Although he is not a current investor, Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is one of the new supporters of the Montreal team in the Professional Women's Hockey League (LPHF).
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Mr. Molson was the focus 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.
What if the Canadian one day joined the LPHF?
“We are not there yet,” said Geoff Molson, knowing that there is currently a single owner for the various teams and the league. This is the beginning and I hope we will see more and more support from the National League as the years go by.
Photo Martin Chevalier
It is currently Mark Walter's group, already co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chelsea FC, that is at the helm of the LPHF. However, the model could change at some point as the teams do not have names or logos in this first season.
The return of the Canadians?
The question seems legitimate: could we see the return of the Canadians? Remember, Montreal's women's team was renamed prior to 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 in a meeting with Le Journal in Verdun. In the Canadian era, we were obviously behind it. (…) We are pleased that we are now able to achieve success with a single league. We will try to get to as many games as possible.”
Photo Martin Chevalier
“Women’s hockey is very important to us, hockey in general is important in this province and we are here to support it,” Mr Molson added. It’s an excellent show and I think everyone here is excited to see a women’s team in Montreal.”
Atmosphere and emotion
Even though the Canadian had an evening meeting with the Edmonton Oilers, Kent Hughes wanted to be there. Nevertheless, he had to leave Verdun during the second break.
“It’s important to show our support for women’s hockey,” he said, highlighting the atmosphere and energy of the crowd.
“I think there is a really nice atmosphere,” confirms France Margaret Bélanger. It was also emotional at the beginning to see these pioneers on the ice. The game is tough, there are good players on both teams.”
The show featured players from Montreal, including famed captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who also serves as a player development advisor for the Canadian. Danielle Goyette, France St-Louis, Kim St-Pierre, Caroline Ouellette and Danièle Sauvageau, general manager of the Montreal team, were then introduced during the pre-game ceremony.