Les Canadiennes Claim the Clarkson Cup
Qin Ru Zhang
The 2016-2017 Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) season has recently concluded with a thrilling Clarkson Cup final. This year, the theme was one of revenge, one year in the making.
On Sunday, March 5th, in the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa, Les Canadiennes de Montréal defeated the Calgary Infernos 3-1 in a rematch of last year’s final. It has been a tale of upsets: in 2016, Calgary defeated the Montreal team 8-3 in a high-scoring game, giving what was otherwise a dream season a very bitter ending. This season, it was Les Canadiennes’ turn to take revenge on the Infernos as the underdog once again.
Captain Marie-Phillip Poulin scored two of the three goals, including the game-winning goal. She said: “it has been [a year] since we’ve been waiting for this game. We wanted to come out hard. They have a great team and we wanted to put pressure on them and put pucks on net. We’re really happy with the way we came out and when you play as a team good things happen.” She also stated that after last year’s loss, they “were on a mission” (Canadian Press).
Poulin is well known for scoring the winning goals in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and now has at least one of each major tournament victory: Clarkson Cup, World Championships and Olympic Gold medal.
Les Canadiennes, formerly the Montreal Stars before their partnering with the Montreal Canadiens in 2015, enjoyed a fourth Cup win in nine years. The win also stopped a three-game losing streak in the Clarkson Cup finals.
The Cup final was broadcast on Sportsnet, but French media in Quebec did not bother to put it on TV.
Caroline Ouelette, a veteran Canadiennes forward, said in the post-game conference: “We’re proud to be francophone Quebecers and we’d love to have the Clarkson Cup final on TV where our families and friends can see it. Our crowds have been growing every season. We played in front of more than 6,000 at the Bell Centre, a moment I’ll never forget. But it’s a bit of a vicious circle. We need media to bring people in and we need to bring people in so media gets interested. It’s the same with sponsors, which will be the difference in whether our league succeeds and thrives” (Canadian Press).
Women’s hockey has been growing in the last few years, and the CWHL plans to start providing salaries for its players very soon. In an interview with Sportsnet, league commissioner Brenda Andress says that the growth of the league is “not just making hockey fans of women. You can be both an NHL fan and a CWHL fan because you love the game. And can you say it any better than Curtis Lazar, who just came over in a trade [from the Ottawa Senators to the Calgary Flames], he’s wearing a Calgary Inferno hat in his first interview” (Sportsnet).
This season was the 10th anniversary of the CWHL, and although it is a young league, it has the potential to bring even more girls into the game of hockey.