Caroline Ouellette is the all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She is 10 points away from being the first player in league history to reach 300 points. One thing she hasn’t taken part in is a CWHL game at the Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens.
On December 10, Les Canadiennes will do just that as they host the Calgary Inferno in a Clarkson Cup final rematch. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
“It’s so exciting,” Ouellette said. “I grew up dreaming of playing for the Montreal Canadiens.”
“I’m still a huge fan,” said Ouellette. “It’s a true honour to play in that beautiful rink and we want to showcase the best that women’s hockey has to offer and I think that with that matchup I am hopeful that is what is going to happen.”
“It’s incredible. The Canadiens as an organization and themselves have been so successful,” said Canadiennes veteran Julie Chu. “Hockey is hockey and I think they see that as a vision and have included us in a lot of their initiatives as well which only helps to grow our fanbase and they are fun experiences for us. Now we get a chance to play in the Bell Centre which is always an incredible honour.”
“We were thrilled,” said forward Noémie Marin. “It’s an honour to play there. I’ve had a lot of people already asking me for tickets and people are just as pumped as we are to get there, to play at the Bell Centre. It’s going to be a fantastic game.”
“My first thought was that it was pretty amazing,” said Canadiennes forward Ann-Sophie Bettez, who needs one point to reach fifth in CWHL history. “My second thought was when are we going to play our second game there. Hopefully it’s going to be great and hopefully next year we’ll be able to play more than one game at the Bell Centre.”
Tickets are on sale now for the game. They can be purchased here. $15 gets you a seat and you will see up to 10 players who played in the 2014 Olympics including Julie Chu, Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette, Rebecca Johnston and Brianne Jenner. Hayley Wickenheiser is also on Calgary’s roster but she has yet to play a game this season.
If star power is your thing, there is no better game to go to in the CWHL. Other teams in the league are good - as evidenced by the Toronto Furies beating Montreal twice and taking Calgary to overtime twice before that - but the name recognition you get from these two teams is remarkable.
On top of the 2014 Olympics, there could be a dozen players in this game to play for Canada in the 2018 Olympics.
“It will be a really great battle and they haven’t lost any players so it’s going to be a good challenge,” said Chu. “But at the same time we’ve gained a lot of great first year players and our veterans are ready to go.”
Les Canadiennes know there will be people who try the CWHL because of the stage of the Bell Centre.
“We want people to give us a chance and come see us play in the one of the nicest rinks in the world,” said Ouellette.
Montreal (6-2-0) is currently two points behind Calgary (7-1-0).
Both teams have more games to take care of before their showdown under the lights. Montreal takes on Brampton at home for two games this weekend, and are in Boston the weekend after, while Calgary has two games in Boston this weekend.