Dec 28, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; USA forward Hilary Knight (21) scores on Canada goalie Charline Labonte (32) during the shootout in an exhibition hockey game at Xcel Energy Center. USA defeated Canada 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
17. The CWHL Plays Their First All-Star Game
The CWHL is one of my favourite things to attend in the city’s sports landscape. It’s not every day you get to see Olympians perform at the peak of their sport and then hang around for an autograph session afterwards.
But that is exactly what the CWHL is, and for one day in December, they took over the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Attendance was free, and an official attendance of 6,850 doesn’t sound like much but with the event being broadcast nationwide on Sportsnet a lot of young girls got yet another achievement to aim for.
The Red team – captained by Montreal’s Charline Labonte – won 3-2 after falling behind 2-0 after two periods.
It was a showcase for some of the best women’s hockey players in the world and members of their respective National teams. But it was also a showcase for the Canadian and American university stars who haven’t made the international stage.
Montreal Stars forward Ann-Sophie Bettez led the CWHL in scoring last year and starred at McGill University. She got her chance to play on a big stage. The same can be said for Emanuelle Blais, Carly Hill and Cathy Chartrand. They are among the leaders of the Montreal Stars but are unknown to even the bigger followers of women’s hockey. Not every player is Caroline Ouellette, Julie Chu, Lauriane Rougeau or Labonte.
That’s saying nothing of Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux who was one of the creators of the league and one of the people who made all of this possible. She was chosen first overall for the all-star game by Labonte and along with Sami Jo Small were the two co-creators still active in the league.
Breton-Lebreux also scored a goal in the all-star game which is fitting on all counts.
The CWHL is a place for women’s hockey to shine between Winter Olympics. The CWHL All-Star Game will be a way for all of them to come together.
The league is getting more and more positive publicity and the all-star game is yet another step in the right direction.
If you haven’t checked the CWHL out yet, make it one of your 2015 resolutions.
Next: No. 17: Northern Imports