game to the Toronto Furies. They already had U.S Olympians like Hilary Knight but added three more in the Draft this season – Jenny Potter, Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker. They also have Meghan Duggan and Canadian National Team member Tara Watchorn.
The Stars also have Olympians in their own right. They had American Julie Chu and Canadian captain Caroline Ouellette return after the Olympics and also added Charline Labonte and Catherine Ward back into the fold this season. 2013 first round pick Lauriane Rougeau also returns. Montreal added Kim Deschenes from the University of Montreal who was their 2014 first rounder.
The team has lost Vanessa Davidson and Sarah Vaillancourt but still has plenty of fire power. Last year’s MVP and leading scorer Ann-Sophie Bettez is back as is defenceman Cathy Chartrand among others.
The Stars and Blades get underway today at 6:00 p.m. at Etienne Desmarteau Arena at Bellechasse and 16th Avenue in Rosemont on Montreal’s east-end. Tickets are $15 or you can get a season pass for $140. Children under six years old are free.
After the home opener, fans are invited to join the Stars on the ice for photos and autographs. No hockey sticks are allowed and kids must be wearing helmets.